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留学生论文网-芬兰留学生Leadership Essay-应对多元文化项目:项目经理的领导风格的芬兰语-

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留学生论文网提供芬兰留学生Leadership Essay定制。Coping with multicultural projects: the leadership styles of Finnish project managers
Marko M€akilouko *
Tampere Polytechnic, P.O. Box 21, Teiskontie 33, Tampere 33521, Finland
Received 7 February 2003; received in revised form 6 May 2003; accepted 21 August 2003
Abstract
Finnish leaders and key personnel of multicultural projects were interviewed about their experiences and perspectives on multiculturalproject leadership. The team members included Finnish–Chinese, Finnish–European, and Finnish–American culturalcombinations. The Chinese team members were mostly from Hong Kong with one team from Beijing. Three multicultural projectleadership styles were found. Forty out of forty-seven project leaders indicated a solely task oriented leadership style. The sameleaders also indicated cultural blindness, ethnocentrism, parochialism, or in-group favoritism. The seven leaders that indicatedalmost solely relationships orientation, or both task and relationships orientation, indicated also cultural sympathy and threeleadership strategies to maintain team cohesion and to avoid cross-cultural problems. It is possible that they understand foreigncultures as a social phenomenon and can use that knowledge in leadership. Obviously, the relationships and task orientation arepersonality traits that have wide consequences for multicultural project management and the choice of leadership style as well as theforeign cultures..

Keywords: Multicultural; Leadership style; Task orientation; Relationships orientation; Cultural blindness; Ethnocentrism

1. Introduction
Multicultural project teams are common in large internationalcompanies. Recent mergers in Scandinaviahave further increased the number of multiculturalproject teams in operation in Finnish industry. In
practice, there are three basic forms of multiculturalteam. (1) A project team with members from different
cultural backgrounds working in the same country.These teams have expatriate team members or teammembers that come from ethnic minorities that aredistinct. (2) Project teams that are partially ortotally dispersed in many countries but meet face-toface.(3) Project teams that have members based in manycountries, work together only through electronic medias,and have never met each other. This ‘‘virtual projectteam’’ has no face-to-face or get-to-know-each-othermeetings [1].
This study concentrates only on the second type ofteam. The appointed leaders of the project teams areoften from the companys home country. Some of theleaders move abroad as expatriates, but it is morecommon for them to remain in their home country andcommunicate via electronic media. Without exception,the project teams have frequent face-to-face meetingswhere personal relationships between team membersdevelop. The benefits of strong personal relationshipsinclude improved communication and reduced conflicts.#p#分页标题#e#
Most of the project teams work on cross-border transferof technology projects such as banking systems, or areengaged in the development of new technology andapplications for IT companies. The metal industry hasthe longest tradition of using multicultural project teamsto procure factories, paper and pulp mills, and in smallerbusiness-to-business projects. In Finland, companieshave recently started to use multicultural project teamsfor a new purpose. Companies that supply global enterpriseswith engineering, technology, parts or subassemblieshave also established multicultural teams to
International Journal of Project Management 22 (2004) 387–396
www.elsevier.com/locate/ijproman
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF
PROJECT
MANAGEMENT
* Tel.: +358-50-5420-134; fax: +358-2647-222.
E-mail address: marko.makilouko@tpu.fi (M. M€akilouko).
0263-7863/$30.00  2003 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2003.08.004serve these enterprises in a coordinated manner. Thesemulticultural companies have a need for knowledge inthe field of multicultural leadership. Their experienceshave shown that not all multicultural projects go well. InFinland, such failures are usually well reported by themedia and several cases are known to exist. In one case,a company disbanded all multicultural teams and replacedthem with single nationality teams as a way tosolve multicultural project team problems.
There has not been enough research on leadership ofmulticultural teams (excluding virtual teams). Many
writers have suggested ideas, but very few have attemptedto study this form of leadership, thus the determinants,attributes, and variables are largely unknown [2]. Somestudies have focused on leadership traits in multiculturalmanagement [3,4] and the team process [5–7]. Amore general perspective is available through case studies
[8–10]. No studies are available, that clearly show
what effective leadership patterns are in multicultural
leadership.
