Literature ReviewGenderProject performance could be measured by looking at several factors that could lead to stakeholders understanding why some projects are successful or unsuccessful. Amongst these factors; gender and cultural differences also need to be considered.
Martin (2000) argues that gender related topics or studies have not been fully addressed or researched.Instead, gender has become neutralised and hasn’t been considered as one of the factors determining project success and failures. There isn’t enough literature that critically explores the relationship that gender and cultural differences has with project management.
Smith (2000) identifies some of the reasons why there is gender disproportion. Smith (2000) goes on further to state that differences in education, work experience, training and hours worked determines the authority level in males and females. Smith (2000) states that males do get more financial returns than females in work environments.However, Rudman and Phelan (2008) argue that for women to become recognised as great leaders they would have to leave behind female notions; they go on further to state that women who are highly driven and highly ambitious are perceived in a negative light. It is important to understand that each project is different and also that different project require different approaches to management procedures which can aid to the success of the project (Crawford et al., 2005). With globalisation on a continuous rise, globalised has also become globalised making project and project management even more diverse.
Hence, intercultural challenges are faced by project managers (Muller and Turner, 2004). Through the emergence of globalisation in project management encouraged professional project management bodies to recognise the diversity within project management. Muller and Turner (2007) argues that though there is recognition of this ‘diversity’ there is a need for different management approaches as the literature published does not challenge whether the different success criterias are relevant to different projects.
Muller and Turner (2007) research findings revealed that there were no differences in ‘either rating of success of events nor in the performance of the project against the theme based on gender as male and female project managers were equally good at delivering successful projects’. However, project success criterias showed that there were differences in rating success of project based on age as this was due to ‘growing confidence through experience’ Muller and Turner (2007).A vast number of researchers have pointed out that ‘new organisation forms and managerial practices within project management in particular have risen (Legault, and Chasserio 2012) 05/2010) in knowledge intensive firms (Barley and Kuda, 2004 get ref). In 2001, research was conducted in Canada, Europe and United States; found that 20% of the workforce in the IT sector were female (Legault, and Chasserio 2010). Another research based in North America (Centre of Work-Life Policy) found that 74 of women in technology stated they ‘loved their job’ however 56% of women in technical mid-level management jobs leave their positions due to poor recognition and long hours. Ainsworth & Ainsworth (2013) analysed results from ‘360 degree feedback data’ which consisted of ‘14,000 UK leaders and managers to investigate the the degree of differences in male and female managers/leaders against a set of of ‘eighteen leadership competences’. The findings indicated that males and females excel differently when it comes to leadership.
Males managers and leaders’ leadership style are more strategic ‘s and visionary whereas female leaders and managers’ leadership style is more social. This suggest that women are better at prioritising and multitasking than men, women meet deadlines and deliver on promises (Rodríguez et al 2017). Rodríguez et al.
, (2017) also stated that women are able to empathise with others as they are socially sensitive and are also good listeners. On the other hand, Rodríguez et al., (2017) also states that male managers/leaders are “good at making strong first impressions, expressing views with confidence, making their presence felt and being visible across the organisation”. Increase of diverse talent, increase visibility ‘Teri Okoro*’ (Okoro 2006) encourages project management bodies such as the APM Women in Project Management (WIPM) to increase diverse talent and increase visibility amongst young women so that there can be an increase in females number of females in project management roles.
It is stated that the “participation levels of women in the profession are only altering slowly – still at a level of only about a quarter nationally, and less still within the Association” (Okoro 2006). As a result “in 2015, the group produced its first video (WIPM, 2015) aimed at the 13 – 21 age range featuring project managers from diverse industries as airlines, logistics, space industry and construction”(Okoro 2006). (Okoro 2006) stated that an initiative was introduced in order to give these young women information on the ‘profession and entry routes, as well as biographies of the featured project managers’. This was done in order to increase visibility and awareness to women who would like to learn more about becoming a project manager, to learn more about project management, and also attract diverse talent. As a result, (Okoro 2006) states that this initiative now has a more diverse range of project managers who contribute in articles and has also “increased visibility of women project managers at all levels of their careers as well as their professional achievements creates positive role models”.Culture and Diversity Cultural values play an important role in everyone’s life and they hold their core beliefs and how they make sense of the world around them. This also includes work environments; as a result, having difference in cultures can might lead to an excellent execution of a project or poorly executed project. Aside from gender and age, cultural differences also vary depending on individuals (Nisbett and Miyamoto, 2005).
