Understanding Culture for International Projects

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Introduction With the initiation of global economy comes an increased interaction between people of different countries and an increase in the need to deal with cultural differences. Thus, there must be an understanding of how the international project will affect people and how people will affect the project. This requires an understanding of economic, demographic, educational, ethical, ethnic, religious, and other characteristic of the people for whom the project affects or who have an interest in the project (Egeland, 2011). Today’s projects have dramatically increased in complexity, which requires a culturally and functionally diverse mix of individuals who must be assimilated into an effective unit – a project team. In order…show more content…
However, to achieve the project’s goal and avoid cultural misunderstandings, project managers must be sensitive to one’s cultural differences and promote creativity and motivation through flexible leadership. Success and failure in international, multicultural projects can only be accomplished through culturally-aware leadership, cross-cultural communication, and mutual respect. Without these components the project is destined to fail (Anbari, Khilkhanova, Romanova & Umpleby, 2003). The leading study of cross-cultural management conducted by Dr. Hofstede became a framework for cross-cultural communication. It is the effects of a society’s culture on the values of its members and how these values relate to behavior, using a structure derived from factor analysis. Dr. Hofstede’s theory identified five cultural dimensions: power distance (PDI), uncertainty avoidance (UAI), individualism (IDV) vs. collectivism, masculinity (MAS) vs. femininity, and long term orientation (LTO), which allows one to compare any two or more countries with each other and quickly illustrates what cultural differences exist, which are aligned, and which are uniquely different. Each of the five cultural dimensions are nationally scored on a scale from 1 to 120 and allows for international comparison between cultures, which can be utilized to select the most aligned countries when evaluating and considering which countries should be involved in the project. Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions
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