How to deal with different cultures in a project

By: Agnieszka S.

Nowadays, we live in the time of boost of transnational cooperation in many dimensions. That is why also in transnational corporations (TNCs) and any other organizations which run international business, cultural differences between countries are more and more observed. It occurs because it is scientifically investigated that types of management and even types of working between continents and countries are completely different. Obviously, this situation has got many collocations also in project management. It causes the issue of running project in this specific, intercultural environment.
But if we want to understand and conduct both national and international projects, first of all we have to achieve some primary information about theories of culture analysis. Well-known in this topic are so called 4 types of culture created by G. Hofstoede:
1. Collectivism or individualism - in individual group each person is a primary element of a community, in opposite one - a group of humans is the most important unit.
2. Power distance index - bigger is distinctive for communities where public differences are tolerated, lower for regions where there is commonly recognized that these distinctness should be defeated.
3. Masculinity and femininity - in cultures which are masculine it is considered that a man has to have a power. One of the most important things are: money, independence and ambition. In female cultures communities are based on serving for people. All of the persons are crucial and more valuable than social roles. Quality of existence is also significant.
4. High or low uncertainty avoidance - higher is characteristic for countries in which people feel fear because of any changes of the future. Smaller is observed in places in which life is taken with optimism. There is no worry about the future. In these kinds of places risk tendency is also bigger.
Cultural dissimilarities in projects are sometimes observed in all phases of them. But, the most crucial ones are observed in the accomplishment process. That is why, all managers should, first of all, analyze which 'types' of people (for example in comparison to 4 dimensions of cultures) he might be obligated to cooperate with and, with that primary knowledge, he can build his international project.
It is certain that, especially in international projects, web project management software is very useful. Main advantages of these types of web project management tools are highly linked to networking activities which are often used in modern businesses. It improves cooperation in a project team and communication wherever they are, whatever they do.

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'Cultures and Organizations, Software of the Mind', Geert Hofstede

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