The Role of Ethnicity and Culture in Enhancing Project Success

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The Role of Ethnicity and Culture in Enhancing Project Success

Papa Yaw Attobrah Development and Maintenance Unit University of Mines and Technology

Tarkwa, Ghana

Jawhari Baba-Duah

Directorate of Works and Physical Development University of Development Studies

Tamale, Ghana

Abstract:-The internationalization of projects coupled with innovations in technology has facilitated the collaboration of people from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds to achieve the objective of organizations and businesses. The benefits derived from the use of these multicultural teams is evident in the number of publications that have sought to discuss the subject matter. In spite of the benefits, the use of multicultural teams has been saddled with challenges which have threatened to undermine the successful implementation of projects. It is therefore the aim to this study to investigate and provide insights as to how ethnic and cultural factors inherent in projects could be harnessed to promote successful outcomes.

Through the use of qualitative research methods, a survey of literature that pertains to the subject of ethnicity, cultural influences in projects as well as success in projects were collated and its contents analyzed. Additionally, questionnaires were used to solicit information from an array of project participants from different countries and cultures.

Deductions made from the data indicates that there exists a correlation between successful project outcomes, ethnicity and culture. These are manifest themselves primarily through communication, project leadership,

Project success, it emerged is not a definitive construct but rather a revolving process that in which ethnic and cultural factors play a key role in its determination and subsequent enhancement.

KeywordsComponent; project management; style; styling; insert (key words)

  1. INTRODUCTION

    The internationalization of businesses and organizations has been characterized with the execution of projects that cuts across borders, be they geographic, diverse and pluralistic environments. The execution of these projects by organizations has been associated with increased interaction between a multiplicity of people from diverse backgrounds with differing attitudes, perceptions and understanding. Korkondilas (2011) shares that the execution of projects through the use of project management processes has fostered increased interaction between people from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Anbari et. al. (2004) contends that the use of cross-cultural teams serves as a source of innovation and has the potential of enhancing project success. In spite of the opportunities and competitive advantages that could be derived from the use of multicultural and cross- cultural teams, the heterogeneous nature that characterizes such teams has been a source of derailment for many projects. Elena (2010), Rodriguez and Sbragia (2013), Zwikael (2005) acknowledge that the use of multicultural

    teams has a significant impact in the way projects are perceived and executed, primarily due to the cultural differences.

    Cultural and ethnic issues which had until recently remained a passive aspect of ongoing globalization of projects has become a topic of discussion for many intellectual and organizational executives due to the increased awareness of cultural and ethnic diversity and its subsequent impact on the world stage as well as the ease of information dissemination associated with technological advancements. Cultural and ethnic differences according to Anbari et. al. (2004) plays a major role in the outcomes of multicultural projects as members that constitute the team comes along with value systems with which to cope with the project setting. Invariably, projects in pluralistic environments usually reflect the value systems of the various participants and stakeholders, which if not managed effectively could be a source of project failure. Freeman and Lindsay (2008) for instance, contend that ethnically diverse work environments are usually subject to challenges which if not properly managed may have adverse outcomes. Loosemore et. al. (2012) also shares that divisions associated with cultural differences have the tendency of impacting on performance. Studies by Elena (2010), Globerson et. al. (2005), Anbari et. al. (2004), de Queiroz et. al. (2014) establish that cultural and ethnic factors has a correlation in the successful outcome or otherwise of projects. It is therefore the aim of this research to investigate and analyze how cultural and ethnic diversity impacts on the execution of projects.

    The purpose of this research is to understand how project outcomes are impacted by the ethnicity and culture of the various project participants and how these could be managed to achieve success. The impact of culture on projects have to a certain extent been addressed by Milosevic (1999), Anbari et. al., 2004), Globerson et. al., 2005), Elena (2010) etc. however, these studies have primarily focused on the impact of culture on project management success rather than project outcomes. Similarly, studies pertaining to ethnicity (Moore and Hunt,2013) have been skewed towards addressing gender and racial inequality rather than its impact on project outcomes. Another purpose is to contribute to existing body of knowledge information on how diversity in ethnicity and culture could be harnessed to promote projects success.

