Title: Project management 'East' and 'West': findings and reflections

Authors: Svein Arne Jessen

Addresses: Norwegian School of Management, Nydalsveien 37, 0484 Oslo, Norway

Abstract: Although the project approach seems to have successfully reached every corner of the world with its goal-directed, result-oriented ambition, its influence varies. In some cultures, this approach fits extremely well in the sense that its combined effort to fulfil business desires and master limits to given resources meshes well with fast-tracking, result-focused thinking. In other cultures, different project values may be equally important such as building knowledge, achieving personal ambitions and supporting effective team processes. This paper explores some of these differences through an explorative study of how the project approach is received and used in a Western culture such as Norway and an Eastern culture such as China. The data gathering was done through a questionnaire built on the European Quality Award Model. The main conclusion reached is that the project approach has a clear and positive impact in both cultures in almost all areas studied. In some areas, however, opinions differed, thus allowing room for thought on how to better utilise the project concept. In particular, there were differences in the two cultures' respective views on how projects influenced public enterprises compared to private businesses, and how the impact differed when the focus was on 'upstream-', 'downstream-' and 'results-oriented' issues. Instead, one should grasp the best from each individual culture and search for one's own 'best practice'.

Keywords: project influence; cultural differences; public companies; private companies; upstream factors; downstream factors; project results; project management; project approach; goal-directed ambitions; result-oriented ambitions; business desires; given resources; fast-tracking; result-focused thinking; project values; knowledge building; personal ambition; effective processes; team processes; Western cultures; Norway; Eastern cultures; European Quality Award Model; public enterprises; private businesses; best practice; Chinese culture; Chinese management; China.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCCM.2012.046032

International Journal of Chinese Culture and Management, 2012 Vol.3 No.2, pp.188 - 216

Received: 15 Apr 2011
Accepted: 10 Jan 2012

Published online: 17 Dec 2014 *

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