Lev­er­ag­ing di­ver­sity

The Smart Manager - - Project Management -

As or­gan­i­sa­tions em­brace greater cul­tural di­ver­sity in the work­place and em­ploy­ees are in­creas­ingly re­quired to work in teams, the im­pact of di­ver­sity on team ef­fec­tive­ness has clear im­pli­ca­tions for busi­ness. 1 An in­ter­cul­tural work en­vi­ron­ment could lead to con­flicts that can ad­versely af­fect project out­comes. One of the ways this can be avoided is by de­vel­op­ing an in­te­grated cul­ture.

There have been nu­mer­ous stud­ies on the in­flu­ence of in­di­vid­ual cul­tures on the per­for­mance of project teams and the suc­cess of these projects. But the in­flu­ence of var­ied cul­tures on the out­come and suc­cess of projects is less stud­ied. An in­ter-cul­tural in­ter­ac­tion model will en­able project man­agers to man­age dif­fer­ent di­men­sions of cul­ture within the team and take ap­pro­pri­ate de­ci­sions and ac­tions for bet­ter re­sults.

Geert Hof­st­ede’s cul­tural di­men­sions

Geert Hof­st­ede is for many the most well-known the­o­rist on na­tional cul­ture. His re­search was based on em­ploy­ees of IBM. He con­ducted an ini­tial study of the com­pany’s em­ploy­ees in the 1960s and con­tin­ued it for thirty years. To­day, this sur­vey cov­ers over 72 coun­tries, and over 116,000 re­spon­dents from IBM.


Hof­st­ede iden­ti­fied cul­ture to be a men­tal pro­gram­ming of the mind. Ev­ery per­son car­ries within him/her pat­terns of think­ing, feel­ing, and po­ten­tial act­ing, which were learned through­out their life­time. He


iden­ti­fied three lay­ers of men­tal pro­gram­ming—in­di­vid­ual, col­lec­tive, and uni­ver­sal—based on which he con­structed his ‘Cul­ture Tri­an­gle’.


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