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Understanding Culture for International Projects


Submitted By collegemom13
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Introduction With the initiation of global economy comes an increased interaction between people of different countries and an increase in the need to deal with cultural differences. Thus, there must be an understanding of how the international project will affect people and how people will affect the project. This requires an understanding of economic, demographic, educational, ethical, ethnic, religious, and other characteristic of the people for whom the project affects or who have an interest in the project (Egeland, 2011). Today’s projects have dramatically increased in complexity, which requires a culturally and functionally diverse mix of individuals who must be assimilated into an effective unit – a project team. In order for the project to succeed it will be predicated upon the effectiveness of teamwork during all phases of the project life cycle (Knutson, J, 2001). Therefore, it is critical that organizations involved in international projects take into consideration “cultural risk”, which, if not consciously recognized may lead to ineffectiveness and in some cases prove to be very costly (Sennara & Hartman, 2002). Therefore, it must be understood that the most crucial element in international projects is “culture” (PM Hut, 2012).
What is Culture? “Culture” refers to a way of life for a group or community that practices and shares values and common experiences that shapes the way in which the group or community understands the world. These values and practices are learnt through social interactions and distinguish a group or community from each other. It is a learned way of life that is shared by a group of people, which includes their language, norms, values, religion and beliefs, social collectives, status, role in society, cultural integration, traditions, artistic expressions, the arts, sports, government, etc. It is the single most

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