Culture is defined as The set of norms, behaviours, beliefs and customs that exist within the population of a sovereign nation. International companies often develop management and other practices in accordance with the national culture they are operating in.
Regarding the above definition, projects often span across several nations and so cultures impact on the performance of these projects. There are challenges and benefits to be considered.
Review the literature and write a report discussing various authors' contribution to managing projects across different cultures globally. Please make sure you follow the marking rubric attached.
Additional Informations on what to see in the report:
Definition of culture
How culture relate to managing projects
Challenges and benefits
Show examples in different countries
What managers do in terms of the references you read
Synthesize the research to what we study in Advanced Project Management.
Definition of culture
According to different advanced research center, based on language acquisition, culture can be defined as a shared pattern of behavior as well as interaction, understanding of cognitive constructive those are learned from the socialization (Alvesson and Sveningsson 2015). In other words culture can be defined as a attitude and set of shared norms that should be followed by the project managers and project team members also.
Due to the organizational culture, the enterprises can avoid conflict and other challenges. After defining the main theory of culture, the challenged and benefits associated to it are also elaborated in this paper. In addition to this, there are certain well-known companies which maintain accurate organizational culture through which they are gaining effective competitive advantages. Besides this, the role of the project managers in conflict situation and the learning gained from role of culture in project manager are also elaborated in this paper.
Organizational culture is referred to as a deeply embedded set of values and beliefs which determine to a great extent demonstrating the reaction of every individual employee in different situations. However, if a company lags to adopt accurate managerial approaches then it will led the entire business towards failure.
While working with the internal and external consumers on a particular project it is necessary for the project managers to pay close attention on the relationship, context, culture of the corporate, history etc (Hogan and Coote 2014). The values and behaviors of the employees which contribute to the unique social and psychological ambiance of the business organization are referred to as organizational culture. In other words the culture includes expectation of the business, experience and values from the employees who are working for any enterprise. The organizational culture is based on the shared attitude, customs, both the written and unwritten rules developed for the employees over the changing time period are considered as valid.
According to Bolman and Deal (2017), organizational culture is referred to as a way through which an enterprise can conduct a business or project. It also includes the process used to treat the employees, consumers and the rest of the wider community. Again O'Neill, Beauvais and Scholl (2016) stated that, culture is the extent to which freedom is allowed for taking effective decision by growing new ideas as well as personal experiences. Culture can be also defined as the power and flow of information hierarchically to commit the employees towards the organizational objectives (Manojlovich and Ketefian 2016).
How culture related to managing projects
Culture is a norm which affects the productivity and performance of an organization while conducting any business or project professionally. It gives guidelines on the organizational services and customer care also. In addition to this, it also improves the product quality, safety, attendance, concern and punctuality for the business environment (Bortolotti, Boscari and Danese 2015). The set of norms and culture varies depending on the business background. For example it can be said that, for a healthcare industry the culture that should be possessed include care and compassion.
There is a vast area including project management process, style of managing projects, for managing projects proper training and timing are related to the organizational culture. The organizational culture is defined as the comprising values and behaviors of the employees associated to the company (Huhtala et al. 2015). It is the responsibility of the project team members to balance the work culture within the working environment to engage the project team members within their allotted job roles. The organizational culture influences some of the business factors that include the following:
- The overall tone of the shared employee experience
- The mission, vision and shared expectation of the organization
- Work ethics
- Socio norms
- Risk tolerance capability
- Environmental factors
These factors help to determine the role through which whether the project objectives can be achieved or not according to the PMBOK guide notes. In case of different large business organizations, the employees are widely belongs to different domain and different cultures as well (Cao et al. 2015). As a result their cultural background also differs from one another which leads to intra organizational and inter organizational conflict. It is the responsibility of the project managers to develop such an environment where all the project team members can work efficiently and freely.
