"Influence of Gender, Culture and Multiple Disciplines on the Project Group"
September 15, 2002
The gender, cultural background and disciplinary expertise are some of the factors that influence the roles within a project group. Managing these variations can often be a turning point in success (or failure) of a project. By recognizing these differences, groups can prevent potential disasters, as well as benefit from the joint capacities of all members. Proper understanding of these characteristics leads to a guidance of how the team communicates and where and when responsibilities are delegated. What makes some of the teams more successful than others? The simple answer to the question of a successful project team would be quality. The quality of understanding of the relationships among members and their backgrounds facilitates positive processes aiding the growth of a team as well as a progress of a project.
I will start with gender, as it is the most easily identifiable difference.
Toni Ricardi, Chief Diversity Officer of PricewaterhouseCoopers, points out that diversity has gone from being a reactive function of compliance to a proactive one of growth. "The keen interest in diversity within corporations is widespread and is focused on a bottom-line". (Business Women's Network, 2002). The diversity in thinking, which exists between the two [genders], is aiding the progress and efficiency of various projects through the formation of well-diversified and well-managed groups. Females and males have different patterns of approaches to work, behavior and communication. There exists discrepancy in the ways in which men and women express themselves and listen to others. Many of the gender conflicts can be avoided when these discrepancies are understood and properly dealt with within teams. Research done by Scherer and Petrick on the effects of gender role orientation in teams concludes: "Mixed-gender...