This Guest paper was submitted for publication in December 2020.
It is copyright to Frank Hamilton.
Published here January 2021.
One particularly difficult challenge of international project management is in understanding differences in cultures. According to Geert Hofstede, there are five dimensions of national culture. These help to differentiate one country from another. They are:
- Individualism. This dimension measures why personal achievement and needs are important. As opposed to the needs of a group.
- IPower Distance. This is the gap between equality and accepting the distribution of power. A flat management structure would be viewed as having a low power distance. Due to a greater focus on equality. A country that has a high power distance requires that you only engage with the most senior team member.
- IUncertainty Avoidance. This is the level to which countries accept to be more flexible with change. Countries with high uncertainty avoidance level need longer time and extra costs to manage change.
- IMasculinity. It is a pitch between masculinity and femininity. It is used to measure the need for competitiveness between male and female roles. For example, a male project manager will face less resistance in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan than a female PM.
- ILong-Term Orientation. Asian countries like Japan and China will prefer long-term orientation. Because they see little value in sticking to short-term milestones and deadlines.