There are ample studies regarding expatriate leadership,especially in international joint ventures [7,10–14].
The studies concentrate primarily on how expatriatestend to fit their style of leadership to the practices andexpectations of the team members in the country theyare working in, e.g. coping strategies [14], that concentrates
on what contributes to the role of ambiguity, andthe effective patterns of conflict management. The multicultural
project team is different from the expatriatesituation. The expatriates do not clearly deal with the
problem of team dispersion. This may happen, butstudies do not indicate dispersion as one of the moderatorvariables. The leaders of multicultural project teamsfind an array of expectations and practices, often simultaneouslywith the geographical dispersion of theteam. Thus, the project team members may not identifythemselves as members of the multicultural team, butrepresentatives of their home organization [7], which#p#分页标题#e#
complicates the leadership task. The differences in languageskills complicate the communication and formationof the team effort [5]. It is possible; even likely, thatthe multicultural project team presents far more demands
on leadership than conventional leadership situationsincluding expatriate leadership.Multicultural leadership is an interesting and challengingsubject of research. The researcher has to deal
with a research-sample collection problem as projectteams work in different countries. There is also theproblem of the limited knowledge in this field. We donot yet know how applicable the existing knowledge
obtained from other research sample groups is formulticultural leadership. Some claim that these earlier
results are universal. The fact is, however, that the assumptionof universalism is unverified. For this reason,this study uses the hermeneutic approach and thegrounded theory method with qualitative data. Thestudy attempts to find what leadership styles and theirdeterminants or moderator variables emerge in thecontext of multicultural project teams.
2. Literature review
2.1. Project leadershipProjects set their own specific framework for leadership.
Cleland [15] has summarized the project managementbody of knowledge and found a definition that
applies to this particular field of leadership. The definitionemphasizes the role of leadership as the changeagent even more than we may expect in organizationswith continuing leader and follower http://www.ukthesis.org/Thesis_Writing/Administration/roles:Project leadership is defined as a presence and a process carriedout within an organizational role that assumes responsibility forthe needs and rights of those people who choose to follow theleader in accomplishing the project results [15].
There is usually a limited amount of time, money,and other resources, i.e. the project has several constraints
[16]. Rather than a static organization, the
projects follow rapid life cycles where the organizationalroles change. Because of this, the leader has to changeroles from being a technical expert to a manager, then aleader and finally, at the end of the 留学生论文网提供芬兰留学生Leadership Essay定制project, back tobeing a technical expert. The roles may also includeinternal argumentation for resources and external closureof sales [17]. The nature of a project team does notfollow traditional perspectives. Briner et al. [18] suggestthat project teams are divided into a core team and avisible team. The core team members are permanent
members of the project but usually not on a full timebasis, i.e. they work on other projects at the same time.
The visible team members are temporary members ofthe project and leave the project when their expertise isno longer needed. They too are also rarely full time teammembers. Even the project leaders usually have severalprojects and teams to lead simultaneously. Despite thisloose nature, project team rather than project group isthe traditional choice of terminology.The typical loose and rapidly changing structure of aproject team is likely to make project leadership morechallenging. Thus, project leaders may need both taskand relationships oriented leadership styles during differentphases of the project to ensure order in the oftenchaotic situation of time and financial pressure, and simultaneoustasks [19]. The orientations in the projectcontext can be described as a rational process, outcome#p#分页标题#e#
motivation, and social motivation for creating a constructiveproject atmosphere [20]. Many writers especiallyemphasize the need for flexibility in the rapidlychanging project environment [18–20]. Despite the limitedtime constraint that certainly challenges project388 M. M€akilouko / International Journal of Project Management 22 (2004) 387–396
leaders, Kloppenborg and Petrick [17] suggest thatleaders have a key role to play in developing teamcharacteristics into a collective set of virtues includingethics, respect and trust in others, honesty, courage,prudence, and the responsible use and sharing ofpower.
