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© (2006) The meaning of cultural differences in projects From Dr. Klaus Wagenhals.

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Presentation on theme: "© (2006) The meaning of cultural differences in projects From Dr. Klaus Wagenhals."— Presentation transcript:

1 © (2006) The meaning of cultural differences in projects From Dr. Klaus Wagenhals

2 © (2006) GPM- Project Group IPA NEMA: International Project Activities – New Experiences, Methods & Approaches Goal Collect and evaluate information from individuals (project leaders,...) experienced in international project work Which aspects will especially / always lead to problems? Which strategies and tools are proposed to improve international project work? Which additional support and tools are proposed? What is the status of international project work in internationally active companies? Development of the Questionnaire Based on a previous survey by Prof. Nino Grau und Prof. Reschke (published GPM PM-Forum Oct 2000) IPA NEMA WG Companies questionnaire Version Feb 2001 and Version Oct 2001 Application of the Questionnaire Responses from 50+ people in 40 different German companies - Broad range of different project types and branches In most cases project leaders, but as well project coordinators or team members Majority with > 5 years experiences in international projects Experiences in all regions worldwide (Europe, Americas, Asia, other regions)

3 © (2006) Importance of Personal Competences Success in international projects is also a question of the personal competence of those who are involved. … ranking order by numbering the competences serially, giving a 1 to the most important competence and an 8 to the least important!

4 © (2006) Problem Areas and Difficulties in International Projects Where could (better) preparation and assistance of the project members be helpful for international projects? What do you have in mind specifically? Difficulties Different work culture / work mentality Different expectations about commitments, timing etc Language Different understanding and interpretation of terms german mindset Long decision processes Local distribution of project teams Different legal and fiscal rules and laws Difficulties and improvement ideas in international projects Technical qualificationsWorking culturePolitical - legal specialities Local infrastructureProject ManagementLanguageothers (51 questionnaires) main difficulties possible improvements named improvement ideas

5 © (2006) The Path To Cultural Competence Build cultural sensitivity Analyse own culture Analyse target culture Introduce system for understanding cultures Develop ways to work with target culture work with target culture LowHigh

6 © (2006) Example from Running A Project Team Team presents solution for review/discussion at regular intervals and receives updates on changing company needs from the sponsor Sponsor keeps team on short leash; ''Do as I say'' Team works independently of sponsor Authority Empowerment Argue and fight! HighLow Goal: Develop integrated computer-based GT design system to reduce product development time by 50% Project Team Origins: D, CH, PRC, USA, UK, IRL Either / Or Perspective Authority vs Empowerment

7 © (2006) Aspects of Culture

8 © (2006) Levels Of Culture Adapted from E.H. Schein The Corporate Culture Survival Guide (1999) Visible organisational structures and processes Language, Rituals, Dress, Behaviours, etc. Norms and espoused values Strategies, goals, philosophies, taboos Basic underlying assumptions Unconscious, taken-for-granted beliefs, perceptions, thoughts and feelings Visible (hard to decipher) partly visible, partly subconscious (espoused justifications) invisible, mostly subconscious (ultimate source of values and actions)

9 © (2006) Kluckhohns Five Basic Questions Kluckhohn developed five questions to identify a cultures basic assumptions: –What is the character of innate human nature? –What is the relation of humans to nature? (relation to surroundings) –What is the temporal focus of human life? (time orientation) –What is the mode of human activity? –What is the mode of human relationships?

10 © (2006) Kluckhohns Model OrientationRange Human nature Basically evil or untrustworthy Mixture of good and evil Basically good Relationship to nature Humans are subservient to nature Humans live in harmony with nature Humans master nature Sense of time Past-orientedPresent- oriented Future- oriented Activity BeingGrowingDoing Social relationships AuthoritarianGroup- oriented Individual Table shows three possible orientations to the basic assumptions questions Each culture displays a preference (and knows all orientations) Differences in orientation are often the root of internal resistance to, stress and or rejection of an action proposed by someone else

11 © (2006) Kluckhohn In Terms Of Values

12 © (2006) Kluckhohns Model – Sample Results Orienta- tion Range Humans Nature Time Activity Social Orienta- tion Range Humans Nature Time Activity Social US AmericansJapanese

13 © (2006) Tips To Ease Cultural Adjustment Travel in a spirit of humility and with a genuine desire to meet, talk with local people. Do not expect to find things as you have them at home... for you have left your home to find things different. Do not take anything too seriously... for an open mind is the beginning of a fine international experience. Do not let others get on your nerves... for you have come a long way to learn as much as you can, to enjoy the experience, and to be a good ambassador. Read carefully the information in your cultural guide and from your host... those who have gone before you have good advice to share. Try not to worry... for one who worries has no pleasure. Remember your passport so that you know where it is at all times... a person without a passport is a person without a country.

14 © (2006) Tips To Ease Cultural Adjustment/2 Do not judge the people of a country by the one person with whom you have had trouble... for this is unfair to the people as a whole. You shall remember that you are a guest in every land... for one who treats a host with respect will be treated as an honoured guest. Cultivate the habit of listening and observing Realize that other people may have thought patterns and concepts of time which are very different than yours - not inferior, just different. Be aware of the feelings of local people to prevent what might be offensive behaviour. For example, photography must be particularly respectful of persons. Make no promises to local, new friends that you cannot implement or carry through. Spend time reflecting on you daily experiences in order to deepen your understanding of your experiences.

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