Cross-Border Project Management

„Let me start by defining what I mean by globalization. At its broadest, we are talking about the integration of the world economy. I used the word shrinking in the title of my talk. That is what, in a real sense, globalization means. We are talking about a world benefiting from rapidly falling transport and communications costs, thanks to technological progress, combined with sharply rising trade flows thanks to trade liberalization. These forces have led increasingly to world markets driving down prices to consumers and constituting a major engine of economic growth.“

Anne O. Krueger, Economic Growth in a Shrinking World: The IMF and Globalization (1)

In the shrinking world of business, cross-border project management is fast becoming a standard practice for companies of all sizes. Even small businesses across a variety of sectors are reaching across borders to communicate with colleagues on the other side of the world using real-time audiovisual communication and even online translation tools.

While technology has provided the means to remove many linguistic barriers, such increased cross-cultural contact creates a greater potential for both conflict and cooperation. In this rapidly changing environment, the ability to relate to people coming from different cultural backgrounds is an essential skill for international project managers.

Cross-border projects introduce multiple challenges. Your international clients and colleagues may not necessarily follow the same work pattern that you are accustomed to, or prioritize work in the same way. They may not accept the same level of formality and hierarchy in their business dealings. They may prefer less or more silence in conversation than you are used to, or may be more or less comfortable with raising concerns. Nationality even influences the amount of flexibility and uncertainty your clients and colleagues are comfortable with.

Culture does play a major role in how we behave or act and that cannot be changed. For a cross-border project to be successful, project managers need to learn how to make it work for everyone involved.

At klimeck consulting, we have a wealth of experience managing projects across cultures and languages. Whether you are trying to expand your market, or implement an international research project, let us assist you in breaking down the barriers to your success.