Projects have always been an international phenomenon more and more, organisation employ people from all walks of life who have different cultural beliefs as well as planning events in different parts of the world.Miller et al (2000) states that having heterogenous and homogenous project teams have its own advantages and disadvantages. Miller et al (2000) stated that heterogenous project teams (teams consisting of people from different cultures, ages and ethnicities) perform better than homogenous project teams.
As a result, this suggests that heterogenous project teams are more likely to have better project performance as they can bring forth fresh ideas, be more innovative and communicate better especially in a non-verbal manner (Miller et al, 2000) Women in upper management roles Henderson et al. (2013) states that the increase in women in upper management roles is at a halt, leaving a lot of questions to be asked; especially when we are leaving in a era where legal, cultural and generational expectations regarding gender representation within the work environment are changing.The reasons to this halt in increase of women in upper management roles may have been caused by ‘regression to culturally-embedded, traditional modes of gender behaviour in response to high uncertainty and ambiguity in today’s organizations’ (Ridgeway, 2011) and second-generation forms of gender bias that are just as powerful as in the past, yet more invisible due to enduring cultural beliefs about gender roles both in the larger society and in organizations (Ely et al., 2011).Henderson et al. (2010) continues to then state that ‘women with a project management profession face difficulty entering into a particular role (upper management) of an established project manager’.
‘The US-based project management institute’s (PMI) 2008 “Pulse of the Professional Survey” show that only 32 percent of project management professionals (PMP) are women, with 68 percent men’ (Henderson et al.,2010, pg.762). Project Performance Leadership skills Henderson et al (2010) recommended that businesses supported women in project management with leadership development program which will be structured for female project managers specifically.Ely et al. (2011), based on their in-depth research with women within the business environment, believe that this gender specific leadership program integrates three important principles:(1) situated topics and tools in an analysis of second-generation gender bias;(2) the creation of a holding environment to support women’s identity work; and(3) methods for anchoring participants on their leadership purpose.Rodríguez et al (2017) states thats project-based companies such as construction and energy are still very male dominated. As a result, females continue to be underrepresented in these companies .
Successful project managers need characteristics such as decision makings, collaborative leading, conflict management and integrative thinking skills to name a few ( Hauschildt et al, 2000). According to Duong & Skitmore (2003) there is a correlation between the characteristics mentioned above and gender: Interpersonal communication Snyder et al (1996) states that interpersonal communication is a vita skills needed in a project manager, he goes on further to menton that female project managers possess this skill and ‘non verbal communication’ more than their male colleagues. TeamworkBohlen et al (1998) carried out a study on female project managers in the US and found that the female project managers were more capable of working in a team and also promoting teamwork. Also a UK study by Cartwright and Gale (1995) supported Bohlen et al (1998) as the findings showed that women had better management styles compared to men, they had the utmost respect for people in the project team, they respected their tasks and work, the women took a more optimistic/positive approach to business. Female project managers ‘have a more heightened sense of awareness and a greater sense of cultural incongruence and gender exclusion'( Bohlen et al., 1998).
Carmichael(1995) highlights the importance of ‘team-oriented approach to management and the transformational management style of female managers when working in project-based environments’. Influence and sensitivity Vilkinas & Cartan 13 argued that females were better at exerting influence on their boss and more sensitive in caring for staff and showing concern than males. They are more capable in interpreting problems and bringing order to their area and are better in maintaining tight control – crucial areas in project management.