Document Type

Research Paper


This paper contributes to a better understanding and to mitigate negative consequences of cultural diversity in multinational IT project teams. Our research explores how culture-specific behaviors impact social capital among team members and how firms can manage the strains. In the existing IS culture literature, culture-specific behaviors are – if at all – traced back to single culture dimensions. In contrast, the approach proposed in this article goes one step further suggesting that it is necessary to combine several culture dimensions to better understand a certain culture-specific behavior and consequently be able to better manage resulting relationship problems in multinational settings. Conducting exploratory case studies in six multinational IT projects, two exemplary cultural behavior patterns (face maintenance in India and post-communism in the Czech Republic) are identified, and management actions to avoid project performance problems are derived. The results contribute to a better understanding and management of the negative impact of culture-specific behaviors in IT project teams and corroborate that research based on culture dimensions, such as those conceptualized by Hofstede or House et al., is valuable for understanding multi-country IS projects. The findings in particular suggest that aggregating these dimensions to cultural behavior patterns improves their explanatory power and consequently the management’s capability to mitigate the negative consequences of cultural diversity.