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Beyond national culture difference: The role of cultural intelligence in cooperation within international construction joint ventures and insights from Chinese companies

Zhipeng Cui (Department of Construction Management, College of Management and Economics, Tianjin University, Tianjin, China)
Junying Liu (Department of Construction Management, College of Management and Economics, Tianjin University, Tianjin, China)
Bo Xia (School of Urban Development, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia)
Yaxiao Cheng (Department of Construction Management, College of Management and Economics, Tianjin University, Tianjin, China)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 19 June 2019

Issue publication date: 2 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

International construction joint ventures (ICJVs) have been widely used as a temporary arrangement in many projects all over the world, especially in megaprojects. Within ICJVs, the national culture difference between partners affects their cooperation significantly. However, prior research has provided contradictory empirical evidence regarding these impacts. To address this problem, the purpose of this paper is to introduce cultural intelligence that judges an individual’s capability to function and manage effectively in culturally diverse settings as a moderating variable.

Design/methodology/approach

Multiple regression analysis and moderated multiple regression were undertaken to test proposed hypotheses. A questionnaire survey was conducted with international construction practitioners who had experiences of managing or participating in ICJVs.

Findings

The result of multiple regression analysis revealed that difference in national culture has significant negative effects on information exchange, shared problem solving and flexibility when asking for changes, thus effecting cooperation within ICJVs. Meanwhile, cultural intelligence of members can weaken these negative influences.

Practical implications

First, given that national culture difference affects negatively on the cooperation within ICJVs, it needs to be regarded as one of vital resources of risk which should be prevented and managed when attending ICJVs; Second, managers should build a series of mutually agreeable regulations and rules to lessen the negative effect of national culture difference; Third, it is recommended that ICJV management teams contain as many work-experienced members as possible and members within ICJVs, especially new staff, receive cross-cultural training termly to facilitate the cooperation between partners.

Originality/value

This research reveals the moderating effects of cultural intelligence on the relationship between national culture difference and cooperation in ICJVs as well as provides practical implications for ICJV managers to deal with national culture difference and reduce its negative impact on cooperation within ICJVs.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The work described in this paper was supported by the Humanities and Social Sciences Planning Fund from the Ministry of Education of China (Project No. 16YJA630031).

Citation

Cui, Z., Liu, J., Xia, B. and Cheng, Y. (2019), "Beyond national culture difference: The role of cultural intelligence in cooperation within international construction joint ventures and insights from Chinese companies", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 26 No. 7, pp. 1476-1497. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-04-2018-0182

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited