Saturday, October 20, 2012
Of the 80 executives from the four property development companies targeted for survey, 35 responded. This puts the response or fulfillment rate at 43.75%. This is considered high when using survey questionnaire data collection method as most surveys have a fulfillment rate of 30% or below. The quality of responses is almost perfect, with just a three respondents failing to complete the survey with a few questions unanswered. Of the 20 invited for interview, 11 accepted and were scheduled for interview, but two backed out due to some unplanned work requirements at the last minute. With nine respondents to the interview, a 45% response rate was achieved. This was enough considering that saturation was reached on the 7th interview where the last two responses yielded no new thematic outcome.
· Majority of the respondents were male at 88.6% which closely represents the male-dominated employment in managerial positions in the UAE corporate landscape.
· Most of the respondents were married at 65.7% which reflects the high demand placed by UAE society on having a family. This may be attributed to the observation that companies generally promote staff whose marital status reflect on their maturity to be responsible managers where they are assigned.
· Most of the respondents at 41.8% belong to the middle income group with 14.5% indicating they were in the high income brackets which are the more senior managers.
· As may be expected, majority were in their 30 – 40 age group at 48.5%, closely followed by respondents in the 40-50 age group representing 31.4%. This is indicative of the high level of experience of the respondents with the company at the project management level.
· Majority of the project managers at 60% have completed undergraduate degrees and the rest have post graduate degrees.
· Only 7.3 % of the respondents have less than 5 years of experience in managing multicultural projects. The rest have 10 years or more.
2a What is the percentage of multicultural projects you have handled over the total projects in a given year or over the last 12 months?
Figure 11 shows that most project managers surveyed (51.4%) have managed multicultural projects 100% of the time in their current job position during the last 12 months. Another 34.3% claims to have handled multicultural projects at between half and 75% of all the projects they have managed. Together this constitutes a clear majority of around 85.7% managing multicultural projects most of the time and this preponderance of multicultural projects confirmed that dominance of multicultural projects in the UAE as discussed in the literature section.
2b Are you bi-lingual or capable of communication in a second language such as English? And if so, how proficient are you in a second language?
The results reveal that with the exception of three project managers in the sample, all respondents have bi-lingual communication competencies with 45.7% admitting full literacy in the second language (not necessarily English though this is in the majority), while the rest have limited literacies or will need further enhancements.
3 Relative Importance of Project Management Skills
Table 6 presents the results of the survey in ranking three major project management skills and shows that all three occupy a high valuation in the perspective of the sampled project managers in the four Dubai-based property development companies. But among the three, communication skill has the slight edge with 97% of the respondents indicating it is a very important dimension in project management.
4 Cross Cultural Communication Skills
Results of this part of the survey is presented in Table 7 which pointed to the ability to manage cultural diversity as having the highest importance as indicated by 60% of the respondents. This was followed closely by the ability to use English as second language, and the ability to use this second language to inspire teamwork. The ability to train foreign workers got the lowest ranking which hinted to the fact that while project managers can provide coaching to team members, the training aspect is not a primary responsibility of project managers and that HR or other 3rd party language training schools are better tapped for this purpose. Nevertheless, majority of the respondents ranked it as important part of communication skills, though not as important as the others.
5 Project Management Areas where Communication is Important
Surveying the insights about the areas in a multicultural project undertaking where communication plays an important part resulted in close ranking among the areas that have been randomly selected from those indicated in Section 2.4.2. Table 8 presents the results with management presentations on justifying new resources as taking the most important area in project management where suitable communication skills can make a difference. d. This is followed closely by conflict management which recognizes the social interactivity among diverse ethnic groups as potential sources of misunderstanding and eventual conflict if not addressed immediately using appropriate language that the parties can understand. The least important area is project planning which may be explained by the fact that this is more of a responsibility taken by the project manager prior to the project engagement itself.