The multinational managers work along with employees from different background having different nationalities and cultures. Especially on occasions when they working in multinational projects. Hence they work in different management style and culture to understand the behavioural competencies. The theme behind how can multinational managers learns to handle these issues regarding working with different type of nationalities and cultures. In addition, multinational manager must be able to handle the conflict constructively.
Greet Hofstede can be classed as one of the most influential theorist on natural culture and how it defines itself in the business world. His study has mostly been undertaken whilst working at IBM in a senior post and in 2001 Hofstede stated that his study has covered over 72 countries.
The research contains the difference perception managers hold in different positions. To perform this it is important to identify the competency gap between a mono-cultural project manager and an effective multi-cultural project manager.
The businesses around the world are thinking to be internationalized. Most of companies’ expansion strategies are looking to expand their business globally and taking an advantage of it. The new communication tools and techniques are implemented in the business environment around the world to be multinationalised or spread the business through out the world. This global concept of setting up the companies abroad and put more of the managers in use to manage multicultural and multinational projects. Hence gaining the full competitive advantage for their companies through these mix cultures values and ethics.
Soderberg & Holden (2002), as well as McSweeney (2000) have identified some drawbacks in the Hofstede research as the culture concept is equated to nation-states, which may contain multiple cultures.
Since the international expansion of businesses and the term globalization is being used the multinational firms and companies looking for 24 hours shifts to run their businesses to take the full advantage of the time. For this reason the multinational companies looking forward to move to other countries to take the advantage of time laps and cheap labour resources. Since modern business communication tools and techniques have been developed and implemented in the business world, most of the businesses are trying and thinking with global concept. All these companies setting up abroad the high demand of managers are required. These managers are not only be capable to manage the business plans but also to manage the multicultural environment as well as to gain a full advantage for the companies through the mix of cultural values.
The interaction of different cultures may at times cause conflict; to manage such a conflict differs from region to region. The manager of a multi-cultural project team should expect conflict to occur and be prepared to act responsively and effectively.
Thomas defines conflict simply as ‘the condition in which people’s concerns – the things they care about - appear to be incompatible.’ (Thomas, 2002)
As along working with different cultures and value systems in different countries around the world from different nationalities and languages having different type of living standards, this increases the disagreement between the employees and the management and also causes a risk for conflict. To handle these issues on a vast level the multinational mangers or project managers must be able to manage conflict using different methods regarding to solve the issues and affectively manage a team.
In the spirit of the interactionist view on conflict, Tjosvold (Cheung and Chuah, 1999) suggests that conflict in an organisation is inevitable, and can have positive or negative consequences depending on its management. He refers to a ‘positive conflict organisation’, in which conflict is used as an opportunity to improve group cohesion and project team performance, and emphasises the importance of the ‘collaboration’ method of conflict management in achieving this goal.
Adair (1986) describes differences in conflict management between cultures in the following statement:
"Culture plays a part in determining how far conflict involving strong emotions should be brought out into the open. In the American Group Dynamics tradition it was felt that all conflicts should be brought out into the open – by the trainer if by no one else – and worked through. Equally the expression of feelings, however negative or hostile, was encouraged for cathartic reasons. That American approach was introduced into team building activities in other parts of the world." (Adair, 1986)
In order to describe the nature of multi-cultural project management, a brief review was performed of project management in general. A project can be defined as:
"an endeavour in which human, financial and material resources are organised in a novel way to undertake a unique scope of work, of given specification, within constraints of cost and time, so as to achieve beneficial change defined by quantitative and qualitative objectives."(Turner, 1999)
The Project Management Institute defines project management as ‘The application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements.’
Proposed research interest:
Proposed research problem/issue:
The problems faced by multinational managers, creating an understanding of multinational managers working with different nationalities from different parts of the world. How to manage and understand the problems when such conflict issues arise especially working in multicultural projects.
