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Project Manager : Project Manager Dec Jan 2013
A seat at Asia's table The rise of Asia is demanding that project managers develop their cultural expertise if they are to compete for a piece of this lucrative market. IN DEPTH Over the course of this century, Asia will have a profound impact on the rest of the world. e change will be felt commercially, culturally and socially -- and it will ar rive quickly. By 2020, China is estimated to have more middle class consumers than the rest of the world combined. For Australia, and the organisations that operate here, closer ties with Asia will be an increasingly common theme. Asian partners will be ever more present in mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, new market entry as well as o shoring. ANZ, Jetstar and Rio Tinto are a few organisations that have taken deliberate steps to grow their business throughout Asia, and many other companies are following suit. In late October, the Federal Government released its Australia in the Asian Century white paper. It will be an important statement on the impact of Asia on Australia and should act as an impetus for project managers to consider their roles in the Asian century, particularly the cultural implications of working in those roles. Cultural awareness ere is as much diversity in China as there is in Europe in ter ms of di erences in language, culture and cuisine. When you add all the other countries within Asia, you get a complex maze of cultures, langu ages and assumptions. e good news is that there are some consistent patterns in easter n culture that give us a clue as to how to ex our mindset and behaviours. ese di erences to western culture have been highlighted in a number of studies, including those w ritten by researchers Geert Hofstede, Edward Hall, and Fons Trompenaars. While most of these studies are generalisations, they are a great source of information. According to Hofstede's study, there are several dimensions that allow us to di erentiate between cultures: • Power distance: e degree to which hierarchy, level or status is accepted in a society. • Individualism versus collectivism: e degree to which individuals take care of themselves (or family) versus the degree to which individuals expect members of a group to look after them. • Masculinity versus femininity: e degree to which assertiveness and material reward is valued (masculinity) versus the degree to which co-operation and modesty is valued (femininity). • Uncertainty avoidance: e degree to which the members of a society feel comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity. • Long-ter m versus short-term orientation: e degree to which members of a society focus on short-ter m outcomes versus the longer term and ongoing traditions. ese intercultural di erences are a per vasive and complex part of day-to-day life. Often, when we are so focused on our daily work, we can miss small cultural di erences. Silent disagreement, for example, may go unnoticed for extended periods of time. For project managers involved in planning, risk management and in uencing stakeholders, all of these dimensions play an important role. Strategic sensitivity If you're working on a project in Asia, don't dive straight into the detail. Consider the culture and develop a strategy that is mindful of the cultural di erences. is way you are much more likely to succeed from the start. When managing stakeholders, be conscious of the importance of collectivism, hierarchy and long-term orientation. Ensure you are engaging all impacted stakeholders and remember that your relationship is not only about work. Make PETER SZILAGY LEAD CPPD AND MAIPM Peter Szilagyi spent a decade working and living in Asia, including Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore, and working with virtual teams in India, China, Japan and Korea. He was previously the Asia Pacific Diversity Manager for Hewlett-Packard and is currently a candidate within the University of Melbourne's Asialink Leaders Program. 14 Project Manager
Project Manager Oct Nov 2012
Project Manager Feb Mar 2013