International Project Manager Training Plan - Persuasive Report

Topics: Project management, Culture, Cross-cultural communication Pages: 8 (1494 words) Published: June 15, 2014
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Abstract
This paper outlines a recommended training plan that will provide the experience and exposure necessary for Project Managers who will be working with a culture different than their own. This strategic plan addresses the need for the International Project Manager to gain exposure to the new organization that he is joining in addition to thorough exposure to the culture with which he will be working. Finally, emphasis is placed on building a support system for the International Project Manager that consists of tenured PMs, language support and senior leadership.

Keywords: international communication; project management; intercultural communication; training

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The essence of culture is not what is visible on the surface. It is the shared ways of groups of people understand and interpret the world. These differing interpretations that cultures give to their environment are critical influences on the interactions between working and managing across cultures. – L. Hoecklin: Managing cultural differences: Strategies for competitive advantage In order for a Project Manager to effectively manage a project that requires intercultural interaction and communication, it is critical that he is provided with a solid foundation that introduces him not only to the project and desired outcomes but also to the culture with which he will be working. The recommended training plan included here will provide the experience and exposure necessary for successful project management. Before examining how best to prepare to Project Managers for international projects, it is important to understand how successful intercultural interaction occurs. Intercultural communication, or the communication that occurs between two people of differing cultures, has many layers. Prior to the communication even occurring, each person brings his or her own constructs that exist as a result of the culture one is a part of. These schemata, or mental categories that humans create in order to make sense of the world around them, are fluid ideas that can begin as assumptions and grow with continued exposure. (Varner & Beamer, 2011, p. 36) This means that an initial perception that one may have about a different culture, while important, can be developed through additional exposure and education. Once two people begin an interaction, each individual also contributes his or her own experiences, values, demeanor and language. (Yiu & Saner, 2007, p. 191-219) These driving forces can cause one interaction to be perceived in multiple different ways depending on the backgrounds of each individual. Understanding the delicate nature of communication cross-culturally and how it can be strengthened by exposure to and education about the different culture provides insight in

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to the importance of effectively trained Project Managers who can avoid unintentional missteps as a result of the communication’s complexity.
Due to the critical nature of the role of International Project Managers, it is important to invest in their success through a 3 step phased introduction to both the role of International Project Manager as well as the culture with which they will be engaging. Phase 1: XYZ Cultural Immersion

Location: Corporate Office
Attendees: New PM; Training Manager, Employee Relations/HR Manager; Hiring Manager
Duration: 1 to 4 weeks, depending on project complexity
Details: There are two cultures into which new International Project Managers will need to be integrated – XYZ Corporate Culture and the International Culture for which they will be leading. The purpose of Phase 1 is to integrate the PM in to XYZ culture. Throughout this 1 to 4 week phase, the PM...

References: Hoecklin, L. (1995) . Managing Cultural Differences, Strategies for Competitive
Advantage
Varner, I. & Beamer, L. (2011) . Intercultural Communication in the Global Workplace.
Yiu, L. & Saner, R. (2007) . Witkin’s Cognitive Styles and Field Theory Applied to the
Study of Global Managers and OD Practitioners
http://www.emeraldinsight.com/books.htm?chapterid=1758899
Gale Group (2013)
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