Sarah James in Mexico Case Study Analysis

2394 words 10 pages
This interesting case study was a terrific example of well-intentioned people doing everything correctly in terms of logistics, but failing to consider and plan for the human side of this very personal and unique interaction.
As the text relates to us, Sarah James seemed on paper like a perfect representative for the inaugural term of the exchange program between Palm Lakes University (PLU) and the Instituto de Negocios Internationales (INI). Her initial performance in Mexico indicated that she was on track for success. She did well enough in her course work and in a screening process to be chosen for a business internship.
Sarah’s success in Mexico was important to a number of stakeholders. Obviously, Sarah herself would benefit
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There are multiple additional indications that Sarah viewed her host home as something of a hotel which was lacking. With regard to a ride to the airport on the day of her departure, we are told the ‘host mother indicated several times’ she would provide transportation. If this subject was mentioned ‘several times’ the message may in fact have been that it was troublesome in terms of schedule, expense and/or inconvenience for the host mother. When the question arose of payment for the day of student’s departure, Sarah simply suggested the host family contact INI.

Far from being concerned about whether than how the loss of a partial days’ stipend would impact the family, Sarah never gives a thought as to why the family brought it up to her in the first place.
Mexico is collectivistic; that is, hierarchies (actual or perceived) are highly regarded and it is seen as taboo to try to work outside of them. In the situation described here, INI in general and Alberto Jiminez in particular may be viewed as authority figures. It might seem disloyal to Jiminez for the host family to complain (or even to be viewed as complaining, such as asking for the partial day stipend). They may also fear exclusion from future opportunities to host. If Sarah contacted INI to ask about the payment, the request would not be viewed as coming from the family.
The final catastrophe of this experiment comes when Sarah mentions