Project Manager And Cultural Differences Barriers Management Essay


Specifying the functions of undertaking director has been a topic for many extended arguments because of the interconnected relationship between the undertaking ‘s ends and the overall organisations ‘ schemes. Whatever the instance, there is a general understanding among bookmans and practicians that project directors have alone functions and patterns different from their equals ( functional directors ) in the organisations ( Day W.J.D, 1994 ; Meredith and Mantel, 2010 )

Since the function of undertakings directors ‘ screens vast countries, this paper will concentrate on and critically analyse two instances and argue them from different theoretical positions.

1- Project director and cultural differences barriers ( Knowledge reassign instance ) ,

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2- Project director and resolution struggles through dialogue ( Asking for peculiar individual instance ) ,

This paper besides chooses this rational attack because both instances are really of import for undertaking direction and undertaking directors as they touches the human facet in the undertaking, which it is axiomatically can non be easy managed or predicted like other variables and resources particularly when the cultural differences are existed ( the first instance ) . And besides, non like machines, it is hard to obtain a coveted individual who has alone features in relationship with others employees and clients ( the 2nd instance ) .

In the undermentioned paragraphs, the first instance will be introduced by theories and constructs before analyzing it. While in the 2nd instance, the constructs and theories will be included in the instance analysis.

Undertaking director and cultural differences barriers ( Knowledge reassign instance )

Knowledge and engineering transportation between different cultural undertakings and the function of undertakings directors on that, have been a topic for many extended arguments[ 1 ].

Theories and constructs

One of the important obstructions that could be faced by undertaking directors who operate undertakings in different states ( i.e. The Multi-Nationals Companies ) is the cultural differences among states and the troubles rise in using the organisational schemes as a effect of that ( Meredith and Mantel, 2010 ; Eskerod & A ; Skriver, 2007 ) . And these barriers get more complicated when things are related to engineering and cognition transportation and how that can impact schemes integrating between parents and subordinates ( Kerzner, 2006 ) .

A study held by Standish Group in 2000 concluded that 70 % of information system companies had failing undertakings while 30 % win in accomplishing the ends. Standish Group explain besides that the chief ground for successful undertakings was delegating skilled undertaking directors who were able to understand the societal interrelatedness and cultural differences among employees and even between their equals ( Kendra & A ; Taplin, 2004 )

Since this topic progressively affects the public presentation and productiveness in many undertakings, a batch of statements and suggestions could be found in the literature to help the undertaking directors in understanding the cultural differences. Some research workers see civilization as something that directors can/should create and enforce it on the employees the manner they like ( Peters & A ; Waterman, 1982 ; Ouchi, 1981 ; Deal & A ; Kennedy, 1988 ; Handy, 1993 ) .

Others bookmans on the other manus, knock this position and accent on that organisational civilization is hard to alter since it emerges from the corporate societal interrelated relationship of groups and it is affected by environing environment. And the function of directors as they think is merely to pull off -rather than create- the civilization to be in consistent and with harmoniousness of the organisational schemes ; and they emphasis every bit good on the long clip this procedure might necessitate ( Meek, 1998 p459 ; Alvesson, 2002p.25 ; Mills & A ; Murgatroyd, 1991.p.62 ; Smircich, 1983.p.348-353, Schein, 1996 ) . And as Knights & A ; Willmott ( 2007 ) mentioned in his book,

“ Culture is jointly produced by everyone in the organisation [ … ] and it is multiple and disconnected in complex and conflicting ways [ … ] different subcultures necessarily emerge in different organisational venue because of changing external and internal influences ”

To heighten the understanding the function of director in covering with cultural difference, the undermentioned practical instance will be introduced:

( The NF3 Project ; Mitsui Chemicals Group, Japan )[ 2 ]


Headquarter in Japan ; Mitsui Chemicals Group is one of the largest 25 chemical companies in the universe and it has many subordinates distributed all over the universe.

The Case,

One of Mitsui chief merchandises is ( NF3 )[ 3 ]which produced by ( Shimonoseki Works Project ) in Japan, and since the demand for NF3 production expand quickly in the United States, the company decided to reassign the engineering and set up a new mill in the USA at its affiliate ( Anderson Development Company ) . The SWP in Japan and the ADC in US found many obstructions in get bying with the different undertaking direction manners they have to finish the undertaking.

Analyzing the instance,

By looking into the organisational construction for both workss ( the USA and the Japanese ) , deep differences could be found and could be illustrated in the undermentioned tabular array ;

Table 1, ( American / Nipponese PM Structure )

ADC ( United States Plant )

SWP ( Japan Plant )

Degree of formalisation






Hierarchy type


Multiple degree

Decision procedure






It could be interpreted from that tabular array ; how values and norms are differing between the civilizations in both companies. All of these really introduced many clangs that halt in the engineering transportation and put the undertaking directors in critical places such as,

Frequent meetings held by SWP works to do a individual determination, and that were blowing of clip and money as ADC works claimed.

