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In the past, researchers have pointed out that project management is not universal but culturally sensitive. Researchers and practitioners have realized that developing scheduling techniques is not sufficient to achieve successful engineering projects. Communication behaviour is also a critical cultural issue for achieving project success. In this article, the communication behaviour of Chinese project managers is assessed in a cultural context and the communication behaviour effect on five project activities (project communication, negotiation, conflict solving, contract process and team building) is studied. This is an empirical study using surveys to explore the cultural differences between Chinese and South African engineering project managers on communication behaviour and the effects on the five project management activities in construction industry. Although, the questionnaire is designed based on Chinese culture, South African project managers have also been asked to participate in order to illustrate the differences where applicable. There are significant differences between the Chinese and South African project managers in their communication behaviour on three project activities. However, during the contract process, there seems to be no significant difference between their communication behaviours.
Date of Conference: 18-22 July 2010