Managing client and workforce culture
the real diversity issue for project managers
In the multicultural workforce of today's global economy, cultural factors play an increasingly important role. This article draws on the work of Fons Trompenaars who, in Riding the Waves of Culture (1994), defined culture as the way in which a group solves problems and outlined some of the way that Western managers must understand and adapt to a culturally diverse workforce. Among some of the topics discussed are the need to understand the importance of relationships in particularistic cultures, avoiding 'one size fits all' management approaches, using cultural skills and viewpoints to advantage, and understanding the cultural attitudes toward time when scheduling meetings and deliverables. With the right understanding, cultural diversity can be leveraged to everyone's advantage.