How are perceived cultural challenges addressed by the Western project manager operating in the Asian region?
Citation:Gilden, A. (2005). How are perceived cultural challenges addressed by the Western project manager operating in the Asian region?. Unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Master of Project Management, Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/1254
Western project managers can increasingly be seen managing projects in Asia, so it is timely to assess whether the knowledge already acquired about cultural differences has permeated the discipline of project management. Do Western project managers ensure culture is a considered factor during the management of projects within the Asian region? Do Western project managers make any modifications to their project management techniques to account for cultural diversity? The purpose of this research is to examine any knowledge gaps concerning the perceptions of international project managers in regards to cultural differences between them and their project teams, and to see how, if at all, they dealt with these differences. This research focused specifically on Western project managers operating within the Asian region. This research involved a single case organisation study where both qualitative and quantitative data was gathered for analysis and interpretation. The study identified perceived Asian cultural challenges facing the Western project manager, and the modifications put in place to address them. As such it provides valuable information for both project managers already working in Asia, and prospective managers looking to operate in the Asian region. Western project managers going to work in Asia need to understand that there are many cultural influences, perhaps more than they realize, and that those cultural influences interact in ways that may not be readily apparent. The results of this study suggest the pure processes of project management can transcend culture, provided an awareness of potential cultural differences is present. The project management process does not need to be modified to account for cultural difference; rather Western project managers need to place more emphasis on particular stages of the process once they identify the cultural challenges they have to address. Further, they may need to modify their own personal management styles and enhance their ‘soft skills’, as these will be tested when they are required in a foreign environment.