Cultural Complexities in Multinational Projects
Scritto da Omar Zein
"Cultural Complexities in Multinational Projects", discusses the national cultures' impact on international project management and takes from the author's and others’ international management experiences to address the cultural complexities observed in international projects while suggestsing how management approaches could be adapted to minimize conflicts and make the best use of the projects' cultural mix.
The cultural complexities multinational organisations face are not a new phenomenon or topic. Indeed, the mid-twentieth century saw various discussions, research, studies and policies (including de-centralisation) that aimed to better understand and address cross-cultural complexities. The most known by far and one of the largest research studies held at the time was by Geert Hofstede in the early 1970s. His research, which included over 100,000 filled questionnaires by IBM employees in various countries, identified four major cultural dimensions that significantly effect management practises and their acceptance in various cultures.
Hofstede’s initial study was further enlarged and developed and its results adapted one way or another by most multinational organisations to still increasing positive results today. Since the initial studies, however, businesses have seen an exponential increase of project activities and a decrease in operational activities due to rapidly changing markets, services and products and these projects are indeed very often multinational and multicultural.
Do they then suffer from the same cultural complexities that standard international management suffered from (and still to some extent do today)? Should project management methodologies be adapted and their implementation customised to suit the various cultures and countries?
The paper was first published as part of the 2012 PMI Global Congress proceedings in Marseille, France and was presented during the event on the 9th of May.