Learning from cross-cultural problems in international projects: A Chinese case

Xiao, H. and Boyd, D. (2010) Learning from cross-cultural problems in international projects: A Chinese case. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 17 (6). pp. 549-562. ISSN 09699988 (ISSN)

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Abstract

Purpose - Globalisation means that more and more construction projects involve participants from different cultural backgrounds. Besides the obvious language barrier, people may also have different faiths, assumptions and behaviour norms which can and do cause conflicts. This challenges previous approaches and is creating a new context for the construction industry. This research aims to explore how practitioners can work more effectively in cross-cultural situations. Design/methodology/approach - The paper uses real-life experience and personal construct theory to understand the problems in interpretation, communications, emotion and trust. It uses methods of participatory action research and experiential research, and an analysis based on dialogue and reflection between the researchers with different cultural backgrounds. Findings - The paper concludes that, to work effectively in cross-cultural situations, one needs to work with one's personal constructs and pay more attention to informal communications. It is also necessary to recognise and deal with emotions explicitly. It is very important yet difficult to build and maintain trust in cross-cultural cooperation. Research limitations/ implications - This approach inevitably brings some personal or even biased subjective judgement on certain cultural phenomena. There are others involved who do not have a voice. Practical implications - The research provides a new approach to facilitate practitioners to tackle the problems of cross-cultural projects. Originality/value - The paper applies personal construct theory to cross-cultural analysis using a novel methodology of cross-cultural dialogue. This develops a practical approach to situations and establishes the importance of emotion in cross-cultural cooperation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: China, Cross cultural studies, Internatinal cooperation, Management effectiveness, Project management, China, Construction projects, Cross-cultural projects, Cross-cultural study, Cultural analysis, Cultural backgrounds, Design/methodology/approach, Globalisation, Informal communication, Internatinal cooperation, International projects, Language barriers, Management effectiveness, New approaches, Novel methodology, Participatory action research, Subjective judgement, Construction industry, Project management, Research
Subjects: K900 Others in Architecture, Building and Planning
L300 Sociology
Divisions: UoA Collections > UoA16: Architecture, Built Environment and Planning
Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment
Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment > School of Engineering and the Built Environment
Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment > School of Engineering and the Built Environment > Integrated Design Construction
Depositing User: Yasser Nawaz
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2016 13:29
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2016 13:29
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/2789

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