GANTT chart shows that the undertakings were falling behind the agenda for both clip and cost.

Currency exchange jobs ( Yen/Dollar ) .

Based on those theories which suggested that the civilization is something could be manipulated and create ; undertaking directors decided to construct up a new organisational civilization, enforce it to the employees, and switch to a new construction which named by them as “ Hybrid system for NF3 works ” ( Table. 2 ) .

Table 2, Hybrid System for NF3 workss

ADC ( United States Plant ) / SWP ( Japan Plant ) – Loanblend

Degree of formalisation

High degree of formalisation in undertaking direction



Hierarchy type


Decision procedure

Consensual in design phase and single in execution phase


Group and Individually

As it could be understood from table.2, undertaking directors in this organization-at the first sight- were really successful in reconstituting the values and redesigning the processs in the works ; this besides -as they thought- will stop up with first-class public presentation and efficiency. To do this intercrossed system accomplishable they carried out some new constabularies such as,

Integration direction: understanding on undertaking direction methodological analysis

Cost direction: understanding on Yen/Dollar exchange rate.

Procurement direction: dialogue should be used when local and planetary procurance issues rise.

Communication direction: efficaciously pull off the clip zone differences.

However, when it comes to pattern, undertaking directors find troubles in using these new processs and a opposition has been found by both the directors and employees. Even processs were clear and ready to use in the intercrossed system but important societal barriers rose ; ( for illustration, the new intercrossed system demanded decentalisation in authorization and level hierarchy, nevertheless, in Nipponese subject: there ever has been a basic premise ( taken-for-granted cultural believe ) that operators are “ bluish neckband ” workers whom can non be given duty, authorization ; and any degree of battle by them would take to risky determination. And even the operators themselves would believe that they can non be a self-autonomy and insist to be led by higher directors ) .

As mentioned earlier in this paper, that was precisely what advocated by those bookmans who believed that organisational civilization is hard to make, alteration and manage since it emerges from the corporate societal interrelated relationship, basic premise and environmental effects. And that precisely the instance, among Nipponese ‘s employees there is the underneath believe of centralisation authorization and when undertakings directors impose the decentalisation policy this lead to conflict between what the employee believes and takes-for-granted premise and what the organisation attempt to instil in him/her and that end up with opposition and unattainable ends.

Though, the undertaking directors came to a decision that the intercrossed system was first-class but can non be run in nightlong procedure. They believed that there were other underneath factors which can non be ignored when implementing alterations ; and to set up a new system it is non a affair of stating “ Run this works or else ” .

After recognizing this fact, undertaking directors in the works worked on pull offing -rather than creating- the civilization to be in consistent and in harmoniousness with the organisational schemes by using many methods such as preparation programme, new wagess system which lead bit by bit to implant bit by bit the self-autonomy construct among operators and achieve the decentalisation policy as a effect, and that needful clip as they admitted.

Finally, we may cite from ( Eijnatten, 1993, p. 181 ) “ Although you can non pull off human resources, you can so determine environments that mobilized human resources ” .

Undertaking director and resolution struggles through dialogue ( Asking for peculiar individual instance )

Harmonizing to ( de Laat, 1994 ; Hughes, 1998 ; Tan, Hayes and Shaw ; 1996 ) one of the three of import state of affairss during project life rhythm that require high dialogue accomplishment from a undertaking director is renting work forces from other functional directors ( cited in Meredith J & A ; Mantel S, 2010 ) . Besides Thamhain and Wilemon ( 1975 ) emphasise on the importance of this issue and highlight the struggle strength sing labour force in the early phase of a undertaking life rhythm. The undermentioned instance will show that.

( American Electronics International, America )[ 4 ]


AEI is an American company working in R & A ; D field, and it won a $ 30m[ 5 ]R & A ; D contract which would last for 30 months. Blen Carty, who had 25 old ages of experience with AEI in undertaking and technology places, was allocated as a undertaking director for this contract by his manager Dr.Albert Runnels.

The Case,

In the phase prior to this contract which was short but considered as an of import measure towards the chief contract, Blen was working in material development plan along with Richard Flag ( a undertaking applied scientist ) who was staffed by him. Richard was besides evoked from technology section as a portion clip applied scientist for short period.

Richard was one of the best applied scientists for Blen, and Blen wants him to go on working on the R & A ; D contract undertaking for many grounds such as his perfect concern relationship with other directors and employees inside the organisation. Apart from internal satisfaction, clients were besides pleased about Richard public presentation since he ever kept them up-to-date with the advancement made.

Analyzing the instance,

AEI uses a matrix signifier in structuring any undertakings, which causes concerns for Blen as the functional directors will demo reluctances when delegating cardinal employees from their sections to his undertaking because they will lose them for 30 months in a full clip footing ; the most of import of them was, of class, Richard.

To screen out this issue and before it is excessively late ; Blen asked for direct dialogue meetings with both the manager of undertaking direction ( DR.Albert ) and the technology functional director ( John Wallace ) so he could explicate his point of position and support it with groundss. However, both directors refused his demand and they gave him their ain grounds ;

Albert: Suggested former and more experience applied scientist and asked Blen to do Richard plants under his supervising.

