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Managing Cultural Knowledge in Project Execution

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication10th International Forum on Knowledge Asset Dynamics, IFKAD 2015, Bari, Italy
Subtitle of host publicationCulture, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: connecting the knowledge dots
Place of PublicationBary
PublisherIKAM Centro Studi & Ricerche
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)978-88-96687-07-9
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational Forum on Knowledge Asset Dynamics -
Duration: 1 Jan 1900 → …

Publication series

ISSN (Print)2280-787X


ConferenceInternational Forum on Knowledge Asset Dynamics
Period1/01/00 → …


The purpose of this study was to explore the factors through which the project implementation phase could be enhanced by cultural knowledge. The importance of studying this subject is that the exploitation of cultural knowledge (Hofstede & Hofstede 2005, Schwartz 1999, Ng et al. 2006, Hall 1976, Lewis 2006) and competence (Koskinen 2001) is still limited in the constantly increasing project-based business (Turner 1999, Artto et al. 2011, PMBOK 2004) in the international field. Two objectives exist in this study: understanding project complexity through the main challenges in project implementation and evaluating the impacts of the cultural factors behind them.We propose the multiple case study approach (Eisenhard & Graebner 2007, Yin 2014). The prominence of cultural knowledge in project implementation is difficult to determine, so the research design has exploratory features. Case project A was implemented in Sub- Saharan Africa and Case project B in the Near East. Interviewed managers worked either from distance and only visited the target country periodically or represented the perspective of an operational level manager working in the host country. The main cultural challenges that occurred in the projects are defined by these interviewees.This methodology gives evidence of the main challenges in the two case projects and clarifies the multiplicity of cultural issues in the project context. The importance of thesubject was highlighted and the interviewed managers demonstrated that cultural knowledge can offer benefits. Numerous studies exist concerning the challenges in the project business (Deresky 2014, Turner 1999).The outcomes of the research stressed the uniqueness of projects and the situational need for cultural knowledge. The results highlighted the pervasive nature of culture in the international playing field. Companies are obliged to adjust their operations according to environments with multifaceted requirements. National cultures not only prevail within the borders of geographical areas, but are also reflected in company procedures. Therefore, their overall impact needs to be considered in international projects.


  • Project management, Cultural Knowledge, Project execution, Developing country, Multicultural projects

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