  2. DEFINITIONS OF CULTURE

    Socially, culture is a people centered phenomenon that seeks to interpret the action and inactions of people operating within a context or environment. Earlier definitions from authors such as Kluckhohn and Kelly (1945) had historical underpinnings which suggested that culture in general as a descriptive concept means the accumulated treasury of human creation: books, paintings, buildings, and the like; the knowledge ways of adjusting to our surroundings, both human and-physical; language, customs, and systems of etiquette, ethics, religion, and morals that have been built up through the ages. More recent definitions however, have rather focused on simplicity. For instance, Useem & Useem (1963) suggests that culture is the learned and shared behavior of interacting human beings. Damen (1987) also asserts that culture serves as the mechanism through which man adapts to his circumstances. Similarly, Lederach (1995) shares that culture is the set body of knowledge that enables people to cope with the realities around them. Given the above interpretations of culture, it is sufficing to say that culture affords a distinctive interpretation into the actions of people within any given context at a particular time and also provides insight into their general behavior. Despite the varied interpretations of culture cited above, there exist certain levels of commonality that underlies and harmonizes the various definitions:

    • It revolves around people/ its people centered

    • Deals with existential and coping factors

    • It is a collective phenomenon

    • It is dynamic and not static

    People centeredness. In the absence of people, culture cannot exist. Culture takes people to thrive, that is, for culture to prevail, the conduit through which it can be exhibited must be present and that requires the presence of human beings. Schein (1984) appropriately contend that culture is void without the presence of people.

    Presence of Existential and factors. Invariably, inferring from all the definitions of culture it can be deduced that it revolves around people creating a set of guidingprinciples to enable them cope with their environment.

    Projects and their environments comprise of people from diverse behaviors and coping mechanisms which are ultimately transferred to these environments (Anbari et. al., 2004). Henrie and Sousa-Poza (2005) affirms that people bring their cultures to project and adds that projects occur within cultural settings.

    Collective phenomenon. Moore (1980) asserts that without living together, men cannot create culture. Similarly, Zwikael et. al. (2005) shares that culture is a collective phenomenon because it is shared with and among people. Schein (1984) affirms that culture cannot be in existence unless it has ownership and that must be a group. It is therefore sufficed to say that for culture to prevail there must be belonging and ownership that is collective. In effect an individual cannot be said to have developed a culture.

  3. MANIFESTATIONS OF CULTURE IN PROJECTS AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT PROCESSES

    Cultural influences in projects and project management continues to receive widespread attention of many publications and discussions due to the inherent and dynamic challenges that has characterized projects in the era of internationalization and globalization. Henrie and Sousa-Poza (2005) shares that cultural influences in projects and project management has been the subject of many literary discourse due to its consequential impact. Milosevic (1999), Prabhakar (2008) contends that the challenge that has characterized projects in recent times is as a result of the increased interaction of people from diverse backgrounds working together in the project environments. In spite of the significance and widespread research of cultural impacts on projects, Dickson et. al. (2012) mentions that the lack of consensus of various research on the subject of culture in projects will continue to remain debatable. It is in line with these assertions that a literature review of culture in projects is being pursued to contextualize how project success could be enhanced through successful project management.

    Analyzing the influence of culture in projects, Anbari et. al. (2004) asserts that the cultures of project participants are a reflection of what pertains in the project environment. The deployment of project management processes developed in western cultures to other cultures without cognizance to their peculiarity, has been the main source of difficulties for projects in multicultural environments. Even though Anbari et. al. (2004) provides a contextual understanding of cultural influences in projects; the study fails to postulate definitive measures to address how diverse cultures could be managed to ensure success. For instance, Anbari et. al. (2004) suggests that for projects to succeed in multicultural environments, effective leadership, mutual respect, cultural sensitivity, reconciliation etc. must be present. These are all soft skills which according to Elena (2010) is mainly achievable through experience and coaching. The nature, type and timing of multicultural projects may not permit the acquisition of these skills before the commencement of such projects.

    Cultural diversity accounts for the differences that occur in the management of projects of similar nature but in different countries (Zwikael et. al. ,2005). The analysis of cultural differences in projects and project management processes by Zwikael et. al. (2005) is achieved through a comparative study of Israel (western culture) and Japan (eastern culture). The study postulates that the variance in the attitude of project towards the processes of project management can be attributed to their cultural inclinations. For instance, Israeli managers according to the study were found to engage in a less formal communication channels whereas their counterparts from Japan put emphasis on formal communication management. This Zwikael et. al. (2005) explains has roots in their rigid hierarchical agrarian economy that predates the era of their industrialization. The study affirms that there exist differences in the way project managers from the two (2) countries uses project management processes in executing projects and that these could be largely attributed to their cultures. Although the

    studys conclusions were arrived at through the use of questionnaires and the development hypotheses, it considers only an aspect of the project cycle, that is, the planning phase which is not representative of the project life cycle.

