Communication is an indispensable part of international cooperation and it requires managing different cultures. Being prepared to see and understand different values, trying to understand contrasting views in a consortium, can decrease the potential of misperception which otherwise may act as a real barrier to cooperation. This is why international cooperation necessitates negotiation across cultures. In the case of collaboration, parties come together for a joint work which itself may create common values/understanding, besides the set goals. This is because collaboration requires strong we-feeling and commitment. The purpose of this paper is to focus on cross-cultural communication and collaboration in the area of Open and Distance Learning (ODL), concentrating on the communication processes in project management. Cross-cultural studies point to different communicative behaviours of individuals in multinational work environments e.g. the cultural characteristics affect the preferences towards the use of the media. For the purposes of this paper, the authors make a phenomenological-oriented case study of project management based on interviews with partners of a multilateral Grundtvig (adult learning) project, affiliated with distance education institutions in eight different countries. The authors test their assumptions for constructive and cooperative communication in e-Learning projects; delineating the effects of different cultures as regards the expectations from (1) international projects and (2) communication media.
If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.
1. Anbari F.T.; Khilkhanova, E.V.; Romanova, M.V. and Umpleby, S.A. (2004). Managing cultural differences in international projects. In Journal of International Business and Economics, 2(1), (pp. 267-74).
2. Barnett, G.A. and Lee, M. (2003). Issues in intercultural communication research. In W. B. Gudykunst (ed.), Cross-cultural and intercultural communication, (pp. 259-273). USA: Sage Publications.
3. Bates, T. (2001). International distance education: Cultural and ethical issues. In Distance Education, 22(1), (pp. 122-36).
4. Fisher, G. (1997). Mindsets: The role of culture and perception in international relations. Yarmouth, USA: Intercultural Press Incorporated.
5. Gunawardena, C.N. and Lapointe, D. (2008). Social and cultural diversity in distance education. In T. Evans, M. Haughey, D. Murphy (eds.), International Handbook of Distance Education, (pp. 51-70). UK: Emerald Publishing.
6. Gudykunst, W.B. (2003). Issues in cross-cultural communication research. In W. B.Gudykunst (ed.), Cross-cultural and intercultural communication, (pp. 149-161). USA: Sage Publications.
7. Jarvenpaa, S.L. and Leidner, D.E. (1998). Communication and trust in global virtual teams. In Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 3(4), doi: 10.1111/j.1083-6101.1998.tb00080.x
8. Johnson, J.P.; Lenartowicz, T. and Apud, S. (2006). Cross-cultural competence in international business: toward a definition and a model. In Journal of International Business Studies, 37, (pp. 525-43).
9. Hofstede, G. (1983). Cultural dimensions for project management. In Project Management, 1(1), (pp. 41-48).
10. Hofstede, G. (1986). Cultural differences in teaching and learning. In International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 10, (pp. 301-320).
11. Hofstede G.’s website pages on cultural dimensions: http://www.geert-hofstede.com, http://geert-hofstede.com/russia.html, http://geert-hofstede.com/turkey.html, http://geerthofstede.com/poland.html
12. Koehn, P.H. and Rosenau, J.N. (2002). Transnational competence in an emergent epoch. In International Studies Perspectives, 3, (pp. 105-127).
13. Lindqvist, M. (2012). Intercultural communication at the work place: An explorative study using a phenomenological approach. Unpublished thesis. Lunds University.
14. McLuhan, M. (1964). Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. UK: Routledge.
15. McLuhan, E. & Zingrone, F. (1995). Essential McLuhan. UK: Routledge.
16. Müller-Pelzer, W. (2011). Intercultural competence: A phenomenological approach. In A. Witte & T. Harden (eds.), Intercultural Competence: Concepts, Challenges, Evaluations. Intercultural Studies and Foreign Language Learning. Vol. 10.
17. Schneider, A. (1995). Project management in international teams: instruments for improving cooperation. In International Journal of Project Management, 13(4), (pp. 247-51).
18. Toprak, E. (2006). Social constructivism and international cooperation in distance education. In TOJDE, 7(3), (pp. 174-183). http://tojde.anadolu.edu.tr/tojde23/index.htm
19. Van den Branden, J. and Lambert, J. (1999). Cultural issues related to transnational open and distance learning in universities: A European problem? In British Journal of Educational Technology, 30(3), (pp. 251-60).
20. Van Manen, M. (1990). Researching lived experience: Human science for an action sensitive pedagogy. The University of Western Ontario: Althouse Press.
21. Wang C.M. and Reeves, T.C. (2007). The meaning of culture in online education: Implications for teaching, learning and design. In A. Edmundson (ed.), Globalized e-Learning cultural challenges, (pp. 1-17). USA: Information Science Publishing.
22. Ziguras, C. (2008). Cultural and contextual issues in the evaluation of transnational distance education. In T. Evans, M. Haughey, D. Murphy (eds.), International Handbook of Distance Education, (pp. 639-651). UK: Emerald Publishing.