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Cultural Challenge of Managing Global Project Teams

Autor:   •  May 5, 2016  •  Research Paper  •  2,162 Words (9 Pages)  •  1,145 Views

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Cultural Challenge of Managing Global Project Teams

Name: Linjie ZHOU

Student number: 14066713

Module leader: Andri Georgiadou

Module code: 5BUS1054

Deadline Date: 10:00 am, Tuesday 31st March 2015

Word count: 1936


The purpose of this work is to present an analysis of Rodrigues and Sbragia (2013) who discussed the cultural challenge of managing global project teams. The report will evaluate the theoretical framework in the article, the research approach as well as the wider implications of the article for those involved in cross-cultural management. The last section will be a personal assessment about the experience working in a multicultural group.

Brief Description

Rodrigues and Sbragia (2013) aimed to examine the process of managing global teams in Brazilian multinationals To carry out the task, the authors carried out six qualitative case studies and found that, among the cases studied, there was little concern with cultural aspects. As a result, the authors posit the typical benefits of cultural teams, such as creativity and innovative, were likely not realisable for the companies involved.

Theoretical Framework

The broad theoretical underpinning of the paper first posits there is a cultural difference between countries. The authors suggest this difference is on basis of not only Hofstede's framework (who defines cultural difference in terms of collectivism for such individualism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity/femininity in long-term versus short-term orientation) but Johnanson and Vahlne (2003) framework which emphasizes differences in language, education, business practices and so on. The second part of the theoretical framework suggests that to effectively manage, there has to be intercultural competence among the global project team while having specific HR policies and global project team management processes in place.

The theory/framework that authors rely on that appears to be more than appropriate. While much criticism is found with Hofstede (Jones, 2007), where limitations cited include the single case methodology and the theoretical propositions (McSweeney, 2002), his remains the most influential conceptualization of culture today.  So the decision to use it appears justified but it is unclear why the limitations of the model were never reviewed or alternative models more indepth (Morden, 1999) (or, for the matter, the limitations of these existing models (like how they assume the stability of culture over time) (Thomas &. Peterson, 2014).

Even the application of the research emerging from Hofstede is rather poorly applied and written descriptively. An example: "High control of uncertainty is indicated when there is need for security" (Rodrigues & Sbragia, 2013, p. 42). This sentence is essentially just defining what power distance is; says nothing critical about what it means in the context of managing team projects. There needed to be, in other words, more contextualisation to global project team management (Erez, et al, 2013) and a lot more criticality applied for the literature review to be valuable which there is literature on the matter.  Johnanson and Vahlne (2003) are also well cited and respected, so it is logical to incorporate this.


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