    Elena (2010) asserts that culture unconsciously influences the behavior of people and provides insight into their values in multicultural teams. In dealing with the diversity that characterizes pluralistic teams, Elena (2010) shares that the concept of crossvergence and hybridization should be adopted. As part of the efforts aimed at cultural management. This suggests that the issue of culture in projects is a widely acknowledged phenomenon that is worth investigating. Elena (2010) further postulates that the use of a four (4) step framework in order to deal with the challenges that characterizes multicultural project teams:

    1. Learn the definition and different types culture

    2. Understanding the cultural differences

    3. Respect the cultural differences

    4. Enjoy the richness of multicultural teams

      Using previous research and literature as a basis, Elena (2010) promotes the cultural gap tool as another framework that could be used to highlight cultural differences for effective management in projects. The manifestation of cultural differences in projects are adequately addressed by the study, however, it falls short of providing ways in dealing with these differences as the frameworks suggested for adoption are critiqued as too subjective and broad based to address to other aspects of cultural diversity. Another limitation of the study is that it is silent on how culture affects the processes through which projects are managed and its consequential impacts of project outcomes.

      Leadership plays a crucial role in the determination of the outcome of projects (Zwikael et. al, 2005; Elena, 2010). Reaction to and interaction with leadership differs across cultures (Dickson et. al, 2012) thus making it imperative to consider the extent to which it affects projects. Dickson et. al. (2012) contends that the perceptions of leadership by different cultures are an attestation of the influence of cultural factors on management. According to the study, individualistic cultures such as pertains in the U.S. attributes success to leadership and failures as a shared responsibility unlike countries like Japan which have collectivist cultures where success is seen as a shared achievement. Dickson et. al. (2012) articulates the need for cross cultural leaders to be aware of the leadership dimension at the macro and micro level so as to develop the appropriate leadership-follower interaction for effectiveness and success. Significantly, shares that it is important for leaders to be aware and sensitive to the cultures in which they operate in order to derive maximum benefit from followers from followers as culture plays a determining role in the type of leadership to be adopted for managerial success. Even though the findings by Dickson et. al. (2012) does not directly relate to projects; its assertions make it imperative for project managers to be adept at cultural management to ensure the successful delivery of projects.

  4. ETHNICITY AND THE PROJECT ENVIRONMENT Ethnicity remains an elusive phenomenon that has continued to be given varied interpretations in spite of its importance in socio-political and economic construct of world affairs (Hale, 2004; Chaitin et. al., 2009). Ibrahim (2004), Tatar (2011), Saad and Jacob (2012) also share that issues pertaining to ethnic diversity remains challenging and pervasive in the contemporary globalized world. Hale (2004) asserts that ethnicity revolves round identity construction and belonging which enables people build social relationships an navigate the environment. Chaitin et. al. (2009) on the other hand asserts that ethnicity borders on power, hierarchy, stratification etc. and that it is a process of classification and social exclusion which enables a group to relate. Hale (2004) further shares that these identities are dynamic and subject to change and manipulation. The increased use of projects by organizations to achieve their goals has culminated in the construction of new identities by persons involved in order to cope with the dynamics of the new environment (Andersen and Wickelgren, 2009).

    McLeod et. al. (1996) contends that the presence of ethnic diversity has come to remain as a part of internationalization and globalization which is characterized by the use of pluralistic teams. This has necessitated the institution of effective management methods in order to reap the benefits of such teams. McLeod et. al. (1996) further postulates that the benefits and competitive advantages derived from the use of ethnically diverse teams as opposed to homogenous ones have empirically been proven. Through the use of experimental investigation, McLeod et. Al. (1996) establishes that ethnically diverse teams have the tendency to provide higher quality and output on projects than homogenous ones. Invariably, the study provides affirmation that ethnicity impacts on project outcomes if effectively managed.

