Case Analysis

There are two questions that need to be answered with 450 words for each question. Each answer needs to be supported with no less than two citations from the chapter.

Tsunami Relief

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A $245 million stretch of blacktop intended to be the signature goodwill gesture from the U.S. people to the Indonesian survivors of the 2004 tsunami instead became a parable of the problems of Aceh Province’s recovery.

Construction of the 150-mile road along the devastated coast never started, stalled by a host of obstacles like acquiring rights of way through residential areas and farmland and, particularly, through several hundred graves of mystical and religious significance.

Though some villagers welcomed the idea, some had reservations about a U.S.-style thoroughfare with a wide shoulder on either side that would replace the existing ribbon of mostly churned dirt and mud. Villagers said they feared speeding traffic—they threw rocks at fast-traveling cars of foreign aid workers—and wanted to be able to sell snacks and tea from stalls snug by the roadside, as they had always done.

A demonstration outside the main Indonesian reconstruction agency turned violent when protesters complained that they still lacked basic services and demanded more financing for education.

The patience of U.S. officials wore thin, too. They complained that the government had been too slow in buying up the land and resolving the issue of graves. Finally, the U.S. officials had become so disconcerted about delays that they had tried to pry more action from the Indonesians by suggesting that the money for the road would be diverted to the reconstruction efforts in Lebanon.

“It was threatened they would take the money away,” said Kuntoro Mangk Usubroto, the director of the Indonesian rehabilitation and reconstruction agency in Aceh. “That’s standard.”

The Indonesians said the United States was imposing first-world standards of efficiency on a poor region that was pounded by civil war and then swamped by the tsunami, which killed more than 100,000. Records of land titles were washed away, and questions of inheritance among devastated families take a while to decide what they say.

The idea for the road evolved soon after the tsunami when the Bush administration wanted to show that the United States cared about Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, in its moment of need.

It was decided early on to finance one substantial project rather than a number of smaller ones. At first, rebuilding a significant portion of the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, into a kind of “signature city” was discussed. Instead, a well-engineered road from the capital to Meulaboh, the southernmost coastal town, which was nearly completely wiped out, was considered a more fruitful project that played to the U.S. strength of fast and modern construction. The new road would connect the poor fishing communities of the wasted west coast of Aceh to the outside world.


  1. Identify the cultural values that are clashing in this case.
  2. Which dimensions of cultural differences in Hofstede’s model are relevant to this case