2.2. Multicultural leadership styles
Bj€orkman and Schaap [12] have identified that expatriate
managers in international joint ventures have
three leadership styles that may apply to the multiculturalleadership situation. (1) Didactical leadershipwhere leaders sell ideas by pointing out how issues havebeen solved in other companies and suggests a visit to
these companies. (2) Organization design leadershipwhere leaders carefully select foreign team members
based on their likely suitability to the existing thinkingin the company. The idea is to pre-empt cultural issuesto the maximum possible extent. The leaders and thecompany stick to their traditional ways and do not adjustto local culture. (3) Culturally blind leadershipwhere no attention is paid to cultural differences andtraditional ways and methods are used [10,14]. Theculturally blind leadership style tends to cause severeproblems and the practical disintegration of teamwork.
Expatriate managers are gradually isolated and they
later find that few of their decisions are actually implemented.It is likely that the learning of cultures and the
ability of managers to cope in foreign environmentsdepends very much on the individual [14]. Some managers
are well adjusted; some are sensitive to culturaldifferences and take actions to resolve the cultural
problems, while others tend to take no notice of culturesor the need to adjust to them.
Suutari [21] indicates that few general conclusions canbe made about how expatriate managers cope. On average,expatriates indicate only few cultural differenceswith a high mean deviation. This phenomenon whereleaders do not see foreign cultures has been consideredfrom several perspectives. The perception of foreign
culture and team members may be guided by schemas,in- and out-group setting [22], or by projected similarity.Slevin and Pinto [19] conclude that task orientation, theneed for power, and high cognitive capacity makeleaders inflexible in coping with the demands of theleadership situation.
Selmer [14] discusses various personality traits thatmay be behind the differences in the individuals abilityto cope with foreign cultures. Agreeableness, conscientiousness,emotional stability, intellect, and openness orextroversion could be of help in developing successfulcoping strategies. Furthermore, some personality traitsare culture bound [23]. Members of collectivist culturesmay typically behave more ethnocentrically in crossculturalsituations as they feel loyalty to their own nationalgroup of team members [22]. High national scoresin self-enhancement [24] may enhance parochial behavior#p#分页标题#e#
because of competitive attitudes [25].
The question of failing to see and cope with foreigncultures is still an unanswered one and needs furtherresearch. It seems that in researching cross-culturalleadership we need some way to classify the leaders accordingto their level or learning, their personality orother determinants that may explain the choice of leadershipstyle, returning to the issue of personality traitsand leadership [26].
Bloom et al. [4] studied leaders in European companiesand suggest some common characteristics for multiculturalleaders. These include attempts to manageinternational diversity, social responsibility of the employees,internal negotiation (participation in decisionmaking), general orientation for people (rather thantask orientation), and attempts to manage between extremesto find a consensus in the multicultural environment.Wills and Barham [3] found that cognitivecomplexity, emotional energy, and psychological maturitywere common factors in what they called successfulmulticultural managers. Managers need cognitive abilityin order to relate with, learn, and understand otherpeople and cultures. Emotional capacity is needed forchanneling the stress caused by the confusion and ambiguityof multicultural situations. Psychological maturitymeans the ability to choose open rather thandefensive coping strategies in foreign cultures.Several writers have proposed various leadershipstyles that could help in solving cultural leadership issues.
One of the first suggestions is the cultural synergyleadership. The goal is to find common ground
among the cultural differences. The leadership shouldthen be based on these similarities, e.g. fit the cultural
assumptions and expectations of all the culturesinvolved.
Schneider [27] has suggested standardization ofmanagement principles such as decision-making, problem
solving, briefing techniques, meeting techniques, andtask delegation. Agreement of basic working procedurescould reduce the amount of confusion and could form acommon ground among differences. When managers
write management principles down on paper, it makesit much easier to achieve agreements as opposed to
issues such as support, communication patterns, orfeedback.
Snow and Davison [28] suggest three leadership rolesfor fully established multicultural teams. (1) Advocate arole for defining the teams mission and pooling resources.
(2) Introduce an integrator role for maintainingclear mission and performance goals, and coordinatingactivity. (3) Use a catalyst role for encouraging andsupporting team members. The three roles could support
the formation of the teams, the teams mission, andthe socialization process of the team members.