    Ethnicity, according to Giuliano and Ransom (2011) in one way or the other plays a key role in the ethnic composition of employees. According to the study, the ethnicity of the manger influenced the employee composition. This was achieved through the employment process of an organization with multiple stores throughout the U.S. It was observed that people with certain ethnic composition were more suited to carry out certain tasks. For instance, in the UAE where the workforce is predominantly of diverse Asian descent, most of the conflicts that arise within the project setting could be ascribed to the perceived misconception that people of a certain ethnic grouping are more suited to certain tasks (Ambika, ND). This affirms Chaitin et. al.s (2009) assertion that irrespective of the environment and context of operation certain attributes that are ascribed to certain ethnic origins continue to remain so. These assertions corroborate studies by Cox et. al. (1991) who share that ethnic group behaviors has a direct correlation to their cultural backgrounds and postulate that ethnic group diversity to an extent influences aspect of behavior in teams. Freeman and Lindsay (2012) in their study of Australian managers in Malaysia acknowledge that without proper assimilation, these managers have the tendency to suffer due to dissimilarity in the ethnic composition of their new environment. In spite of attempts that organizations have attached to the integration of pluralistic teams, the psycho-demographic composition of

    people has created an invisible barrier that has presented their assimilation. Queiroz et. al. (2014) opines that the performance of project managers with certain psych- demographic traits were likely to suffer prejudice and discrimination based on the local context of their projects. Projects are acknowledged to assume the culture of local environments and given the ethnic heterogeneity of teams required to execute them, Freeman and Lindsay (2012), Queiroz et. al. (2014) postulates the development of mechanisms that enables project team members and project managers to assimilate, modify habits and adjust to the ethnic requirements of their project locations in order to achieve their objectives since they are temporary. Although Freeman and Lindsay (2012) provides insight into how diversity in ethnic backgrounds can impact on the performance of managers, the study focuses on a singular context and as such cannot provide a basis for generalization as issues of ethnicity are contextualized and localized.

  5. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

    This research explores and provide meaning into how the combined factors of ethnicity and culture could be harnessed to influence project outcomes. Since the aim of the research is to understand a social phenomenon, a Qualitative Research Approach is adopted to obtain an in-depth understanding and interpretation of the phenomenon. Easterby-Smith et.al. (2012) affirms that issues that borders on human behavior and social interaction are better understood through Qualitative Research as it provides insight into people's experiences and explanations for their actions and inactions. Rajasekar et. al. (2006) also shares that studies that pertains to managerial and social issues are better understood through qualitative means as it borders on human behavior and social interaction which cannot be quantified. Labaree (2009), Golafshani (2003) affirms that the use of qualitative research enables a better interpretation of real-world experiences in "context specific settings" where the phenomenon of interest would not be subjected to manipulation. The study seeks to contribute relevant knowledge and provide basis for replication in other studies and as such compares with the methodologies adopted for previous studies. Inferences from methodologies adopted for previous studies concerning the phenomenon of culture, ethnicity and success in projects such as Milosevic (1999), Zwikael et. al. (2005), Shore and Cross (2005), Javidan et. al. (2006), Prabhakar et. al. (2008), Chaitin et. al. (2009), Elena (2010), Giuliano and Ransom (2011), Loosemore et. al. (2012), Rodrigues and Sbragia (2013) revealed that qualitative methodologies were utilized. To achieve the aim of the study semi structured interviews were used and sample population determined through snowball sampling in order to obtain characteristics inherent within a specific population.

    In order to affirm the responses consistency with existent studies, relevant inferences were made from existent literature through literature survey. An analysis of their content as well as an analysis of the historical patterns of success, ethnicity and culture in projects were carried out in order to provide the requisite information for this study

  6. RESULTS

    A total of ten (15) respondents engaged in various projects were interviewed. This aligns with the assertion of Bengtsson (2016) that for studies that employs the use of qualitative research, data from sample population of 1-30 respondents are sufficient suffice that there is confidence that the research questions would be adequately addressed. A summary of key respondents is shown in Table 1 below.

    TABLE 1. KEY RESPONDENTS INFORMATION

    6

    Interviewee Code

    Key Respondents Information

    Expertise

    Industry

    Work Experience

    Respondent 1 (R1)

    Project Manager

    Engineering and Construction

    5

    Respondent 2 (R2)

    Software Developer

    Information Technology

    3

    Respondent 3 (R3)

    Medical Researcher

    Health

    9

    Respondent 4 (R4)

    Electrical Engineer

    Mining

    13

    Respondent 5 (R5)

    Community and media Relations

    Mining

    15

    Respondent 6 (R6)

    Consultant

    Business and professional services

    7

    Respondent 7(R7)

    Underwriter

    Insurance

    2

    Respondent 8 (R8)

    Hardware Technician

    Information Technology

    9

    Respondent 9 (R9)

    Biomedical Research

    Health

    10

    Respondent 10 (R10)

    Architect

    Engineering and Construction

    Respondent 11 (R11)

    Lecturer

    Education

    5

    Respondent 12 (R12)

    Marketer

    Retail

    10

    Respondent 13 (R13)

    Quantity Surveyor

    Engineering and Construction

    5

    Respondent 14 (R14)

    Pediatrician

    Health

    10

    Respondent 15 (R15)

    Public Relations

    Management and consultancy

    3

    1. Source: Authors Fieldwork

      Based on the responses received from the semi-structured open ended interview questions, their thematic content within the context of the questions is shown in Table 2 below.

