Whether taught to students unfamiliar with U.S. business culture or to students unacquainted with working in China, this case allows for an exploration of values that shape attitudes and behaviors in both countries. The material presents one executive's unique leadership experience in managing across cultures. From creating cross-cultural teams to balancing the goals of corporate in the United States and local operations in China, Owen Rankin's role as a leader in the middle is rich with experiences dealing with preconceived notions. The case works as a source for any manager working outside his or her home country.
In the (A) case Owen Rankin, VP of corporate reputation at Johnson & Johnson (J&J), is appointed to head up J&J's Olympic Games committee. He was tasked with convincing others in the organization to move forward on the project. Rankin and his team spent months going back and forth to China, meeting with J&J business-unit leaders, and trying to persuade them to support the project. The (A) case ends at Rankin and his core committee back in China at their final decision-making meeting?would it be a go or a no-go decision?
The (B) case presents Rankin's experience to build a team, engage stakeholders, develop and activate programs, attend the games, and then wrap up the closing of the sponsorship. As Rankin and his team supervised the dismantling of the event, thoughts turned to the next Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada, and London, England. Should J&J continue to be a sponsor?