Finally, emphasis Is placed on building a support system for the International Project Manager that consists of tenured Ms, language support and senior leadership. Keywords: international communication; project management: intercultural communication; training 3 groups of people understand and interpret the world. These differing interpretations that cultures give to their environment are critical influences on the interactions between working and managing across cultures. - L.
Hocking: Managing cultural differences: Strategies for competitive advantage In order for a Project Manager to effectively manage a project that requires intercultural interaction and communication, it is critical that he is provided with a solid foundation that introduces him not only to the project and desired outcomes but also to the culture with which he will be working. The recommended training plan included here will provide the experience and exposure necessary for successful project management.
Before examining how best to prepare to Project Managers for international projects, it is important to understand how successful intercultural interaction occurs. Intercultural communication, or the communication that occurs between two people of differing cultures, has many layers. Prior to the communication even occurring, ACH person brings his or her own constructs that exist as a result of the culture one is a part of.
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These schemata, or mental categories that humans create in order to make sense of the world around them, are fluid ideas that can begin as assumptions and grow with continued exposure. (Verne & Beamer, 2011, p. 36) This means that an initial perception that one may have about a different culture, while important, can be developed through additional exposure and education. Once two people begin an interaction, each individual also contributes his or her own experiences, values, demeanor and language.
You & Saner, 2007, p. 191-219) These driving forces can cause one interaction to be perceived in multiple different ways depending on the backgrounds of each individual. Understanding the delicate nature of communication cross-culturally and how it can be strengthened by exposure to and education about the different culture provides insight in 4 to the importance of effectively trained Project Managers who can avoid unintentional missteps as a result of the communication's complexity.
Due to the critical nature of the role of International Project Managers, it is important o invest in their success through a 3 step phased introduction to both the role of International Project Manager as well as the culture with which they will be engaging. Phase 1: EX. Cultural Immersion Location: Corporate Office Duration: 1 to 4 weeks, depending on project complexity Details: There are two cultures into which new International Project Managers will need to be integrated - EX. Corporate Culture and the International Culture for which they will be leading.
The purpose of Phase 1 is to integrate the PM in to EX. Culture. Throughout this 1 to 4 week phase, the PM will be introduced to our immunization systems, processes and procedures. Additionally, they will be provided exposure to our timeliness and interoffice communication. Finally, they will be introduced to the project that they will be leading and given an opportunity to work with key staff members on establishing initial timeliness.
Expected Outcome: Project Manager gains fluency in EX. Corporate culture and their assigned Project Phase 2: Cultural Immersion Location: Both Corporate Office and International Offices 5 Attendees: New PM, Training Manager, Cultural Communication Consultant, Translator, Cultural Host Duration: 2 weeks (depending on project and cultural complexity) Details: This is a new phase in the International Project Manager training that has been incorporated as a result of previous missteps by Imps which have resulted in lost business and lost time.
Previous cultural exposure for Imps was limited to short training sessions and "on the Job" learning in host countries. Field experts in the business of Intercultural Project Management have determined that this kind of training is not sufficient and does "not meet the needs of managers who want answers to their particular expectations. " (Gale Group, 2004) Phase 2, will begin with 1 week of cultural education. This week will be tailored to the specific IMP and the country with which they will be working.
A cultural communication consultant will facilitate the first week of training with focus on understanding the 'M's perception of the culture with which they will be working. Then, together, the IMP and the cultural anthropologist with identify the key differences between the new culture and the 'M's own. "The Lewis Model" will be used to help the IMP understand how to relate with the specific ultra and what obstacles may be presented. (Lewis, 2014) Imps will spend the second week in their host country. During this time, they will focus entirely on the new culture with which they will be working.
Cultural Hosts in culture and customs. Depending on where the IMP will be located, exposure could consist of tours of the city; classes with local business 6 professionals; practice shopping, eating and negotiating as well as language exposure. If a translator will be used, this week will also provide ample opportunity for the IMP to build a relationship with the translator to ensure effective immunization is occurring between the two. Expected Outcome: Project Manager becomes comfortable in new Culture and becomes aware of any potential cultural obstacles that may need to be addressed.
Phase 3: Putting it Together Location: Training Site Attendees: New PM; Training Manager; Senior International Program Manager Duration: 1 Week Details: This is a new phase in the International Project Manager training that provides the IMP with the opportunity to see another project at work. The IMP will be paired together with a Senior IMP whose project also crosses similar cultural lines. This week is designed to provide the IMP exposure to a successful project at work so that he can ask questions and understand how the relationship was developed.
The schedule throughout this week will be designed to give the new IMP to both Senior IMP and his team but also to cross-cultured team members on the team. Through a strategic roundtable and facilitated two-way discussion, the new IMP will be able to build best practices and recommendations that can be incorporated in to his project. This time will also serve to build the relationship between the IMP and one of his errs, thus strengthening the support system available for the new IMP. Expected Outcome: IMP develops best practices and support system that he can use when taking over his new project. In conclusion, when done correctly, expanding business operations in to a culture that is different can be rewarding and lucrative. Intercultural interaction is a delicate endeavor that must be handled with care and precision to ensure that unintentional missteps do not permanently damage a working relationship. The social constructs that Project Managers and contract workers bring can be diametrically opposed to hat of a host country's cultural customs and expectations.
In order for International Project Managers to be successful, it is critical that their immersion in to EX. Company culture is thorough and streamlined so that time and resources are not wasted on adapting to that culture instead of the international culture with which the IMP will be engaging (Phase 1). Additionally, the IMP must be provided with adequate exposure and training that supplies them with culturally specific guidelines that they can use when beginning their project (Phase 2).
Finally, the IMP must also be revived with exposure to Ex.'s expectations of a successful project while also providing a support system that can be leveraged in times of stress or dissent. The Three Phased Training Plan presented satisfies each of these requirements and is the first step in revolutionize Ex.'s international business organization. References Hocking, L. (1995) . Managing Cultural Differences, Strategies for Competitive Advantage. Boston, MA: Addison Wesley Publishing Company. Verne, I. & Beamer, L. (2011) . Intercultural Communication in the Global Workplace.
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