Culture and structure of a business organization can influence the way through which projects are managed and executed by the project manager and business executives. Along with the similar line of action it can be said that, the culture and project maturity level of project management in an organization and the process of project management cam influence the project managers to make sure the way through which a project can be carried out (Rofcanin, Las Heras and Bakker 2017). For different organizations the culture varies effectively. It has been found that organizational culture can eventually mitigate the cultural barriers. It is a axiom that two different organizations are using similar project management practices as well as structure but they are gaining different levels of success. Thus, it can be said that there are many more for the project success and not for only project management. Successful project culture claims long term success and level variables in terms of strategy, management involvement etc. In order to measure something as indefinable as organizational culture the project executives should pin the components down by defining the sources (Baker, Lichy and Stokes 2015). The organizational culture has a wider range of boundary which defines different development processes. Work culture gives wider and positive working environment to both the employees and the consumers including:
- Openness to new ideas
- Employees feel valued as individuals
- Open discussion along with the project superiors
Challenges and benefits or culture in organizations
Management leadership is another approach which is relayed to organizational culture in terms of the below factors:
- Setting of clear goal and responsibilities delegated
- Employees are having input for successful decision making
- Offered incentives for the new ideas of work
- High level of risk ad high level of returns from the project etc.
It has been found that regarding the role of culture in business organizations across several nations thus it can be said that culture impacts on the performance of different projects. However, the performance of the business organization may positively or negatively impact with the organizational culture (Denison, Nieminen and Kotrba 2014). The challenges and benefits of organizational culture are as follows:
Besides benefits many challenges are also associated to the organizational culture and those are mentioned below:
Unavoidable: Sometimes it has been found that in small businesses managers fail to become familiar with the cultural norms developed by the company itself. With the changing time period the owners are found to become busy getting a business off the ground. If the organizational culture becomes entrenched, then it becomes difficult for the employees and managers also to follow (Lee, Shiue and Chen 2016). Thus culture cannot be avoided or never be accepted.
Behavior driver: Any culture like corporate culture institutionalizes all the organizational behavioral norms. Different herd kind of mentality of the employees connected to the business organization discourages the innovative thought of the employees. It mainly happens when the company fails to adopt value adoptability. On the other hand it has been found that, the behaviors are modeled by the leadership of the businesses (Martinez et al. 2015). If the managers are found to be at odd situation then, the organizational culture reflects that the employees are negatively impacted.
Misalignment: The terms mission and vision of the business organizations are very much valuable for any company for massive success. Moreover it can be said that the mission, vision and strategies developed for the companies will never be achieved if it is not supported by the organizational culture (Stokes, Bakerand Lichy 2016). Organizational culture is the only factor that helps to translate the organizational mission into action. Thus, it can be said that, culture provides means of translation of business to fulfill the vision of the owners.
It has been found that the size of an organization does not matter if the question comes about the workplace culture. Each and every individual organization has their norms and culture regardless of the number of employees working for the company. Each and every activity of the employees is related to the organizational culture. The benefits of culture are as follows:
Improve business productivity: It is very much necessary for the employees to understand the workplace culture appropriately. It will give the employees to have a better grasp on the organizational goal. As much the employees will gain better understanding about their job roles they will be able to provide better outcome as well. Besides the employees, the managers should also have proper ideas about the objectives (Tong, Tak and Wong 2015). Thus, it can be said that, collaboration among the managers and all employees will help the business organizations to meet its goal easily. Healthy work culture will allow the employees to work together in the enterprise. Not only this but also, it increases the employee commitment to their job roles.
Increase marketability: Culture of a company is referred to as a part of the brand that has been created for the business. It also makes impact on the way through which the talented employees can be hired and the type of attracted talent. The people who are seeking for jobs look for the company which fit their lifestyles in terms of time flexibility, financial assistance and continuous education etc (Smetana, Rogers and Welfel 2017.). Thus, it can be said that, even if the employees working for an organization are belongs to different culture must follow the culture developed by the company itself.
Forms unity between the employees: Culture is referred to as the most important norm that must be possessed by any business organization to make unity among the employees. It is not necessary that, for all projects each project member will belong to same culture. Even if the employees are belongs to different culture a common culture should be developed by the company itself and that culture should be followed by the business organization to gain competitive advantages and measurable financial success (Bolman and Deal 2017). Both the employees and other members of the organizations should take cues from the management so that they can form their own opinion regarding the culture of the workplace. Shared norms unify employees and the management together just after its adoption.
