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Article
Publication date: 6 November 2009

Edward Godfrey Ochieng and Andrew David Price

The purpose of this paper is to present literature that suggests that project teams comprising members from culturally diverse backgrounds bring fresh ideas and new…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present literature that suggests that project teams comprising members from culturally diverse backgrounds bring fresh ideas and new approaches to problem solving. The challenge, however, is that they also introduce different understandings and expectations regarding team dynamics and integration. The question becomes how a project manager can effectively work and influence a multicultural construction project team, at the same time being attentive to the diversity and creating the structure required for success.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a qualitative methodology, participants of heavy construction engineering projects revealed a number of multi‐dimensional factors that either facilitated or limited the effectiveness of multicultural teamwork. These were synthesised into a framework of eight key dimensions that need to be considered when managing multicultural teams. The identified key dimensions include: leadership style, team selection and composition process, cross‐cultural management of team development process, cross‐cultural communication, cross‐cultural collectivism, cross‐cultural trust, cross‐cultural management and cross‐cultural uncertainty.

Findings

The proposed framework has implications for construction managers who work with multicultural teams and are committed to improving team performance and productivity. The utilisation of the proposed framework would not instantly transform multicultural teams into high‐performing ones; however, it does identify eight key cross‐cultural dimensions, which need to be considered.

Originality/value

Though the benefits of culturally diverse teams have been acknowledged within the industry, the study highlighted that cultural differences among project teams can cause conflict, misunderstanding and poor project performance.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 16 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 23 January 2009

Ralf Müller, Konrad Spang and Sinan Ozcan

The purpose of the paper is to report on research in cultural differences in decision‐making styles in project teams composed of team members from different nationalities…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to report on research in cultural differences in decision‐making styles in project teams composed of team members from different nationalities. Differences in decision making in mainly German teams vs mainly Swedish teams was assessed.

Design/methodology/approach

A sequential mixed‐method approach was used, starting with interviews to develop a grounded theory, followed by survey to test the theory. Factor and regression analyses allowed for identification of the cultural antecedents of the identified differences in decision making.

Findings

Locus of control differences in decision making were identified, together with factors for differences in decisions, namely decision‐making style, process, and involvement. Correlated cultural antecedents to these factors, in the form of personal attributes, were found.

Research limitations/implications

Although the research design provides for some credibility of the results, the scope of the study is limited mainly to the engineering and construction industry in the two countries.

Practical implications

The study helps team members and project managers to understand the impact of their cultural differences on decision‐making process and style. Through that the study helps to minimize the potential friction when working on multicultural projects. Recommendations for practitioners are provided.

Originality/value

The idiosyncrasies of decision making in multicultural projects are researched using the example of Sweden and Germany. A model is built which extends existing project management theory. The paper also provides insights into the lived experiences of practicing project managers in multicultural teams and gives hints on how to overcome cultural barriers.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 2 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article
Publication date: 23 April 2020

Junying Liu, Zhipeng Cui, Yingbin Feng, Srinath Perera and Jie Han

Cultural differences have been frequently cited as a major source of risks for international joint ventures (IJVs). Cultural differences may cause extensive conflicts in…

Abstract

Purpose

Cultural differences have been frequently cited as a major source of risks for international joint ventures (IJVs). Cultural differences may cause extensive conflicts in technology, norms and emotion among the international joint venture (IJV) partners. The purpose of this study is to explore the interactive effects of national culture differences (NCDs) and conflict management approaches on the performance of international construction joint ventures (ICJV).

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected using a questionnaire survey method with 143 valid responses. Partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) was used to test the research hypotheses.

Findings

It was found that ICJV performance declined with a high degree of NCDs. The negative effect of NCDs on ICJV performance was mitigated by adopting the cooperative conflict management approach; while it was aggravated by adopting the competitive conflict management approach. The findings may provide an alternative way (i.e. adopting the cooperative conflict management approach rather than avoiding or competitive approaches) to address the cultural conflicts in the multicultural project management teams.

Practical implications

Firstly, as NCD negatively impacts performance of ICJVs, project managers should pay attention to cultural issues and learn how to manage them; Secondly, as cooperative and competitive conflict management approaches have different moderating effects on the relationship between NCD and ICJV performance, project managers must choose appropriate conflict management styles in multination teams. Thirdly, as the avoiding approach has no significant moderating effect on the negative relationship between NCD and ICJV performance, it is important for Chinese partners not to employ avoiding approach to deal with conflicts in ICJV.

Originality/value

This study uniquely adds to the literature on cultural issues in managing ICJVs by integrating the moderating effects of conflict management approaches. The interactive effects of conflict management approaches and national cultural differences on ICJV project performance may contribute to the theories regarding conflict management theory in the context of cross-cultural management.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 27 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 21 May 2020

Raavee Kadam, Srinivasa A. Rao, Waheed Kareem Abdul and Shazi Shah Jabeen

This study aims to examine the influence of diversity climate perceptions (DCPs) on team member’s contribution to team innovation and team performance in a multicultural

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine the influence of diversity climate perceptions (DCPs) on team member’s contribution to team innovation and team performance in a multicultural team (MCT). The authors also investigate the moderating effect of cultural intelligence on these relationships.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors draw upon the interactional model for cultural diversity to build their hypotheses. Data was gathered from 43 teams consisting of 217 members using a structured questionnaire. Ratings were obtained from both team members and supervisors. The data collected was analyzed using structural equation modeling.

