A pharmaceutical company’s clinical research team was missing a critical deadline. They were in the patient recruitment stage for a international study on a type 2 diabetes drug. They needed to meet legal requirements in each country to conduct the trial as well as recruit the patients. Finding the appropriate patients to fit the medical profile of this particular drug posed an additional challenge. They also had to overcome cultural differences of working in multiple European countries.

When they hired Insigniam’s European healthcare management consultants, they were already behind schedule in patient recruitment. During a three-day work session the consultants worked with the pharmaceutical company in their clinical research organization. The CRO repeatedly made empty promises. Finally the CRO manager was asked to leave the room and the real issues in meeting the deadlines were revealed; lies were uncovered. Everyone learned how to overcome the cultural differences. Cultural norms were revealed and new practices in communicating were established. For example, in some cultures people are very fearful of authority so they cover up mistakes with lies. In other country cultures being angry is unacceptable. These cultural issues were overcome.

As a result they finished the patient recruitment on time. They replaced the ineffective CRO manager. The team learned how to rise above cultural differences.

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