Culture and Conflict Management Style of International Project Managers

Umar K. Mohammed, Gareth RT White, Guru P. Prabhakar

Abstract


The management of culture has become increasingly important to many organisations and business disciplines, particularly multicultural and international project management. Cultural differences often result in varying degrees of conflict and require careful consideration. This study surveys 116 Project Managers using the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument to determine their approach toward managing conflict. Indian, French and UK Project Managers’ conflict management style are correlated with Hofstede’s description of their cultural characteristics. We find that significant links between the cultural dimensions of Individualism and Masculinity with the propensity for Project Managers to adopt a Competitive style of conflict management. We also find Uncertainty Avoidance correlates with a tendency for Project Managers to adopt an Avoiding approach to conflict management. Other relationships are found between Hofstede’s cultural dimensions and conflict management styles in Project Managers but their meaning requires further study.

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International Journal of Business and Management   ISSN 1833-3850 (Print)   ISSN 1833-8119 (Online)

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