Date of Award

2004

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Elsie P. Jackson

Second Advisor

Loretta B. Johns

Third Advisor

Douglas Jones

Abstract

Purpose of the Study

Global Motors o f the United States and Baumgart AG of Germany came together to produce an automobile that was marketable in both countries. Since this project involved people from two cultures, the purpose of this study was to examine perceived cultural markers at work during this joint vehicle development project by identifying these markers and investigating their effects on the overall success of the joint-venture project.

Methodology

I chose to use a qualitative methodology, specifically focus groups. All engineers who worked on the project team received an email inviting them to participate and assuring them of anonymity. Twenty-seven percent of the project team chose to participate (a total of 30 participants).

Results

I found only 4 cultural markers that had both a major presence on this first joint venture project team and affected the success of the project. They were Social Exchange (motivated by facts vs. emotion), Formality (preference for structured work or unstructured work), Risk Response (aversion to risk vs. comfort with risk), and Operating Authority (deference to position authority or expertise authority). Two other cultural markers were found to have minor impact, Results Orientation (whether a person was more concerned with the results or the process used to obtain the results) and Adaptability (Those comments related to whether or not the person seemed to strive for consensus among parties). There was no evidence found relating to the cultural markers of Individualism or Use of Time as seen in the literature.

Conclusion

Cultural Markers were present on this joint-venture project team and affected the success of this project in the following ways: “Success was impeded early-on. ” “Faulty assumptions were made. ” “Timing and performance targets were missed. ” “There were inappropriate responses to directions. ” “We assumed we had agreement, when there was no agreement. ” “Teamwork was non-existent at first. ”

Subject Area

Intercultural communication--Case studies, Cross-cultural orientation, International business enterprises.

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