The study and the research from the experts show that there are significant competitive advantages to be gained by effective multi/cross-cultural project management. (Gordon 1999, Carper 1998, Thomas and Ely1996).
"a diverse group of people, using their own creativity, innovation, judgement, intuition can do a better job in today’s world of constant change than any set of ‘formal’ procedures or controls administered by a remote, centralised management." (Gordon, 1999)
Aims/Objectives and scope of the project:
Creating an understanding of Multi-national managers
Identifying the connection between/with cultural value system and conflict management style
Define how effective management can be attained, by understanding behavioural competencies in working in different nations with different cultures
To propose a higher level of learning for these managers that allow them to develop more and become more aware of cultural, becoming closer to a perfect multi-national manager
The review of relevant literature covers the following area:
‘Culture’, ‘Conflict Management’, and ‘Project Management’ especially focusing on ‘Multicultural Projects’. The literature review of ‘Emotional Intelligence’ and ‘Management Training’ are considered the part of the research.
"The term ‘Emotional Intelligence’ refers to a body of research which recognises a set of personal skills and characteristics as one of the most important determinants of success in the workplace". (Higgs and Dulewicz, 1999).
The literature review from online resources be used to access the journals and websites where these sources provide help in research. Mostly the first priority for research is books, journals, articles etc. However, literary the authorized websites be used to explore the research knowledge about the relevant topics.
Research Methodology and Techniques:
There are several ways to identify data collecting techniques. there are two data obtaining methods:
Primary data can be based upon meeting people who are in such a field of study. It would be essential to speak to managers in such a role where they have the opportunity to see various world cultures and how they operate within such different environments and adapt to circumstances.
Secondary data would tend to come from extensive literature review from books and online sources. Hofstede’s website has bee highly useful in finding data and how to compare the study undertaken with his own work published.
The research part of the dissertation consists of two sections:
Section 1: the literature review
This section consists of secondary research on national culture, conflict management, and the aspects of project management especially multicultural projects. This section would be collected by two main ways i.e. by Organisational Literature and General Literature. Saunders (2003)
Section 2: the field search
This second part of the research based on field exercise. The survey consists of a questionnaire to test an individual’s conflict management style and questions on national culture.
"a survey is a structured sequence of questions designed to draw out facts and opinions and which provides a vehicle for recording data". Hague and Jackson (1997)
The sampling techniques are vastly used in analysing surveys where the probability sample is suited the research as it bases on surveys. at the end of the survey its essential to collect efficient data which helps to make a final decisions of the whole sample frame work.
Especially the timeframe for the survey is very essential to be realised that the survey be done on the right time as soon as possible. The possible threat of loosing time to wait for too long for to gather the efficient feedback from the survey. As the participants of the survey might have different time scales to provide enough and right time to complete the questionnaire and return it on time.
After compiling the result of survey that would follow by the individual interviews arranged on one to one basis by contacting the offices in Scotland, Leeds and near by places. It is a qualitative method, though it consumed much of the time but is an important tool in research for interpreting the main points and issues (Bryman and Bell, 2003).
Quantitative or Qualitative Data:
Quantitative research highly concentrates itself on analysing ideas, concepts or can be attached with information that is numerical that targets possible outcomes. An advantage of quantitative data is its use in testing hypotheses by determining the direction of effects.
"The initial data will explore data using tables and diagrams then the analyses will involve describing the data and exploring relationships using statistics" (Saunders, 2003)
On the other hand qualitative research is oriented towards the opinion of consumers. It concentrates less on statistical measures and analyses reasoning are behind a choice which either agree or disagree.
For both quantitative and qualitative research the method of data preparation and research is basically the same, for data collected from primary and secondary sources.
Qualitative data analysis can be done side by side as data is being collected before hand. It is important that the data interpretation is performed correctly using sufficient techniques and especially related to literature and data collated.
