Introduction With women more and more women going defying traditional stereotypes, women are more educated as compared to 50 years ago. This means that women can work in any sector they wish to work. Also, cultural diversity plays an important role in businesses, especially in today’s world where technology is at its peak and people can move from one part of the world to the other. We can meet people from different part of the world and from all walks of life. This allows businesses to learn from everyone, bring forth innovative ideas and ability to penetrate new regions and markets. Whilst cultural diversity is a great way to connect, it also poses other challenges also within a project management environment.
This dissertation will aim to explore whether gender and cultural diversity leads to project success or failure. Gender differences will be explored within the project management context whilst cultural diversity will also explore in depth the cultural differences amongst project managers based in the UK and whether this determines project success or failures.I will also look at comparisons between female and male project managers type of leadership and how this determines whether the project teams perform better or worse under the leadership of a male or female project manager 1a.
Research questionWhat role does gender within the project management environment play in determining project performance 2. Aims and Objectives2a. Objectiveso To explore whether males and females are equally represented in project management roleso To explore the cultural differences project managers, face when carrying out projects with a diverse project teamo To investigate whether gender and cultural differences lead to success or failures of projects 2. Literature SurveyLiterature ReviewGenderProject performance could be measured by looking at several factors that could lead to stakeholders understanding why some projects are successful or unsuccessful. Amongst these factors; gender and cultural differences also need to be considered. Martin (2000) argues that gender related topics or studies have not been fully addressed or researched.
Instead, gender has become neutralised and hasn’t been considered as one of the factors determining project success and failures. There isn’t enough literature that critically explores the relationship that gender and cultural differences has with project management. Smith (2000) identifies some of the reasons why there is gender disproportion. Smith (2000) goes on further to state that differences in education, work experience, training and hours worked determines the authority level in males and females. Smith (2000) states that males do get more financial returns than females in work environments.
However, Rudman and Phelan (2008) argue that for women to become recognised as great leaders they would have to leave behind female notions; they go on further to state that women who are highly driven and highly ambitious are perceived in a negative light.Culture and Diversity Cultural values play an important role in everyone’s life and they hold their core beliefs and how they make sense of the world around them. This also includes work environments; as a result, having difference in cultures can might lead to an excellent execution of a project or poorly executed project. Aside from gender and age, cultural differences also vary depending on individuals (Nisbett and Miyamoto, 2005). Projects have always been an international phenomenon more and more, organisation employ people from all walks of life who have different cultural beliefs as well as planning events in different parts of the world.Miller et al (2000) states that having heterogenous and homogenous project teams have its own advantages and disadvantages.
Miller et al (2000) stated that heterogenous project teams (teams consisting of people from different cultures, ages and ethnicities) perform better than homogenous project teams.As a result, this suggests that heterogenous project teams are more likely to have better project performance as they can bring forth fresh ideas, be more innovative and communicate better especially in a non-verbal manner (Miller et al, 2000) Women in upper management roles Henderson et al. (2013) states that the increase in women in upper management roles is at a halt, leaving a lot of questions to be asked; especially when we are leaving in a era where legal, cultural and generational expectations regarding gender representation within the work environment are changing.The reasons to this halt in increase of women in upper management roles may have been caused by ‘regression to culturally-embedded, traditional modes of gender behaviour in response to high uncertainty and ambiguity in today’s organizations’ (Ridgeway, 2011) and second-generation forms of gender bias that are just as powerful as in the past, yet more invisible due to enduring cultural beliefs about gender roles both in the larger society and in organizations (Ely et al.
, 2011).Henderson et al. (2010) continues to then state that ‘women with a project management profession face difficulty entering into a particular role (upper management) of an established project manager’.’The US-based project management institute’s (PMI) 2008 “Pulse of the Professional Survey” show that only 32 percent of project management professionals (PMP) are women, with 68 percent men’ (Henderson et al.,2010, pg.762). Project Performance Leadership skills Henderson et al (2010) recommended that businesses supported women in project management with leadership development program which will be structured for female project managers specifically.Ely et al.
(2011), based on their in-depth research with women within the business environment, believe that this gender specific leadership program integrates three important principles:(1) situated topics and tools in an analysis of second-generation gender bias;(2) the creation of a holding environment to support women’s identity work; and(3) methods for anchoring participants on their leadership purpose.Rodríguez et al (2017) states thats project-based companies such as construction and energy are still very male dominated. As a result, females continue to be underrepresented in these companies .Successful project managers need characteristics such as decision makings, collaborative leading, conflict management and integrative thinking skills to name a few ( Hauschildt et al, 2000). According to Duong & Skitmore (2003) there is a correlation between the characteristics mentioned above and gender: Interpersonal communication Snyder et al (1996) states that interpersonal communication is a vita skills needed in a project manager, he goes on further to menton that female project managers possess this skill and ‘non verbal communication’ more than their male colleagues.
TeamworkBohlen et al (1998) carried out a study on female project managers in the US and found that the female project managers were more capable of working in a team and also promoting teamwork. Also a UK study by Cartwright and Gale (1995) supported Bohlen et al (1998) as the findings showed that women had better management styles compared to men, they had the utmost respect for people in the project team, they respected their tasks and work, the women took a more optimistic/positive approach to business. Female project managers ‘have a more heightened sense of awareness and a greater sense of cultural incongruence and gender exclusion'( Bohlen et al., 1998). Carmichael(1995) highlights the importance of ‘team-oriented approach to management and the transformational management style of female managers when working in project-based environments’.Research Methodology1. Research StrategyI have chosen the cross-sectional approach because I will be looking at gender and cultural differences within the project management environment. My dissertation seeks to investigate whether these factors influence project performance (project success or failures).
As a result, cross-sectional approach will allow me to collect data from respondents from different age groups, race and ethnicities. This will allow me to get feedback from different individuals and compare and see if there are any differences between older and younger respondents view gender and culture within a project management environment. 2. Research Choice- Mixed methodsI will apply the mixed method approach as I would like to as much data and responses from participants. For my mixed methods approach I will use both qualitative and quantitative methods as I feel that I can get reliable and valuable data.3. Research strategy:Case studies and Survey- I will carry out a survey to identify how both females and males from different cultural backgrounds opinions on gender and cultural differences in project management environments.
4. Research approachI will mostly use deductive approach mostly however, I will also use the inductive approach where I will be carrying out qualitative research such as the survey which I will use to gather data from participants. 5. Research philosophy- For my research philosophy I will apply the positivism and interpretivism approach as I’m using both qualitative and quantitative data to back my research question.