M. M€akilouko / International Journal of Project Management 22 (2004) 387–396 389
2.3. Finnish leaders
Schwartz [24] found in his study of national valuesthat Finns, from a cultural point of view, are characterized
by relatively high intellectual autonomy, egalitariancommitment, and harmony. This could reflectorientation towards self-transcendence, preference forcooperation rather than competition, autonomy preferences#p#分页标题#e#
in organizing work, trust in followers, and opennessfor change and ideas. The leadership in general may
be oriented to development rather than maintainingthe status quo. The leaders may also indicate employeeorientation rather than task orientation [29]. At topmanagement levels, the leaders may emphasize teamspirit, effective communication, open dialogue, andconsensus in making decisions. They also may pay attention
to the organization design in detail [30]. An interestingnotion is that the Finnish language does nothave an exact translation for the English word leadership
 but has many words for describing management.
This may be understood as a support for follower autonomyor as a sign of hierarchy. Both are general approachestowards organizations with less need forleadership.
3. Research method
The research question is how does leadership relate tothe multicultural project team and the various combinationsof national cultures within the project team. Thedata were collected using non-structured interviews. Thesample group comprised forty-seven (47) project managersand key personnel, and seven (7) foreign teammembers for triangulation of results. The key personnel
were chief engineers and construction site managers,who led parts of large projects. The average age of theinterviewees was thirty-four (34) years and each had at
least five (5) years experience of working in teams ofdifferent cultural combinations.
The interviewees were selected using the maximizing–minimizing principle to focus on the leadership styledifferences [31]. The maximized differences in the samplegroup were the team national culture combination, differentindustrial sectors, and different companies. Thus,the teams had different tasks, work histories, ways ofworking, and different organizational backgrounds. Theteams included engineering teams in the consulting industry,engineering teams in the electronics industry,and engineering, supply, and construction teams in themetal industry. The minimized differences in the samplegroup were the project task, which was for a limited timeand had the constraints of time, money, and scope. Allteams were of the dispersed type with a core team in two
countries and had Finnish team leaders, key personneland team members from two countries. The companyhead office was in Finland. The organizational positionof project managers and key personnel were also similar.
They were not direct supervisors of their team membersand could not decide salaries, employment, or careers.
Such leaders can rarely use coercion but need to usepersuasion. Thus, the task environment was different butthe differences in task context were minimized.
The project teams comprised three cultural combinations:
Finnish–American, Finnish–Chinese, and
Finnish–Northern European. The Chinese team memberswere mostly from Hong Kong with one team basedin Beijing. Cultural selection was based on three behavioraland cultural considerations. In the clusteringperspective of the cultures, the compositions presentdistinctive differences [32]. Regarding the individualismand collectivism dimension of cultures, the selectionpresents high, medium, and low individuality [33]. Regardingthe motivational continuums of cultures thecultures present low, medium, and high in all four alternatives:#p#分页标题#e#
self-enhancement, self-transcendence, conservation,and autonomy [24]. Thus, the cultures shouldbe distinctive rather than similar allowing comparisons
on a meaningful basis. In each national culture, somepeople display strongly their national values whilesome are quite far from the national values. Therefore,
it would be ideal to have some way of sorting individualdifferences from national culture differences. Thegrounded theory approach deals with this under the
saturation principle, i.e. the saturation of observationscan only be achieved in those categories where peopleare in close agreement with each other. The categorieswith large individual differences should not be saturated.
Together with the maximized differences in the samplegroup, this should screen out the individual, the company,and the industrial sector perspectives and producea cultural perspective, as far as possible, for the researchquestion.
Interviews were non-structured in line with thegrounded theory literature [31]. The perceived leadership
style was measured by searching the interviews forself-reported leadership style dimensions. The method issimilar to the more popular quantitative questionnaires
but relies on interviews. The dimensions that emergedfrom the interviews were named according to the names
that are available from literature [34]. Similarly, other
perceived moderator variables and determinants wererecorded. The benefit of non-structured interviews isthat the interviewees guide the research process, thus
potentially giving a nominalistic perspective taken frominside the research question rather than an outside view.In addition, those concepts that saturate should be relevant
to the research question and as the concepts arenot decided beforehand but emerge from the interviews,
the method follows a hermeneutic research strategy tothe research question. Indeed, hermeneutics is thestrength of the grounded theory [31]. The results are
390 M. M€akilouko / International Journal of Project Management 22 (2004) 387–396grounded to the interviews rather than existing literatureto better understand multicultural leadership.