Findings

Results indicated that when team members have positive DCPs, it had a positive impact on their innovation and performance in the team. Cultural intelligence was also found to have a direct impact on team member innovation but not on team member performance. Furthermore, cultural intelligence was found to positively moderate the DCPs – team member performance relationship but not the DCPs – team member innovation relationship.

Practical implications

Managing diversity is a key concern for organizations worldwide given the exponentially rising cultural diversity within the workforce. This study would enable practitioners to understand that developing positive DCPs and cultural intelligence of team members are critical to the success of MCTs.

Originality/value

Literature has documented mixed results pertaining to team diversity and its effect on performance, resulting in scholars urging the need to explore how the negative effects of team diversity can be mitigated. This research establishes that positive DCPs and cultural intelligence as two key factors contributing to the performance of MCTs.

Details

Measuring Business Excellence, vol. 24 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1368-3047

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Book part
Publication date: 16 October 2003

Joseph L.C Cheng and Danielle L Cooper

Existing international human resource management research tends to omit context in investigating the HR needs of MNCs, and gives little attention to the role of IHR…

Abstract

Existing international human resource management research tends to omit context in investigating the HR needs of MNCs, and gives little attention to the role of IHR managers in strategic decision making. Building on prior works in “context-embedded” research, this paper incorporates an MNC’s strategic context into the analysis of its HR needs and identifies four new research directions that will help advance the academic study of IHRM and its contribution to practice, particularly for firms pursuing a global or transnational strategy. The rationale and significance of each research direction are discussed, and some preliminary propositions are offered to guide future investigation.

Details

Leadership in International Business Education and Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-224-5

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Abstract

Details

Secrets of Working Across Five Continents: Thriving Through the Power of Cultural Diversity
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-011-2

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Abstract

Details

Secrets of Working Across Five Continents: Thriving Through the Power of Cultural Diversity
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-011-2

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1996

Malcolm Higgs

Discusses the literature on cross‐cultural diversity and team building in a global context. Argues that diversity is to be valued, not seen as a problem. Outlines a…

Abstract

Discusses the literature on cross‐cultural diversity and team building in a global context. Argues that diversity is to be valued, not seen as a problem. Outlines a framework for building cultural understanding and awareness. Proposes a model for developing effective international management teams.

Details

Team Performance Management: An International Journal, vol. 2 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-7592

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2006

Anna Woźniak

Studies investigating intuition from a cultural and cross‐cultural perspective have a long tradition in various disciplines but, due to the increased internationalization…

Abstract

Purpose

Studies investigating intuition from a cultural and cross‐cultural perspective have a long tradition in various disciplines but, due to the increased internationalization of business, an understanding of the mental lives of other cultures became one of the priorities of management practitioners and theoreticians. Cultures of Anglo‐American and East Asian origins have drawn particular attention. However, an analysis of management research studies and those in other disciplines shows that the former do not back up the “intuitive East versus analytical West” pattern set by the latter. The article aims at discussing this discrepancy, its origins as well as the implication for the managerial practice.

Design/methodology/approach

The article provides an overview of the various concepts of intuition and methods of measuring it across cultures. It seeks to understand how various epistemological assumptions incorporated in the research affected the results obtained. An aspect under particular scrutiny in the article is the concept of cognitive style, which is employed frequently in management studies.

Findings

One explanation for inconsistent results is a premature effort of management science to test a hypothesis generated by other disciplines, applying different conceptualizations, definitions, methodologies as well as populations. The conclusion is that the cross‐cultural research in management is in need of a more exploratory research, paying attention to the specificity of management context and local knowledge.

Research limitations/implications

The article proposes that a methodology that potentially has a capacity to meet these requirements is the narrative approach. Possible implications of this observation are discussed in the context of multicultural teams management practice.

Originality/value

The article provides useful information on managerial intuition and methods of measuring it across cultures.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 48 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

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Book part
Publication date: 16 August 2021

Nancy J. Adler and Zeynep Aycan

Pervasive forms of worldwide communication now connect us instantly and constantly, and yet we all too often fail to understand each other. Rather than benefiting from our…

Abstract

Pervasive forms of worldwide communication now connect us instantly and constantly, and yet we all too often fail to understand each other. Rather than benefiting from our globally interconnected reality, the world continues to fall back on divisiveness, a widening schism exacerbated by some of the most pronounced divisions in history along lines of wealth, culture, religion, ideology, class, gender, and race. Cross-cultural dynamics are rife within multinational organizations and among people who regularly work with people from other cultures. This chapter reviews what we know from our scholarship on cross-cultural interaction among expatriates, negotiators, and teams that work in international contexts. Perhaps more important, this chapter outlines what we need to learn – and to unlearn – to be able to see diversity as an asset in helping individuals, organizations, and society to succeed rather than continuing to understand it primarily as a source of problems.

Details

Intercultural Management in Practice
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83982-827-0

Keywords

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