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  • Titill er á ensku Understanding the impact of culture in international projects
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  • Útdráttur er á ensku

    Due to globalization the world seems to be becoming smaller. With better transportation and improved communications, and as companies seek to establish global organisations and seek out new markets, people increasingly find themselves working in cross-border projects. This creates an imperative for people from different cultures to create mutual understanding and common goals which can drive these projects successfully.
    The aim of the paper is to investigate the notion that cultural differences impact on international project teams. Firstly, it is important to determine whether it is coherent to suggest the notion that cultural differences have such impact. Secondly, the paper examines, assuming culture can be said to have an impact, how project managers can respond to culture. Thirdly, the paper seeks to clarify which competences are thought best suited to lead multi-cultural international project teams.
    Four Icelandic project managers who have experience in leading international teams were interviewed. The purpose was to gain insight from their tangible project experience. This group was chosen because of the international presence of the companies they work for; geothermal science, on the one hand, and engineering projects on the other.
    The findings from this research are provisional but indicate that cultural diversity in international teams has an impact on project process, particularly the further away from ‘home’ the project manager and his or her team is. In terms of tools, it seems that few project managers use specific or common approaches to manage the challenge of culture, but there is a degree of consensus that a blend of “push” and “pull” styles (flexibility blended with assertiveness) is a key to success.

  • Key words: Cultural diversity, project management, international teams, cultural impact, intercultural competences.
  • 8.9.2015

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