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May 09, 2012

Crack the Mystery!

        Given below is an hypothetical case of what would happen or what could happen if one is not trained in new  culture. Can you crack it and tell me what can or will go wrong. Comments are welcome. 

Ravi Malhotra the young market researcher was given a  assignment. He was supposed be doing a Marketing Research project in Muscat the Sultanate of Oman. He was supposed to be doing research on women cosmetics.

He gave the following plan to his boss. Ravi said “I would prepare a questionnaire and serve in Muscat. It would be an elaborate questionnaire of around four pages and it would be served personally to the women in their apartments”.

He also had a plan to do it in the coming month as it was the Ramadan time. He told his boss that it would be “the best time to be in Muscat”. He also explained that his sample also had women executives who would be interviewed between 1000 to 1700 hours. He also told his boss “I would go to Muscat on the Thursday afternoon, stay and finish off my work on Friday and Saturday and return on Saturday”.

He also planned house visits where he could talk to the women and he said “I would round it off with a nice handshake and it would be fine”. He was very exited at the thought of having nice non vegetarian food and nice alcoholic drinks would be served  in various families that he would be visiting.

He was also of the opinion that he able to clinch the deal and walk away with the orders arising out of the MR process. He also had elaborate English manuals made out that which he will use to  would explain things to  the respondents. 


  1. Is Mr. Malhotra still alive ?? :)

  2. Hi sir,

    Obviuosuly it will be a disaster since the culture in Muscat is entirely diff from India,their custom won't allow to do that and it is not possible to collect thev data from the women out there.

  3. Bhaskar Good one, Can you tell me in detail in which areas did Mr.Malhotra make mistakes. You could list them. It would be great fun!

    1. Pls find the list below

      1)4 pages eloborate questionnaire-no one will alow us to give our insights by seeing that 4 pages so it should be short and crisp

      2)Planning in Ramdan time

      3)Thought of having Handshake with women

      4) The time he chosen I.e Namaz time

      5)Having Non veg at that time

  4. Cosmetic is related to beauty and beauty is equated with attraction between opposite sex. Anything that leads to the three letter word in conservative land such as Oman should be handled rather more astutely and with more sensitivity than hurriedly planned ways of Ravi.
    Four pages long questionnaire during Ramadan (fasting periods) would be little taxing for women and Friday being off day in Islamic world, his time line to looks bit unplanned.
    Since Ravi plans to visit women in person there is no mention of sample size, he would be okay if he just want to see handful. For a high context culture like Muscut, Oman his idea of gathering data and clinching the deal is unrealistic. Also, gender sensitivity factor will boomerang Ravi being a guy how much access can he get to women in a conservative place like Oman.

    I think Ravi is more like me he wants to have some time off from his daily mundane work and so presenting a plan(a real plan) to get some time off from work.

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  6. I think this complete research project is imprudently plan.

    My diminutive suggestions are:

    1.Ravi Malhotra!! Better to take to Rahima Khan (women), for ladies cosmetic product in Oman.

    2.Prefer two pages questioner at Ramzan it is a fasting month.

    3.It is not easy to get into the apartments for survey about ladies and to talk about ladies cosmetic products in front of family is not an intellect thought. They wear Burka in houses too and usually don’t talk in front of men’s.

    4.Tap them in beauty parlors or in beautician’s household work place (very common and famous in Islamic countries)

    5.Healthier to go after Ramzan, near Eid. Researcher will find rush in parlors or ladies stuff related shops.

    6.Handshakes forget it!!!! Practice to say Salam-Wa-lekum and do Aadab.

    7.Alcohol in Ramzan ( Ya Alahaaaa ) he is going to’ a kill himself. Be friendly you can get a good Iftar party, in Ramadan guest are most welcome in Iftar party.

    8.Do in weekdays but not on Fridays and make questioner in Arabic.

  7. This are the answers for my non residential (sectoral - event Management Quiz)

    1. Timing of 1000 hours to 1700 hours wrong
    2. Middle east People take off between 1300 hours to 1600 hours
    3. Day wrong - Friday is a holiday
    4. Ramadan time is wrong
    5. Hand shake is not correct
    6. English questionnaire
    7. Too long questionnaire
    8. House visits
    9. Alcohol being served
    10. Male interviewer
    11. English manuals
    12. No research done