The impact of cultural differences on project management in the Norwegian oil and gas industry : a qualitative research with emphasis on communication in international project management teams

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Bjorseth, Silje Vigsnaes
Issue Date
MBA in Project Management
Dublin Business School
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In the globalized world today national boarders are being washed out and people move out of their natural environment and over seas. Organizations have internationalized and opened up for foreigners in their environment, the internal business environment is then no longer only represented by employees from the host country but often consist of an international environment. This research aims to explain how culture and cultural differences can impact the internal environment in an organization, and how cultural differences can impact on a project team and the project outcome with focus on the Norwegian oil and gas Industry. Interviews of four project managers with different nationality were conducted to gather the appropriate information regarding the research topic. The empirical findings were discussed and analyzed with regards to the four objectives and the appropriate literature. The study finds that cultural differences that occur in the Norwegian oil and gas industry tend to influence internal communication and the project outcome negatively in a project team. It is also evident that individuals from Scandinavia and Asia do not work effectively and without error when put on the same team. However, when the project team consist of individuals from the same nationality or similar culture it usually have a positive effect on the project overall. Personality differences are one of the main reasons for errors in a project team, and not nesesarely cultural differences. This research also highlights the importance of training and knowledge in regards to cultural differences, and individual’s ability to apply their knowledge when issues occur. Finally, the research implies directions for further research and emphasis the importance of investigating other cultures and nationalities that are not mentioned in this dissertation but are represented in the industry and can have an influence in regards to cultural differences in project management. Author's keywords: Cultural differences, project management, Norwegian oil and gas industry, communication.