The influence of national culture on the practice of project management: A study of information and communication technology projects in Saudi Arabia

Salah, Romil (2016) The influence of national culture on the practice of project management: A study of information and communication technology projects in Saudi Arabia. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.


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In an ever-shrinking world with advancing technology many organizations have expanded their operations internationally and experienced challenges of how to manage projects in areas with different cultural backgrounds. In a culturally unique country, like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the influence of national culture on project management has to be considered, and there is additional complexity in that most project teams are themselves diverse and multi-cultural. KSA has become one of the wealthiest countries in the world, however, many of its projects, especially in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, still fail dramatically for financial, managerial, political, social and cultural reasons. In KSA, culture is a crucial factor in business, and the management of projects is no exception.

The aim of this research is to contribute to more successful delivery of ICT projects in KSA. The overall commonly-held belief is that there are elements of national culture in KSA that impact the implementation of project management processes on ICT projects. Using Hofstede’s cultural model as a basis, a conceptual framework has been created that explores and explains the impact of KSA national culture on ICT project management as characterised by the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK)1 principles. A qualitative research approach was used to collect data from four private and public sector ICT projects, in their natural settings, using a multiple case study approach. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and examination of project documentation and a cross-case analysis was performed. The conceptual framework is a very useful planning tool for human resourcing purposes is best used for the ICT project management professionals in understanding how project management practices, procedures, tools and techniques are implemented and how they are impacted by cultural factors. The findings in this study have confirmed that the dimensions of Power Distance Index (PDI), Individualism (IDV) and Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) have a significant impact on project management in KSA, but that Long–Term Orientation (LTO), Masculinity (MAS) and Indulgence (IND) have a lesser impact.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Private sector projects, public sector projects, organizational culture, Hofstede's cultural dimensions, PMBoK guide
Subjects: G400 Computer Science
N100 Business studies
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Mechanical and Construction Engineering
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2018 14:06
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2022 17:45

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