Research Paper: Multinational Project Management

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Multinational Project Management: Recommendations for Coca-Cola

Leading projects on a multinational basis requires a unique series of cultural and transformational skills that are critically important for balancing the traditional constraints of project management on the one hand and achievements of strategic objectives on the other. For Coca-Cola, the success of multinational projects is predicated on the ability to balance the constraints of time, cost and quality of project completion with the attainment of challenging, strategically important project objectives (Khang, Moe, 2008). There can be significant cultural constraints or barriers to accomplishing this strategic balance on projects while still keeping each phase of the project lifecycle; progressing forward (Khang, Moe, 2008). The nature of reporting relationships, hierarchical vs. collectivist views of project management and leadership best practices, and the wide variation in Project Management (PM) values and beliefs compared to Chinese values and beliefs all contribute to higher levels of project risk and lower probabilities of success (Wang, Liu, 2007). For Coca-Cola, the challenge quickly extends beyond the purely theoretical and technical aspects of project management, which are increasingly be automated today and engrained into organizations' cultures (Mattia, 2011). The challenge is to create a culture that nurtures and grows project management leaders who have the ability to manage the more technical aspects of project management while having the emotional intelligence (EI) and transformational leadership to quickly navigate project teams based in cultures and nations entirely different than their own (Clarke, 2010).

Creating a Foundation of Project Management Leadership in Coca-Cola

In completing the literature review for this analysis, the most prevalent best practice that continued to emerge from the study of project management techniques and strategies is the ability to manage expectations of stakeholders (both external and internal to the organization) throughout each phase of the project lifecycle (Khang, Moe, 2008). The ability of a project manager to navigate through a complex multinationals-based project and retain the support, trust, insight and guidance from key stakeholders was the single greatest critical success factor across globally-based projects (Khang, Moe, 2008) in addition to those specifically based in China (Wang, Liu, 2007). Managing a Global New Product Development (GNPD) team that requires high levels of EI, excellent transformational leadership skills and the ability to determine when and how to use high and low-context cultural leadership techniques underscore just how critical it is for Coca-Cola to create a culture that nurtures this level of project management excellence (Barczak, McDonough, Athanassiou, 2006). Like project management, the GNPD process can be taught as a skill. Yet the ability to interpret correctly and respond with EI combined with stronger transformational leadership skills will require Coca-Cola to invest more heavily into the development of Project Management leaders. Only by creating a culture of project management excellence will Coca-Cola be able to meet the increasingly diverse and disruptive project management requirements of operating globally (Mattia, 2011). Ultimately these internal training programs will need to blend the technical aspects of project management with the more critical leadership skill sets including how to transition from being authoritarian or transactional in leadership mindset to being transformational and having a strong contextual insight and acuity of perception to a given project team's performance (Barczak, McDonough, Athanassiou, 2006). Simply creating a project management "factory" that produces project managers to be assigned globally will not be enough for Coca-Cola to be effective in accomplishing long-term project management goals. What's needed is a cultural framework within Coca-Cola itself to serve as the transformational foundation for recruiting, training and refining the skills of project management leaders. For project management to become a core competency in any organization, a cultural shift often must occur, with the role of emotional intelligence, transformational leadership skills and enhanced communication skills honed over time (Holti, 2011). Case studies of organizations that create this level of integration between leadership, innovation and management development have a higher level of project management goal attainment when compared to those organizations that don't, on a longitudinal basis (Crawford, Nahmias, 2010).

The greatest challenge Coca-Cola project managers will face globally is the daunting task of orchestrating the critical success factors of keeping projects moving forward through ach phase, while also keeping stakeholders invested and owning the project process as well (Khang, Moe, 2008). Being able to create, sustain and leadership relationships with stakeholders within adn outside the company is the single greatest critical success factor for mitigating… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Multinational Project Management.  (2012, May 27).  Retrieved September 15, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/multinational-project-management/544347

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