      Thematic Content Analysis

      Category

      Thematic Content

      Theme Criteria

      Ethnicity in projects

      Influences

      Impact on outcomes

      Cultural influences in projects

      • Ethics

      • Communication

      • Attitudes

      • Context

      • Perspectives/ outlook

      • Management style

      • Leadership

      • Organizational Culture

      Thematic Content Analysis

      Category

      Thematic Content

      Theme Criteria

      Ethnicity in projects

      Influences

      Impact on outcomes

      Cultural influences in projects

      • Ethics

      • Communication

      • Attitudes

      • Context

      • Perspectives/ outlook

      • Management style

      • Leadership

      • Organizational Culture

      TABLE 2. THEMATIC CONTENT ANALYSIS

  7. DISCUSSIONS

    1. Source: Authors Fieldwork

      derailment due to the people and communication factor which invariably can be traced to cultural influences.

      Thematic Content Analysis

      Category

      Thematic Content

      Theme Criteria

      Project Success

      Interpretation

      Determinants

      • Technical Performance

      • Cyclical Process

      • Subjective (perspective)

      • Leadersh ip

      • Multifac eted

      • Collectiv e

      • Contextu alization

      Thematic Content Analysis

      Category

      Thematic Content

      Theme Criteria

      Project Success

      Interpretation

      Determinants

      • Technical Performance

      • Cyclical Process

      • Subjective (perspective)

      • Leadersh ip

      • Multifac eted

      • Collectiv e

      • Contextu alization

      The impact of culture on project implementation is aptly summed up by Henrie and Sousa-Poza (2005) that People and their culture is an area that is common to all projects. Also, Anbari et. al. (2004) contends that project teams share the cultures of their society and further states that this could be a source of creativity or difficulty. Admittedly, an insight into the cultures of the project team provides insight into the expected operation of a project during its life cycle.

      C. Project Success

      1. Ethnicity Influences On Project Implementation

        Projects by their nature occur within contextual environments where communication, leadership, issue resolution, etc. play key roles in its execution as evidenced from the respondents. For instance, R2 posits that on construction projects people from particular ethic groupings tend to possess similar artisanal skills and therefore control certain tasks which can impact project outcomes. R1 contends that the ethnicity of project participants tends to correlate to their work ethics. This assertion is affirmed by McLeod et. al. (1996) who mentions that organizational and team cultures tend to evolve from the ethnic orientation of stakeholders. R7 indicates that the innate values that a person carries to a project setting is normally influenced by their ethnic background. Saad and Jacob (2012) in affirming the influence of ethnicity in a collective endeavor shares that there is ease in manipulating outcomes desired of people when their allegiance is to a particular ethnic grouping. R5 also asserts that in order to manage ethnicity within the project environment, team meetings are organized with specific groups at specific times to avoid misconceptions and communication gaps.

        Significantly, the power of ethnicity in projects has a correlation to some of the major upheavals that have characterized the world. Björn (1993) shares that ethnicity has been the major ingredient that has either aided in success or otherwise of major conflicts that have plagued the world such as Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Liberia.

      2. Cultural Influences On Project Implementation

    The thinking, behavior and action of project team members is a reflection of their culture (Ochieng and Price, 2010). Respondents were unanimous in their assertions that the cultural background of project managers had a direct had a direct influence on their management style. Zwikael et. al. (2005) corroborates that cultural differences influences the implementation of project management procedures and management style of project managers. R3 for instance, shares that national cultures have an overbearing influence on project environments irrespective of its team composition. Similarly, R4 and R5 posits that cultural practices of a project location cannot be overlooked as projects have to conform to certain acceptable norms in order to get the consent of stakeholders. R7 on the other hand shares that to get the buy-in of stakeholders, its cultural implication has to be considered as part of the project conception. Dicenza and Forman (2007) posits that majority of projects suffer

    An agreeable interpretation of project success could not be derived from respondents as their responses were varied and contextualized. This is consistent with existent literature such as Prabhakar (2008) who shares that project success remains an elusive concept that has been characterized by many interpretations as a result of the differences in the way that different stakeholders perceive it. R1 and R5 for instance, interprets project success in terms of its ability to meet its technical specification. R3, R6, R8 explain project success in terms of the perceived satisfaction to be derived by stakeholders and end-users. R2, R13 and R15 shares that project success has been difficult to establish due to the temporal and evolving nature of projects. R10 and R11 mentions that project success is a cyclical process that is subject to the view point of the stakeholder assessing their interest at any point of the project process. Another perspective of project success that evolved from respondents is that it varies with time, that is,

    Another perspective of success is that it should be project specific as the objectives, nature, type for their initiation is varied.