The interviews were processed into a coding tree,which was further axially coded for higher-level concepts.
The leadership styles and their dimensions, culturalissues, organization design, and their moderator
variables emerged from the interviews using this method.The coding tree was cross-examined for parsimonyand internal validity (i.e. the integration of categories).
A number of potential concepts from literature werealso studied in light of the interviews and the coding
tree. Finally, the coding tree was triangulated with theinterviews of seven American project team members.
Only the concepts that were common regardless ofcompany or industrial sector were retained. Individualconcepts and dimensions were retained only whenthey shed light on the general trends that were foundthrough the saturation of concepts (i.e. the properties of#p#分页标题#e#
a category).
4. Results
The study indicated three distinctive leadership stylesthat were named after the leaders perception of foreigncultures.
4.1. Ethnocentrism
In close agreement with the literature, an ethnocentricleadership style was found and was most common
among the project leaders (40 out of 47). The ethnocentric
leaders indicate cultural blindness, ethnocentric
or even parochial attitudes, and task orientated leadershipdimensions. Their leadership concentrated on formalnegotiation within the project team, which resultedinto project team disintegration. This disintegration wasaccording to the national culture so that Finns workedas their own team and foreign team members as anotherteam. The two separate teams negotiated as separate
parties about the practicalities of the project. Often thetwo separate teams approach had become the normalway of working and leaders did not attempt tochange the status quo but considered division accordingto the nationality self-clear and every project wasstarted in that fashion. The leaders reported only taskoriented leadership styles. Many of them considered
Finnish culture and Finnish team members to be superiorin the task context and all project team membersfrom foreign cultures to be inferior. Some noted, however,that there are some foreign team members that aremore Finnish by behavior and can be trusted morethan others potentially indicating in- and out-groupfavoritism.
Of the 40 ethnocentric project leaders, only 12 picturedthemselves as leaders. Others saw themselves astechnical specialists, assistants for top management, orhandlers of practical project matters. Some said thatthey are not leaders, and some that they do not believein leadership. Instead, they concentrated on matters thatcan be written on paper and sent to other people forexecution. Often they sent their information to linemanagers who then interacted with team members asleaders of the project team. The people in this groupincluded both project managers and project key personnel.
However, it is important to note that the style ofleading projects or smaller parts of larger projects varied
from person to person in all companies. While oneproject leader interacted with the team membersthrough line managers, other project leaders held teammeetings and had direct contacts with team members.
This may indicate task orientation or a need for independency,both with minimized people contacts.
The ethnocentric leadership style was found regardlessof the company, team, organizational position, orcultures (see Table 1).
4.2. Synergy
In the context of multicultural teams, a second, lessfrequent (3 out of 47), leadership style was found. This
can be characterized as cultural synergy. The leadersactively attempted to build personal relationships with
the project team members. They indicated cultural empathyin their willingness to learn and understand theways of other cultures.
My style is that I dont hurry up but start slowly through the#p#分页标题#e#
technical background. Slowly we get to know each other andbuild larger perspectives. My style includes quite careful listeningto the other side. What kind of people they are and try to
learn myself . . . Free-time contacts are important in leadership.It clearly brings you closer to the person (Finnish projectleader).
The project team interaction was often based on informaland direct interaction between team members
rather than formal negotiations between two cultural
groups. Meetings within the project team were held but
Table 1
Leadership style dimensions of the ethnocentric project leader [41]
Dimension Finnish–
European
Finnish–
Chinese
Finnish–
USA
Internal negotiation + + +
Work facilitation +
Coordination +
Production emphasis +
Appealing to superiors +
Planning +
Role clarification + +
Lone decision making +
Criticizing +
+ indicated dimension in the interviews.
M. M€akilouko / International Journal of Project Management 22 (2004) 387–396 391
the reported purpose was to tie personal relationships
while agreeing on basic project practicalities. The relationships
were seen as the primary motor for intra-team
communication. The project leaders pictured themselves
as leaders of people. The group included both project
managers and project key personnel. The leaders did not
indicate culture blindness or ethnocentrism. Instead,
they were aware of many practical differences between
cultures. These include the different needs for autonomy,
communication differences, and Confucian philosophy
in the case of Chinese team members. Confucianism was
evident in the circuitous style of communication. The
leadership dimensions concentrated almost entirely on
relationships orientation, especially with leaders of
Finnish–Chinese teams who indicated that their main
task was to interact with people and they do not need
technical competences.
