Friday, April 20, 2012

Political and Cultural Awareness Skills in Project Management

Organizational politics are inevitable in project environments due to the diversity in norms, backgrounds and expectations of the people involved with a project. The skillful use of politics power helps the project manager to be successful. Conversely, ignoring or avoiding project politics and inappropriate use of power can lead to difficulty in managing projects.

Today project managers operate in a global environment, and many projects exist in an environment of cultural diversity. By understanding and capitalizing on cultural differences, the project management team is more likely to create an environment of mutual trust and a win/win atmosphere. Cultural differences can be both individual and corporate in nature and may both internal and external stakeholders. An effective way to manage this cultural diversity is through getting to know the various team members and the use of good communication planning as part of the overall project plan.

Culture at a behavioral level includes those behaviors and expectations that occur independently of geography, ethnic heritage, or common and disparate languages. Culture can impact the speed of working, the decision-making process, and the impulse to act without appropriate planning. This may lead to conflict and stress in some organizations, thereby affecting the performance of project managers and project teams.

Source: Project Management of Body Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)

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