Details are left intentionally vague. I am writing this as a closely involved party to the situation, but I haven't been on the front lines of the political war, so to speak. All employees mentioned, myself included, can be assumed to be engineers, unless otherwise noted.
I work for a large software company with employees mainly split between two countries: call them country A and country B. I am in country A, while said entrenched employees are in country B. Country B values a highly hierarchical workplace, based on seniority and political clout. Language barriers are not an issue.
It is immediately evident to anyone joining the company that certain leads, managers, or other employees in country B are stuck to their old ways. No unit tests, no automation, everything manual (those are real examples and not for the sake of the question). As expected, this is very burdensome for all the involved and universally results in raised eyebrows for new employees, and results in tens (if not hundreds) of engineer-hours wasted every day on things that are normally done by a pipeline. The processes have enormous overhead (close to 50% of the working time), are extremely error-prone, and particularly frustrating to people writing and maintaining the software. Without exaggeration, some of the things I've seen could be the sole topic for a Coding Horror piece.
Naturally, many have tried lobbying for changes with country A's management. Things like automation and process changes have been suggested and would bring the company more in line with the rest of the industry. Convincing them did not take much effort, but country B's resistance ranges from passive resistance to active downright hostility. Assume that to implement changes, some effort is required but there is no technical or best-practices reason why things are the way they currently are.
The end result of the burdensome processes and resistance to change is that people are leaving, fast. The department has a retention issue - managers and engineers alike are leaving in troves and with good reason; many of the recent losses can be directly attributed to the aforementioned issues. Management was warned about that by myself and others in the team, but it seems like nothing has been accomplished. There are two issues with escalation at the current point: first, it might be a particularly nuclear option since we would have to escalate the issue to the C-level; and second, some C-level executives themselves (all of which are in country A) have struggled to exert pressure and/or enforce change over management in country B.
What options, other than leaving, do I and my team have to take steps toward resolving these issues? The change won't (and can't) come overnight, but I would be perfectly happy with simply making progress towards improving the situation.
EDIT: While employees in Country A are not technically subordinates to Country B management (the official hierarchy for my team includes only employees from Country A), the "gatekeepers", so to speak, are working out of country B. In practice, country A needs country B to be on board with process changes (technical or otherwise), because said process is owned, controlled, and tightly regulated by employees in Country B. Because of this reason, unfortunately, we cannot use automation as a means to complement manual testing - which nobody is arguing against, to begin with. I personally believe they go hand in hand - the issue is that Country B management is averse to any change whatsoever, no matter how inconsequential (think, changing phrasing in some ticket management software).
Unfortunately, many employees from country A and B both perform the same or similar tasks and work on the same projects - so, implementing a process change to one country is at best challenging, and at worst a practical impossibility (since many changes to one country's process directly affect the other).