The synergistic leadership style was found only in
connection with Finnish–European and Finnish–Chinese
teams. All possible efforts were made to find synergy
in Finnish–American teams but none was identified
(see Table 2).
4.3. Polycentrism
A third leadership style was also found that was infrequent
(4 out of 47) and was not indicated in the literature.
This is characterized as cultural polycentrism.
The leaders did not attempt team building or especially
developed interaction between team members. Instead,
they often acted as a link between the team members
according to the cultural division. The team members
were allowed to keep their old way of working that they
were used to in the home countries. The leaders were
confident that they understand how people from both#p#分页标题#e#
cultures think and could integrate the team without
team members being fully aware of their differences.
They thought this a faster and safer way of meeting the
project objectives than any other leadership style.
My most important and perhaps the most difficult task is being
a link between Finns and Chinese . . . Being a link is something
like, when the Chinese hardly say anything direct, I would know
how to interpret that so the Finns understand it. And when instructions
come from Finland to China it is often quite direct
text. This has to be interpreted to the Chinese so that they understand
it in the right way (Finnish leader).
If the team worked mostly in the same office, the
leaders chose one of the two cultures with its methods
of planning, delegating, degree of autonomy, and conflict
resolution. In the studied cases, it was always
the foreign culture rather than Finnish culture. The
leaders were aware of practical differences between cultures
but had also a feel of how to translate their
knowledge into action. Some considered this leadership
style to be a next step from leadership that is characterized
as synergy. An integral part of this style of
leadership was the selection of team members and
planning how the team works together including superior–
follower relationships, reporting systems, and work
process.
. . .We started project planning meetings where all people wrote
down their interdependencies with internal and external groups.
Those were put on the wall and then we looked what software
engineers need from the hardware engineers, purchasing and
factory, and what the factory needs from us (Finnish project
leader).
An important notion is that the other two types of
leader did not actively design their organization or the
work process but agreed on what was given from higherlevel
managers. The synergistic leaders also did not plan
the interaction but relied on the net of personal relationships.
The polycentric leaders indicated both relationships
and task oriented leadership styles. More relationships
orientation was found among leaders of Finnish–European
and Finnish–Chinese project teams. The Finnish–
European leaders were oriented towards team members
autonomy and varied the degree of autonomy according
to individual skills and experience. The Finnish–
Chinese leaders were oriented more towards harmony
and interpersonal balance. The leaders of Finnish–
American teams were more often oriented towards
transformal leadership but frequently used punishment
such as firing some team members for insubordination
(see Table 3).
4.4. Leadership styles
The three leadership styles are conceptually depicted
in Fig. 1. The axial coding indicated that the results#p#分页标题#e#
might indicate a learning track towards higher leadership
versatility. The leadership dimensions tend to increase
cumulatively. The size of the boxes and their
overlapping is intended to picture this cumulative tendency
where some leadership dimensions are common
with the next leadership style.
Table 2
Leadership style dimensions of the synergistic project leader [41]
Dimension Finnish–
European
Finnish–
Chinese
Maintaining good relationships + +
Flexible decision making +
Autonomy delegation +
Interaction facilitation + +
Moral character (equality) +
Internal negotiation +
Circuitous approach +
Controlling (reporting discipline) +
Role clarification +
+ indicated dimension in the interviews.
392 M. M€akilouko / International Journal of Project Management 22 (2004) 387–396
4.5. Cultural notions
The national cultures caused several notions in addition
to more typical cultural differences that today
tend to be well known. Finnish–American teams suffered
from frequent, even constant, conflicts within the
project team. This was created by several overlapping
reasons. Almost all projects were organized in the form
of a matrix where each team member had at least two
supervisors. For the Americans this may have created
confusion as to whom they should report, where to direct
information, and whom to ask for decisions. The
Finns may have been better informed or were used to
matrix type organization and experienced little confusion.
