Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine challenges faced by senior construction managers in managing cross‐cultural complexity and uncertainty. The rationale was to identify the key strategies that are considered essential for managing cross‐cultural complexity and uncertainty. Design/methodology/approach – Interviews with 20 senior construction managers, ten in Kenya and ten in the UK, were recorded, transcribed and entered into the qualitative research software NVivo. Validity and reliability were achieved by first assessing the plausibility in terms of already existing knowledge on some of the cultural issues raised by participants. The findings were presented to the participants through workshops and group discussions. Findings – The emerging key issues suggested that project leaders need to learn how to control their own characteristics and to use them selectively. An effective multicultural construction project team should focus on team output and attributes that characterise a multicultural team as a social entity. Practical implications – Findings indicate that the role of construction project managers has significantly changed over the past two decades. In order to deal with cross‐cultural uncertainty, project leaders must have superior multicultural and interpersonal skills when managing global multicultural heavy engineering projects. Originality/value – The research shows that leaders of global construction project teams need a good understanding of their culture, environment and the value of their individual contributions.
Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 26, 2013
Keywords: Cultural complexity; Cross‐cultural uncertainty; Multicultural integration; Cross‐cultural management; Construction industry; Kenya; United Kingdom
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