    In spite of an agreeable definition of project success, there was consensus that the criteria for the determination of success can be categorized into three (3) broad groupings, that is:

    1. Factors related to the project (internal)

    2. Factors related to people

    3. Factors related to the environment (external)

      These provide a basis for th evaluation of success irrespective of the nature, size and context of the project. The factors related to the project were enumerated as the scope, budget, time, management or organization and the goals. For instance, R15 explains that with definitive scope a project is expected to meet its goal and desired outcomes.

      The people factor as shared by R15, R5, R14 and R12 are the human elements that constitutes the project setting. R7 and R13 contend that these elements are the managerial experiences, skills, communication channels used in driving the project. R14 articulates that projects are executed and delivered through people and ultimately the success or otherwise is dependent on their combined influences.

      The environmental factors that influence project outcomes are the elements over which project actors exercise no control.

      They are the political, economic, legal, social and technological factors that impact on project outcomes.

      Another deduction is that project success is not a static or singular event but rather a continual process that requires

      evaluation from different stakeholders at different stages in the life cycle of a project.

  8. CONCLUSIONS

The spread of information technology and the growth of a global economy has culminated in a social transformation that has redefined the norms surrounding business relationships and the implementation of projects. It is evident from the discussions as well as existent literature that culture and ethnicity manifest through human actions exhibited in the implementation of projects. Culture and ethnicity viewed as an aggregation of human actions affects the behavior and subsequently thought patterns, expectations, attitudes, and interrelations of individuals engaged on projects. Jetu et. al. (2011), Henrie and Sousa-Poza (2005) affirms that these actions have considerable influence in the implementation of projects as it accounts for the drive and direction of the project environment. The study indicates that communication both verbal and nonverbal serves as the main vehicle through which culture and ethnic factors are exhibited. Delisle and Thomas (2002), Eberlein (2008), Ochieng and Price (2010) affirms the importance of communication in achieving project success as well as managing cross cultural teams for success. Another objective of the study was to determine how cultural and ethnic factors present in projects can be harnessed to enhance project success. Cultural and ethnic factors are manifestations of individual behaviors which characterizes the actions inherent in team and task behaviors. The practice of acquiring and sharing knowledge relates to task behaviors which are the technical requirements needed to achieve project outcomes whilst team behaviors constitute the social relationships through which projects are accomplished. For project success to be achieved, the team needs to share and speak a common technical language through collaboration and mutual respect. An understanding and handling of factors such as self-centeredness, defensiveness, information retention which are culturally driven and tend to undermine task and team behaviors in the development of ideas and solutions are crucial in enhancing project outcomes.

It is evident from the study that; project success could be enhanced through the efficient management of ethnicity and culture by:

    1. Developing a contextualized project culture unique to the requirements of the project.

      Projects are by their nature transient and so are the relationships that characterizes its participants. Culture is learned, shared, dynamic, adaptable and susceptible to change which makes it less of a challenge to devise strategies geared at modifying behaviors of project participants to suit the objectives of projects within its time frame.

    2. Development of contextualized strategies for cross cultural management.

      Existing strategies for managing cross cultural differences tends to be generalized and focused on the managerial competencies of the project manager which when absent becomes a challenge for project outcomes. A more practical and contextualized approach that seeks to understand human actions, lived experiences, communicative relating, identity construction and managerial action situated within the limits of a project environment is required to effectively deal with

      cross cultural issues. This is expected to generate project specific strategies required to achieve successful outcomes.

    3. Establishment of multicultural project success criteria for the evaluation of the outcomes throughout the life cycle of the project.

The notion of project success has evolved from the use of the traditional approach of cost, time and scope to include the subjective elements of people involvement. The acknowledgement of the people dimension as a significant measure of success affirms the importance of ethnicity and culture in ensuring successful project outcomes. To achieve a holistic perspective of success in projects, a multicultural approach that considers the various facets of the human factor in projects should be adopted.

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