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Title: Managing cross cultural consultancy team
Keywords: Building
Project and Facilities Management
George Ofori
2012/2013 PFM
Conflict resolution
Cross-cultural management
Issue Date: 3-Jun-2013
Citation: CHIN MIN HUI JOANNA (2013-06-03). Managing cross cultural consultancy team. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This study explores the management of cross-cultural consultancy teams in the construction industry. The construction industry itself is a fragmented industry where people come together to work on a project for a short period of time (Ofori, 2012). Coupled with increased globalization, the team becomes increasingly diversified. This study hence seeks to explore the effect of culture in this diversified consultancy team. Hofstede’s (1993) cultural framework and Blake and Mouton’s (1993) conflict resolution grid was adopted in this study. Survey questionnaire was the primary research method of this study. The questionnaire was developed from a review of the literature and was pre-tested by Project Managers before being sent to the sample group. A total of 36 sets of responses were received from Project Managers, Architects, Mechanical and Electrical Engineers, Civil and Structural Engineers, and Quantity Surveyors. The data were analyzed with a t-test and Pearson correlations. The results show that respondents in Singapore’s construction industry have collectivistinclined values. Individuals with collectivist-inclined values treasure interpersonal relationships. The communication style of the collectivist culture tends to incorporate nonverbal cues and other factors such as each individual’s knowledge of the other party. Collaboration is the preferred conflict resolution style in a collectivist-inclined culture. Interviews were conducted with a selection of Project Managers to understand their take on issues on interpersonal relationship, communication style and conflict resolution methods. One of the limitations of this study is that it looks in some depth into only one dimension of Hofstede’s (1993) cultural framework. Furthermore, this study is only relevant to construction work in Singapore. From the findings of this study, it is suggested that due to the collectivist-inclined nature of the environment of individuals working in Singapore, emphasis should be placed on building interpersonal relationship. Time should be invested to resolve conflict in a collaborative manner. Further research could be undertaken on other dimensions of culture.
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