Project Culture in the Chinese Construction Industry: Perceptions of Contractors

Jian Zou
George Zillante
Vaughan Coffey


In recent years culture has become one of the most studied topicsin project management research. Some studies have investigatedthe infl uence of culture at different levels – such as nationalculture, industry culture, organisational culture and professionalculture. As a project-based industry, the construction industryneeds to have more insight concerning cultural issues at theproject level and their infl uence on the performance of constructionprojects. Few studies, however, have focused on culture at theproject level. This paper uses a questionnaire survey to determinethe perceptions of Chinese contractors about the impact of projectculture on the performance of local construction projects. This isaugmented by a series of in-depth interviews with senior executivemanagers in the industry. The fi ndings indicate that specifi c projectculture does contribute signifi cantly towards project outcomes.In particular, goal orientation and fl exibility, as two dimensionsof project culture, have a negative statistical correlation withperceived satisfaction of the process, commercial success, futurebusiness opportunities, lessons learnt from the project, satisfactionwith the relationships, and overall performance. This paper alsoindicates that the affordability of developing an appropriate projectculture is a major concern for industry practitioners.

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