The impact of national culture on project management in the Middle East
thesisposted on 13.05.2013, 10:07 by Lars Baumann
Most international corporations have to adopt to the requirements of globalisation by working in international joint ventures or international projects outside their well known home markets. The successful management of projects is an essential element aiming to cope with the complex challenges caused by cultural factors and other influences on the management of projects. Especially the Middle East as a cultural region has experienced a dynamic growth during the last decades, as many of the countries rich in oil and gas have heavily invested into their local infrastructure. Besides other factors, the impact of national culture on project management may lead to negative influences like project delays and project failure, or positive influences such as an increased communication. Based on the Hofstede dimensional framework this thesis is designed to investigate which cultural factors and other factors influence the PMBoK (PMI Body of Knowledge) knowledge areas while delivering projects in the Middle East. This empirical study is using a qualitative research approach in a multiple-case study design analysing six projects. The results clearly show that some characteristics of the Middle Eastern cultural context strongly determine the applicability of the PMBoK knowledge areas. Especially the interrelation of individualism (IDV) and power distance (PDI) reveals some new perspectives for project work in this region. The two case studies illustrate a strong increase in power distance if the project manager and the team member do not originate from the same cultural background. Additionally differences in time perception and the characteristics of the dimension long term orientation (LTO) result in fundamental differences for the application of the PMBoK processes. The findings help to develop a theoretical framework highlighting specific influences for PMBoK knowledge areas. The results of this thesis may form a basis for future researchers aiming to develop improved models for project management in the Middle East or other cultural regions. Finally, the theoretical franework developed herein is designed to help project practitioners to gain a better understanding of the specific challenges while working on the Arabian peninsula.
- Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering