1st Edition

Culture and Project Management Managing Diversity in Multicultural Projects

By Omar Zein Copyright 2015

    The cultural diversity within many major projects require those managing them to adapt their project management approach to be in harmony with the preferences and behaviours of stakeholders from these cultures; failure to do so can lead to misunderstandings about the project’s purpose and structure; significant difficulties in implementation and in some cases, to conflict or litigation. Omar Zein's Culture and Project Management explores the cultural impact on projects and their management, providing the reader with an understanding of the main elements of cross-cultural theory within the project context. These include our perception of context, achievement, power and group dynamics; and how we approach ambiguity and time. He then identifies key aspects of project management where cultural sensitivity is essential (for example, planning, risk management, project communication and leadership) and offers a structured plan for developing what he calls 'cultural tuning' within a project environment. The book draws on the author’s research, his professional experience of working on transnational projects and his own background. His review of the different theories alongside examples and stories of their practical application, offers project managers a new and extraordinarily rich perspective into the likely dynamics of their projects. Making appropriate adaptations to standard processes, choosing what, how and through whom you communicate with stakeholders may be signal elements in the success or failure of your projects; Culture and Project Management will show where to start.

    Introduction; Part I Understanding Culture; Chapter 1 Elements of Culture; Part II Cultural Orientations and Project Management; Chapter 2 An Overview of Modern Culture and Management Studies; Chapter 3 Boss Knows Best!; Chapter 4 You Are Not Alone!; Chapter 5 Follow Your Desires!; Chapter 6 Are You Sure?; Chapter 7 Safeguard Your Status; Chapter 8 Gantt! What Gantt?; Chapter 9 Correlations amongst the Cultural Dimensions; Part III Culture and the Project Environment; Chapter 10 Organisational Structure and Project Management; Chapter 11 Roles and Responsibilities; Chapter 12 Planning and Tracking; Chapter 13 Risk Management; Chapter 14 Project Communication and Reporting; Chapter 15 Delegation and Accountability; Chapter 16 Project Leadership and Motivation; Chapter 17 Managing Culture within the Project Environment; Part IV Culture and the Project Team; Chapter 18 The Six Steps of Project Management Cultural Tuning;


    Omar Zein is a project management consultant with an engineering background. He was born in Saudi Arabia to Syrian parents, moved to the United Kingdom at the age of 13 and is currently living and working between London, UK and Turin, Italy. During his higher education in 1993, Omar undertook a research on the cultural impact British organizations face when they operate in Saudi Arabia. His findings are part of the cultural dimensions still used today by multinational organizations moving to the country. Omar’s experience combines project management in manufacturing, IT, finance and European Commission development programmes in the Middle East and Europe. He has directly delivered various large and complex initiatives involving multiple national and organisational cultures. He is Director of Projectize Ltd (UK) and President of the European School of Project Management (Italy).

    Learn more about Omar Zein and his work at www.culturepm.com

    "A very useful insight and guide to handling a challenging aspect of group activity. Omar has distilled the best of theory and approach on the subject. More importantly by using examples and anecdotes, non-specialists like me can better grasp the issues and solutions in my own professional context."
    - Chou Chong, Investment Director, Aberdeen Asset Management Asia Limited

    "In Culture and Project Management Omar Zein offers a masterful review of well-known and accepted theories related to how different types of cultures may look at the same event or experience and why this matters when doing business together. What sets this book apart, however, is that Zein also explains why typical approaches to developing rapport for a multicultural team over the long term are quite different from managing short-term projects where time is of the essence. Best of all, he offers clear strategies for short-term managers on what to consider as they assess the international makeup of their team and how then to work with this diversity to achieve the successful and timely completion of their projects." 
    - Ruth E. Van Reken, co-author, Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds; co-founder, Families in Global Transition

    "A very understandable and approachable description with great examples of the concrete impact culture has in one of the work-life areas, the area of project management. A must read for every international project manager, with examples relating to both short-term projects and long-term programs. "
     - Egbert Schram, Managing Director, Itim International and the Hofstede Centre

    "A fascinating look at how multicultural projects - increasingly the norm due to globalisation - can flounder through a lack of local knowledge or self-awareness by the project manager." 
    - Supply Management Magazine, June 2015