Financial profit: Organizational culture also motivates the employees include managers who are working for the company. At an economic level, the cultural structure gives dramatic and sustainable increment of productivity in terms of financial profit to the company. Continuous improvement is referred to as a norm that is related to cost control gives unlimited success to the company through productivity and quality improvement (Hogan and Coote 2014). With the help of the widespread focus, the operating and administrative cost drop down that leads to measurable success.
At a wider range it has been found that on most of the cases project span across several nations and thus the cultures impact o the performance of these projects. For different countries the cultural norms and values also differs a lot. The examples of some of the organizational cultures are given below:
This is a Florida based grocery chain rather a large employee owned company in the United States. The company has over 184,000 employees and the profit margin of the company surpass than Walmart, whole Foods etc also.
The main reason for the success of the company is their employee centric culture that has results a voluntary rate of turnover just around 5%. It is all available among the full time employees working for the company (Publix 2018). Employees are able to have regular review for their performance feedback. According to the culture of this workplace, the salary of the employees also increases after each six months. Due to the employee centric culture the company will be able to gain emphasize communication.
The Southwest Airlines which is based on United States has grown their employees more than around 52,000. The common southern west culture is itself adopted by the airlines company (Southwest Airlines 2018). Due to the employee focused culture and shared norm of the company, the company is eventually gaining high range of commercial profit from the market. The company gives the employees a healthy working environment as a result the company also sponsors different events and milestones as well.
In the competitive marketplace Salesforce has built an amazing reputation which is helping the company to gain economical success. The employees feel engaged to their job roles due to its top down alignment on the mission and vision developed by the company (Salesforce 2018). The organizational culture maintained by the company is focused on key hiring criterion from the leadership to the entry level roles.
In order to avoid both inter-organizational and intra-organizational conflict, it is necessary for the project managers to play proper roles and responsibilities. The first responsibility of the project managers is to understand the company norms including the expectation of the consumers from the company. The core responsibilities of the project managers in such situation are mentioned below:
Feasibility testing: In the very initial phase of project development the project manager should consider all the necessary resources (physical, human). Based on the resources the project budget should be prepared. With the help of feasibility study the project manager will come to know that whether the project outcome will be beneficial or not.
Leadership: Leadership is another important role that must be played by the project managers to motivate the project team members. Due to appropriate motivation the employees associated to the project will keep themselves engages to their job roles.
Planning: This is the most important action to be played by the project managers. At the project initiation phase, the project manager should plan the entire project that has to be executed for commercial success. Project planning includes time management, risk management, procurement management and contingency management as well.
From the overall discussion it can be concluded that, from advanced project management different advanced functional and operational activities can be learned that helps the organizations to gain effective competitive advantages and measurable economic profits. It has been learnt that, the culture of the employees working in an organization influences the total performance of any business organization. The culture of an organization impacts four different quadrants such as actuality, impersonal, personal and possibility. With the help of cultural collaboration, control, competence and cultivation a business can forecast their success. Culture is the root of individual achievement and in order to gain effective success from the competitive market a shared culture should be developed by the business organizations that has to be followed by the employees and management authority as well.
In order to lead any project the project managers should pay the leading roles. Project management helps the business organization to define a plan for organizing chaos to establish a schedule and planning. It also helps to establish teamwork and also maximizes the resources. The integration among the project components reduces the project issues and project gaps.
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Baker, C., Lichy, J. and Stokes, P., 2015. Values, Belief and Attitudes: The Implications for Organizational Culture.
Bolman, L.G. and Deal, T.E., 2017. Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice, and leadership. John Wiley & Sons.
Bortolotti, T., Boscari, S. and Danese, P., 2015. Successful lean implementation: Organizational culture and soft lean practices. International Journal of Production Economics, 160, pp.182-201.
Cao, Z., Huo, B., Li, Y. and Zhao, X., 2015. The impact of organizational culture on supply chain integration: a contingency and configuration approach. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 20(1), pp.24-41.
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