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Culture and its impact upon project procurement

Rowlinson, Steve, Walker, Derek H.T., & Cheung, Yan Ki Fiona (2008) Culture and its impact upon project procurement. In Walker, D.H.T. & Rowlinson, Steve (Eds.) Procurement system : a cross industry project management perspective. Taylor & Francis, London, UK, pp. 277-310.

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Abstract

How is organisational and national culture relevant to making project procurement choices? This is a question that is not, in the view of many of us concerned with the study of procurement, asked frequently enough and answered sufficiently clearly to impart the required sense of relevance.

Projects are delivered by people. Effective PM and procurement of all the people-related elements of a project, and programs of projects, is a competence that has a critical impact upon project success that cannot be dismissed. Aspects of project leadership are embedded in many of the chapters of this book.

Underpinning leadership is an ability to understand people, understand their values and traits and understand how this may affect the way that the process of PM is conducted. Understanding what makes people ‘tick’ and indeed how whole systems of people, processes and technology interact is about understanding people’s and organisation’s values and the deepest formative assumptions about what is fair and reasonable. This is vital to: undertaking stakeholder analysis (Chapter 3); making sense of how ethics and governance influences procurement choices (Chapter 4); comprehending the basis of what strategic approach, or school of thought, is most useful to explore procurement decisions (Chapter 5); developing and enforcing a performance measure system that is relevant and fair (Chapter 6); how to encourage value generation through innovation (Chapter 8); and how to attract, enlist and maintain the most talented team to deliver projects (Chapter 10). It also strongly links with case study Chapter 12 and Chapter 13. Understanding what makes people tick is about understanding their cultural perspective, what they see as attractive incentives and how they see ‘fair play’ so that they can trust and be confident that they can make a contribution that is worthwhile, valued and engenders their commitment. Culture, when looked at from this perspective, is a vital component and the lifeblood of an organisation.

This chapter is structured in three parts. This introduction section posed the question why culture is central to project procurement and indicated how this may be so. The second section provides some insights into the meaning and definition of cultural value terms that will frame the rest of the chapter. We argue that trust and commitment is vital to any commercial or indeed internal team working relationship in which effort is expended for rewards and benefits so we need to be clear what we mean by these terms and their relevance to project procurement. We also discuss culture from its national and organisational perspective because cultural orientation and underpinning assumptions and because PM is undertaken using teams of cross-cultural composition. In the third section, we will then explore how understanding culture can be effective and useful when negotiating, either as a part of a procurement process or as part of a mutual adjustment process within teams, and as part of a dispute resolution system devised to deal with misunderstandings, disputes and clarification of ambiguous situation. PM is a process that is undertaken within a fog of ambiguity (at least in terms of the detail) and turbulence because it is about change. We summarise the chapter and then end the chapter with a vignette.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 17879
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: Yan Ki Fiona Cheung is the maiden name of Fiona Lamari
Additional URLs:
Keywords: culture, value, commitment, trust, relationship contracting, project procurement
ISBN: 978-0-415-41606-1
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > BUILDING (120200) > Building Construction Management and Project Planning (120201)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Institutes > Institute for Sustainable Resources
Past > Schools > School of Urban Development
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Taylor & Francis
Deposited On: 17 Feb 2009 09:54
Last Modified: 24 Mar 2014 11:50

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