Use of Questionnaires and Interviews:
With reference to Birks & Malhotra (2003), a questionnaire can be classed as a schedule, interview which contains the characteristics of a formal set of questions for obtaining information from the respondent. The use of questionnaires and interviews can be classed as a good technique to extract information from people. The dissertation looks in to the use of surveys which have already been published to follow up on conflict theory suggested by previous authors.
There are several types of questionnaires and interviews that can be used to co-ordinate within the studies undertaken, these are shown below:
1-Mail Questionnaire / Survey,
3-Directed Interview and
4-Informational Interview etc.
There are usually two techniques that associate with sampling known as:
2-Non Probability Sampling
Probability sampling is much associated with surveys, questionnaires and material where data extraction is not chosen at random. There are several techniques that follow the path of probability sampling known a:
Under the other option of non probability the sampling is highly random and tends to focus upon statistical material. Such techniques are:
Reference: Saunders 2000
The research undertaken in this dissertation has considered using quota sampling technique under probability sampling styles.
Time Schedule for Dissertation:
The time schedule set for the dissertation is on weekly bases. The research on each chapter and the time schedule be discussed with supervisor.
The multinational managers work along with employees from different background having different nationalities and cultures. Especially on occasions when they working in multinational projects. Hence they work in different management style and culture to understand the behavioural competencies. The theme behind how can multinational managers learns to handle these issues regarding working with different type of nationalities and cultures. And also multinational manager must be able to handle the conflict constructively.
The businesses around the world are thinking to be internationalise most of the companies expansion strategies are looking to expand their business globally. And taking a advantage of it. The new communication tools and techniques are implemented in the business environment around the world to be multinational or spread the business through out the world. This global concept setting up the companies abroad and put more of the managers in use to manage multicultural and multinational projects. Hence of gaining the full competitive advantage for their companies through these mix of cultural values and ethics.
As along working with different cultures and value systems in different countries around the world from different nationalities and languages having different type of living standards, this increase the disagreement between the employees and the management and also cause a risk for conflict. To handle these issues on a vast level the multinational mangers or project managers must be able to manage conflict using different methods regarding to solve the issue and to affectively manage a team.
The methodology is explained in the proposal and the time scale how to approach the dissertation.
References and Bibliograghy:
Adair, John. (1986).
Effective Teambuilding. Gower Publishing Company Limited, England.
Carper, Wm. Brent, (1998)
Global Business: A Cultural Perspective. Presented to Fifth Research Conference, the American University in Cairo,Available www.trinity.edu/rjensen/cultures/culture.htm , 2005.
Cheung, C C and Chuah, K B., (1999)
Conflict Management Styles in Hong Kong Industries. International Journal of Project Management. 17 (6), 393-399.
Gordon, Cecilia, (1999)
Strategies to Leverage Diversity. (Online.) Available http://www.uscg.mil/diversity/summit/speech3.htm, 2005
Hofstede, G. (2001)
Culture’s Consequences, 2nd Edition: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions,and Organizations across Nations. Sage Publications, England.
Higgs, M and Dulewicz, V. (1999)
Making Sense of Emotional Intelligence. NFER-NELSON Publishing Company Ltd., Windsor.
McSweeney, Brendan, (2000)
The Fallacy of National Culture Identification. Human Relations. 55 (1) 89 0 118.
Soderberg, Anne-Marie and Holden, Nigel, (2002)
Rethinking Cross-Cultural Management in a Globalizing Business World. International Journal of Cross-Cultural Management.
Thomas, David A. and Ely, Robin J. (1996)
Making Differences Matter: A New Paradigm for Managing Diversity. Harvard Business Review, September – October 1996. Reprint Number 96510.
Thomas, Kenneth W., (2002)
Introduction to Conflict Management: Improving Performance Using the TKI. CPP, Inc. Palo Alto, California.
Turner, Rodney J. (1999)
The Handbook of Project-Based Management, Second Edition. The McGraw- Hill Companies.
Saunders, M. Lewis, P. and Thornhil, A. (2003)
Research Methods for Business Studies, 3rd Edition, FT Printice Hall revised