John: Refused to allow Richard go forth his section for long period claiming that he needs him in a batch of issues which can be merely handled by him.

Looking profoundly into this instance, it could be noticed that Blen faces a non easy quandary. He tried his best through direct meetings to convert the others parties. Sometimes he attacks the applied scientist whom Albert tries to apportion by knocking his attitude towards both clients and employees, while in other times he tries to coerce the functional director to allow Richard working in his undertaking by proposing him other alternate applied scientists. After all, Blen gained nil but tonss of force per unit area on him.

Harmonizing to the literature reappraisal, many bookmans identified conflict declaration attacks which could be summarized as follow ( Singh & A ; Vlatas, 1991 ) ,

Smoothing: take into consideration merely the similarities and neglect the differences.

Withdrawal: merely avoiding the struggle peacefully ( loss everything from one portion )

Compromising: making a solution between parties provided by 3rd party ( at the disbursal of maximising benefits ) .

Confrontation: rational job work outing attack by choosing the best options provide by all parties ( clip and money consuming ) .

Coercing: Win-loss attack ( at the disbursal of other involvement )

In our instance Blem seems to utilize the Forcing Method in negociating with the other directors like “ I was trusting to maintain Richard on ” and “ I ‘d wish to hold Larry -the applied scientist recommended by Albert- working for Richard ” .

These traditional attacks were criticized by many writers ( Rahim, 1989 ; Verma, 1996 ; Hammond et al. , 1975 ; Stewart, 1988, cited in Al-Tabtabai, 2001 ) since all of them focus merely on consequence and see struggle as destructive thing and reflect the belief of dissension among parties ; and as ( Al-Sedairy, 1994 ) described these attacks in few words “ What ‘s in it for me? ”

What these writers advocate for is the “ cognitive analysis technique as a struggle declaration ” . What they emphasize on is the psychological side of the struggle which was neglected by the traditional attacks, and they believe that any individual judgement comes from his/her cognitive procedure to make a decision or this judgement and it differs from others. They add besides, that these differences in cognitive procedure among negociating parties are the beginning of any peculiar struggle, and if those parties engage efficaciously in that struggle they will perfectly place the differences and modify their judgement consequently. At last, as they claim, the struggle will be vanished and non like the old methods which merely give a solution and maintain the struggle continue. And as Al-Tabtabai ( 2001 ) declared “ it helps the individuals in struggle to understand their judgement procedure, how they arrived at a determination, and besides how co-workers perceive the same state of affairs ” .

Though Blen might acquire better result if he understands and listens to other director ‘s point of positions instead than concentrating merely on his place and whishes ( inquiring these inquiries might stop the struggle ; Why there are value differences between me and them, what is the existent fact behind their insisting of refusal ; is covetous the ground behind that instead than the pressing demand for Richard as the functional director declared or the ground high cost since the manager have already a superior individual and Don non desire Richard to be the secondaˆ¦ )

Apart from these two positions, Fisher and Ury ( 1983 ) suggest some techniques in assisting undertaking directors to better their dialogue accomplishment based on win-win attack. This paper will advert two thoughts related to our instance,

Focus on involvement instead than place and invent common addition, Blen might says “ allow ‘s see who we have for this place ” alternatively of stating “ I was trusting to maintain Richard on ” since in that place he blocks other from giving their suggestions, and he might subsequently on give grounds for his pick of Richard.

Insist of utilizing nonsubjective standards instead than being knocking: Blen might carry converting other directors by giving hints of Richard accomplishments in covering with other employees and the pleasant client instead than knocking the attitude of the option suggested by others since it will take to more opposition by others.


To sum up, this paper investigates in the function of undertaking director by reexamining two existent life instance surveies. The first instance was concerned about the cultural differences when using cognition transportation and how barriers and troubles countered the undertaking directors in accomplishing their end, and we concluded that it is hard to alter civilization overnight and inquire the work force for committedness of the new processs alternatively the undertaking directors might bit by bit implant the new civilization by using side plans and developing strategies to do it easy for employees to get by with the new processs and as effect to accomplish the ends.

The 2nd instance was chiefly about the impermanent usage of a individual from other section since he has alone abilities to manage many state of affairss and the first-class concern relationships he has in pass oning with others, we have seen how it was so hard for the undertaking director to convert other directors and allow this transportation occurs. And we argued that the job was utilizing the traditional attacks in dialogue which see the struggle as a job and the consequence is more of import than understanding the procedure and other differences created by other party ( focus merely on the similarities ; take your piece is the affair ) . Then we conclude that it is better for any undertaking director to negociate in a manner to understand and discourse others point of positions instead than concentrating merely on place and battle for it and as a consequence he/she will acquire better out come in a win-win base every bit good as satisfaction for all parties and the most of import is “ no struggle will be existed ” , which is non the instance in the traditional attacks.


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