Communication and relationship building in cross-cultural project management: An Australia - UAE study

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Conference Proceeding

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Cerimagic, S., Smith, J., & Ochoa, J. (2015). Communication and relationship building in cross-cultural project management: An Australia - UAE study.Paper presented at The Construction, Building and Real Estate Research Conference (RICS COBRA AUBEA). 8-10 July, 2015. Sydney, Australia.

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At no other point in history have so many different people and cultures come into contact with one another. This is due to globalisation, the Internet and more specifically in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with their welcoming of foreign investors into a free market. If managed well, this diversity can become a valuable advantage. It increases understanding of different markets; helps trigger creativity and may lead to better decision-making. However, if managed poorly, it can lead to unnecessary misunderstanding, conflict, confusion and inefficiency. The UAE has a different culture, social and business etiquette, religion and language to that of Australia. Consequently, communication problems and misunderstandings can arise and have devastating effects in projects. Addressing cross-cultural communication issues is important for the success of projects. This includes a good understanding of local protocols and rituals and project managers need to acknowledge the importance of communication and relationship building in a cross-cultural setting. Australian project managers in the UAE are the focus of this paper as it is important to attempt to determine why some expatriate project managers and businesses fail, losing money and their reputation in an foreign country. It is of utmost importance for the success of projects in the UAE that expatriates are aware and respectful of the different communication styles in their host country.



This document has been peer reviewed.