This could also be a cultural issue since some
writings indicate that matrix organization may be difficult
for Americans [35].
Finns and Americans may have been used to different
kinds of project work. Finnish leaders (ethnocentric
leadership style) organized the project work against
schoolbook instructions [17] with minimum pre-planning
and process organization. They jumped almost
directly into implementation, which resulted in maximum
design flexibility and team member autonomy.
This was considered to be a strength because of the
much faster project start and the ability to make quick
design changes during the project. However, it may have
created more confusion among Americans. They may
not have been used to or adequately informed about this
type of project management. This could also be a cultural
issue as some studies indicate that Americans may
expect leaders to take charge rather than give initiative
away to the team members [36–38]. Americans indicated
role ambiguity and that they were never sure how things
were supposed to be handled. On the other hand,
Finnish project leaders and key personnel indicated that
in their opinion Americans lacked initiative and understanding#p#分页标题#e#
about the project as a whole.
Communication patterns were also different and
caused tension. Finnish communication may have been
right to the point with no softening. As a result, they
may have appeared unpleasant, harsh, and even insulting.
One suggested reason was their language skills, i.e.
some Finns apparently did not master polite forms of
English language. The following quotation is one perception
of communication differences within a team:
They say that Finnish people are direct . . . I think we are a little
more political. More political if someone does bad job . . . I have
worked with the Finns for a long time so I am used to them. So
they didnt really affect me that much. I knew what to expect.
And then . . . I have learned to appreciate a lot of the things they
do. At first it is harsh, but then I saw the effectiveness of it
(American project team member).
Of the several overlapping reasons for team conflicts,
the most important may have been communication. The
Table 3
Leadership style dimensions of the polycentric project leader [41]
Dimension Finnish–European Finnish–Chinese Finnish–American
Maintaining good relationships + + +
Interaction facilitation + + +
Flexible decision making +
Autonomy delegation + + +
Conflict management +
Informing +
Circuitous approach +
Respect for elders +
Decision participation +
Initiating structure (planning, organizing, coordinating) + + +
Rewarding +
Work facilitation + +
Production emphasis +
Providing vision +
Turning mistakes into learning + +
Providing constructive feedback +
+ indicated dimension in the interviews.
Task Oriented
Leadership
People Oriented
Leadership
Initiating Structure Including
Staffing, Planning, Delegating
and Reporting
+
Personal Human Relationships
+
Internal Negotiation
Polycentric Leadership
Styles
Synergistic
Leadership
Style
Ethnocentric
Leadership
Style
Fig. 1. Conceptual relations between leadership styles [41].
M. M€akilouko / International Journal of Project Management 22 (2004) 387–396 393
following quotations are an example how a team leader
and an American team member both feel insulted due to
the unawareness of different communication patterns.
This may create an unintentional cycle of conflict.
The Americans are over confident . . . If you say that it is not
exactly like you said, they get angry. They are bully and think
that America is the best place. They know everything (Finnish
project leader).
The Finns they get here and they do the technical things and
they dont understand why the fuss about human relations. I
am here to do my job . . . why should I bother with the feelings#p#分页标题#e#
of the other guy (American project team member).
It is possible that Finnish leaders with an ethnocentric
leadership style also insulted the Chinese team
members [13]. However, as dividing the project team
according to the cultural lines was considered normal,
the withdrawal of Chinese team members as a result
may only have helped to maintain the status quo and
passed without notice.
The leaders of Finnish–European and Finnish–Chinese
project teams (synergistic and polycentric leadership
style) tended to improve their personal relationships with
the team members as a way of improving communication
and reducing project problems. The leaders of Finnish–
American teams (polycentric leadership style) increased
their personal position of power. Some of them were able
to negotiate more power while some were not successful.
Only those projects where the project leader was able to
decide wages, employment, bonuses, and influence team
member careers, were able to maintain team cohesion. In
these cases, no team division according to cultures was
reported. It may be that in multicultural management the
cultures are differentiated in the same basic styles as the
leaders were found to orient themselves – task orientation
and relationships orientation. Finnish–European
and Finnish–Chinese team may require more relationships
 orientation while Finnish–American teams mayrequire more of a balance between task and relationshipsand possibly transformational orientation.
