Wednesday, November 12, 2008

4th Interview: setting up a cross-cultural complex project consortium

1st order: The forth interview was held with the region’s general manager of a large research organization for applied sciences. It might be that he is soon involved in the establishment of a research consortium between organizations based in Europe and the Middle East. I asked him how such a project would be planned and organized. He explained that in this case the consortium would be an umbrella based on two pillars, one Arabic and one European. Each pillar would contain several organizations and is steered by one regional head organization respectively. In terms of managing this consortium a management team would be set-up again containing two heads, one representative for the Arabic part and one for the European part. Main tasks would be to organize conferences and meetings in order to bring people from the organizations together and establish contacts which hopefully lead to concerted projects. So to say the consortium project provides the infrastructure for a dialogue and sets the ground for future collaboration. Different cultures don’t seem to be a predominant issue, as long as you have each side organizing each sides’ events and the involved partners come just for a visit to meet the others.
Negotiation proceedings
I was told that collaborations, be them for doing business, projects, etc. start with a personal contact and are build on a personal contact. “You get to know the other person”. It’s rather collaboration between persons than organizations. Deciding to collaborate seldom happens after the first meeting. Usually, you have to introduce yourself and your organization in the first meeting. In the second meeting your opponent shares his visions and then in the consecutive meetings you agree on a cooperation model. (It doesn’t have to be exactly like this, but schematically this is how it works)

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