International project management

Most members of international project teams expect logistic, legal, admin or financial issues to disrupt a smooth running of their project. Besides, an ability of the project team members to deal with cultural diversity within the team is another major factor influencing their (lack of) success: culture influences their expectations of the acquisition, risk management, planning, communication or meeting management.

Some of the challenges faced by international project teams with a high degree of cultural diversity (as well as with potential geographical dislocation and distinctions between organisational cultures), as opposed to regular teams:

  • missing cohesion - sense of belonging;
  • varying expectations of own decisionmaking authority and of processes aimed at keeping stakeholders ‚in the loop';
  • disputes over internal processes, such as the tools (e-mails, face-to-face, conference calls) or frequency of communication, over agreement on the language or demeanor in meetings;
  • decreasing motivation;
  • initially approved processes and rules which are incompatible with local cultural specifics and priorities;
  • the sharing of information while ensuring that the shared information is understood;
  • varying needs regarding the transfer of experience from the project back to own work.

Therefore: what can a team do in each stage of an international project in order to remain functional?

schéma - interkulturní project management