5. Conclusions and discussionWhere do the findings lead us? Earley and Mosakowski
[6] left open two questions. First, what leads tostrong perceptions of acculturation in some circumstances?
Second, what traits are relevant to particularindividuals and how might organizations use this information
to design effective teams?
Certainly, it seems that Finnish project leaders that
indicated a relationships oriented leadership style in thenon-structured interview also had a positive perspectiveto multicultural project teams. They had more empathytowards cultures and team members. They attempted toimprove communication through a network of personalrelationships or integrated the team by acting as acommunication link in the role of a cultural interpreter.
At the same time, project leaders that indicated solelytask-oriented leadership dimensions choose to maintainor seek team division based on culture. They also indicatemore conflicts, perception defects, and culturalblindness. It seems that ethnocentrism may be connectedto a leaders task orientation and the favored approachtowards multicultural team members is in- and outgroup
setting with trustees and non-trustees. For internationalcompanies it is important to realize that leaderswith relationships orientation may be better in multiculturalleadership. This finding somewhat contradictsthe current assumption that both task and relationshipsorientations are required in different phases of the projectlife cycle or in leadership in general.#p#分页标题#e#
One potential explanation for the clear distinctionbetween task and relationships orientated leadershipstyle may be the learning process of foreign cultures.
Cultures as a social phenomenon can be learned and
understood through relationships with people [39].
Leaders with relationships orientation may be naturallyinterested in building such relationships and can increasetheir knowledge about other ways of patternedthinking and behavior in the social context [40]. As thenumber of the ethnocentric leaders is high (40 out of 47),
it would still seem also possible that many leaderschoose personal influence as their response to projectproblems [19,40]. When the problems do not disappear,they finally may end up with solely task oriented leadershipdimensions. Only a few leaders chose improvedrelationships or organization design as their response toproject problems. In addition, the leaders, in response tostressful project problems, may have chosen mentalavoidance as their strategy to cope with the situation,which resulted in in- and out-group setting and finally
into task orientated leadership [14].Potentially, the high number of ethnocentric leaderscan be partially explained by the limited internationalexperience of the studied companies. The projectleaders were the first generation of Finnish multiculturalleaders. The companies established their first foreignoffices in the 1980s. Multicultural teams were firstformed in the early 1990s. Several project leaders indicatedthat top management had little first hand experienceof international operations. As a result, some topmanagement decisions were perceived to be detrimentalto their projects and were sometimes changed when thesituation could be pointed out. Thus, ethnocentricleadership may be a part of the learning process ofmulticultural leadership. Under this perspective, ethnocentrismmay be gradually reduced in project management.
Of the three indicated leadership styles, synergy andpolycentrism have their foundation in the leaders personalinterest in human relationships and cultures.
394 M. M€akilouko / International Journal of Project Management 22 (2004) 387–396Synergy concentrates on the leaders personal relationshipswith team members. The network of relationshipsforms the basis for effective communication. Polycentrismconcentrates on avoiding problems that may arisefrom cultural differences. This is done by linking betweenthe cultures or by preferring one culture. Allpolycentric leaders engaged in organization design withthe aim of avoiding multicultural problems. This requiresunderstanding of typical multicultural problems,their reasons, and how organization design can be usedto avoid those problems. It seems that the most effectivealternative for multicultural leadership may be avoidingthe problems beforehand. The polycentric leaders reportedthe lowest number of project problems.
The study has certain implications for multiculturalcompanies. First, it seems that relationships orientedproject leaders may have a higher potential for leadershipsuccess since they tend to be able to maintainproject team cohesion. Second, the leaders could beguided to study and learn about foreign cultures, and toavoid avoidance concentrated coping strategies thatmay prevent this learning. Third, increased personalinfluence as a response to project problems may feeltempting but leaders should be guided to choose otherstrategies such as coaching team members, increasedteam effort, and organization design. Fourth, organizationdesign can potentially be used to mitigate multiculturalproblems. This was found effective in the formof a project managers increased position of power.#p#分页标题#e#


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on multicultural project leadership. Currently he works at the
Tampere Polytechnic as a program manager.
396 M. M€akilouko / International Journal of Project Management 22 (2004) 387–396

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