Synthesis of Wong: Project Management and Cultural Differences

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Synthesis of Wong: Project management and cultural differences Project management is often thought of in terms of accomplishing the specific goals of a particular project. But while adhering to project specifications are important, including not going over time and budget, the human element of project management must not be forgotten. Ultimately, a project is only as good as the sum of the persons working on it and how well they get along (Wong 149). Respect for cultural differences is an essential component of functioning well as a team in today's diverse business environment. A critical component of facilitating positive work on a team is ensuring that the personal space of all team members is respected. This sense of personal space is both literal and figurative literal in the sense that accepted distance between persons can vary from culture to culture, and figurative in the sense that all cultures have different boundaries of acceptability, in regards to behavior. While no two people are alike, culture can have a profound influence upon how acceptable personal space is defined. For example, a person from Japan might find it unacceptable to touch someone's shoulder if they are recent acquaintances, but for an American, 'back-slapping' is often the norm. However, in the U.S., standing at a relatively far distance when speaking is normal, versus Middle Eastern and other cultures where extremely close person-to-person contact is common when speaking (Wong 155). An
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