مدیریت ارتباطات میان فرهنگی در تیم های پروژه ساخت و ساز چند فرهنگی : مورد کنیا و انگلستان
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|4438||2010||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Project Management, Volume 28, Issue 5, July 2010, Pages 449–460
The increasing global nature of construction projects has highlighted the importance of multiculturalism and the new challenges it brings to project execution. However, there has, as yet, been no empirical work that quantifies explicitly the extent to which communication determines the success of multicultural projects. This paper explores the ability of project managers in Kenya and the UK in communicating effectively on multicultural projects. The study examines the cultural factors that influence communication and explores how communication can be made effective in multicultural project environments. Using data from 20 interviews in Kenya (10) and UK (10), the results show that communications within multicultural project environments can be effective when project managers demonstrate an awareness of cultural variation. Participants further highlighted that, one of the critical components of building multicultural project teams is the creation and development of effective cross cultural collectivism, trust, communication and empathy in leadership. The study underscores an urgent need for future research to investigate effective guidelines or strategies for effective collectivism and communication in multicultural project teams.
Multicultural project teams have become more common in recent years, and contemporary international management literature has identified that the management of multicultural teams is an important aspect of human resource management. Recent studies have focussed on the positive effects of using multicultural teams, for example, Earley and Mosakowski (2000) stated that multicultural teams are used because they are perceived to out-perform monoculture teams, especially when performance requires multiple skills and judgement. However, there has been little research into construction-specific multicultural teams, and many construction organisations, although expanding into global operations do not fully appreciate the implications and are often unable to respond to cultural factors affecting their project teams. In the last twenty years project management has developed considerably with a much greater understanding of the key variables that lead to project success. Project performance has been widely researched by a number of researchers (Baiden, 2006, Cheng et al., 2006, Chervier, 2003, Kumaraswamy et al., 2004 and Ochieng, 2008), and the findings have clearly illustrated that best project performance is achieved when the whole project team is fully integrated and aligned with project objectives. During this period, there has been a change in the way that many major heavy construction engineering projects are delivered. This is especially noticeable in Western Europe where local levels of investment have dropped and many project management contractors are now working on projects in other parts of the world (Weatherley, 2006). The increased application and development of rapid worldwide electronic communications has led to a number of heavy construction engineering projects being designed and developed in dispersed locations many thousands of miles away from the actual construction sites. In addition, there has been an inclination by clients to develop and undertake such projects in partnership with other companies as joint ventures, often collaborating with local companies based in the territory where the assets will be built. This has resulted in more multicultural project teams with team members from different cultures and backgrounds working together. A number of authors including Weatherley (2006) agree that project success is difficult enough to accomplish where the project team is located close to the construction project environment, and the situation is made considerably complex for multicultural project teams, that are widely separated geographically and that have dissimilar organisational and regional cultures. The geographical division of multicultural project teams poses its own communication challenges. Emmitt and Gorse (2007) have shown that, for factual data transfer, a number of communication problems have been addressed due to the development of rapid global information systems and telecommunications, however, when it comes to multicultural project teams many issues remain unresolved. For example, the loss of face-to-face communication can lead to misunderstanding and the loss of non-verbal signals – such as eye contact and body language. This can subsequently lead to difficulty in achieving mutual trust and confidence within multicultural project teams. It is also difficult to manage or supervise multicultural project teams without face-to-face contact or to confer or develop relationships (Weatherley, 2006). There is a need for increased research efforts in understanding influential factors that affect multicultural project teams. There is mounting evidence and opinion indicating that integrated team work is a primary key in efforts towards improving product delivery within the construction industry (Egan, 2002). Given the uniqueness of culture to particular project teams, and its persistent influence in societies and organisations this study presents a balance between the experiences of project managers from a European (UK) and African perspectives (Kenya). The study aimed to explore how project managers with different cultural background have managed communications on multicultural project teams. Specifically, the study was designed to explore the efficacy of cross-cultural communications strategies in heavy construction engineering project. For the purposes of this study, heavy engineering encompasses industrial projects which include power plants, pharmaceutical plants, refinery plants, highways and pipelines. Heavy engineering, projects can range from small to very large, and they are usually carried out for the client by contractors and sub contractors. The nature of these projects means the wealth of heavy engineering design and construction industry is inextricably bound up with the health of the world’s economies. Clients can include oil, chemical, pharmaceutical, food manufacturing and water companies all over the world (on and offshore). For this reason, contractors and sub contractors work with a cross-section of clients in a variety of economic sectors. To ensure that the findings encapsulated the key contextual issues in multicultural teamwork, cultural differences pertaining to communication, between participants from Kenya and the UK were also investigated. A brief examination of communication, multicultural project teams and construction industry is undertaken before presenting the methodology, key findings and conclusion.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This study has explored the practices of 20 senior project managers with regards to dealing with cross cultural issues in multicultural project teams. The research has highlighted a number of principles that need to be realised before a fully integrated multicultural project team can be fully realised. This study reveals that participants in Kenya and the UK acknowledged that effective communication on projects is aided by the early establishment of clear lines of responsibility and clear robust issue resolution process within the integrated team. As noted in this study, both internal and external cross-cultural communication provides the invisible glue which can hold a dislocated multicultural project team together. It was established that effective communication is the key to managing expectations, misconceptions, and misgivings on multicultural project teams. As confirmed, good communication strategies are primary in establishing, cultivating, and maintaining strong working relationships on heavy construction engineering projects. Most participants agreed that trust is a fragile, intangible, and generally difficult to quantify but it is essential to the success of multicultural teamwork. It emerged trust can be cultivated where there are good interpersonal skills and mutual respect between project leaders and team members. It has been shown, in order for a multicultural project team to be fully integrated, all team members need to trust and understand each other. It is evident from the findings that all participants favoured collectivism rather than individualism when it comes to carrying out project tasks. Participants in this study highlighted the counter productive effects of individualism within their projects. Although vastly experienced in terms of managing project teams, participants agreed that the project manager’s role is to balance their decisions in such a way to merge the requirements of all multicultural project teams involved. The research has established that communication in multicultural teams is a significant factor in the successful completion of heavy construction engineering projects. It is essential for project leaders to ensure that the nature of the interactions do not affect the strength of the relationships between project teams and their ability to transfer knowledge and information required to complete project tasks successfully. As substantiated from the findings, project leaders need to implement a clear and robust procedure of resolving conflicts that might arise. What needs to be well understood is that the effective structure of multicultural teamwork depends on a well inter-connected communication system, between the client, project manager, and the project team. While, the participants in this study were chosen to provide a representative sample of multicultural project teams, they do reflect the experiences of senior managers who have experienced impacts of cultural complexity on heavy construction engineering projects. In particular, the 20 participants have managed large industrial projects. Nevertheless, addressing cross-cultural communication in heavy construction engineering projects can be viewed as principal enabler for improving the sector in the future. Since it has been confirmed that cross-cultural communication complexity exists within the construction industry, it will be valuable to have further research work focusing on cross cultural collectivism and communication. What this study does highlight is the need for considerably more research into multicultural project teams in construction management. What it did uncover suggests that we need a better understanding of multicultural project teams in construction project management. With the growth in globalisation, construction project managers will need to work on cultural diverse project teams. The good news is that multicultural project teams will bring fresh ideas and new approaches to problem solving. The challenge is that they will also bring understanding and expectations regarding team dynamics.