Date of Award

Winter 2005

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Engineering Management & Systems Engineering


Engineering Management and Systems Engineering

Committee Director

Charles Keating

Committee Member

Andreas Sousa-Poza

Committee Member

Rafael Landaeta

Committee Member

Oliver Hedgepeth


This exploratory case study dissertation examined multinational project teams' communication satisfaction as influenced by the project team's cultural attribute of power distance. Utilizing a exploratory case study, semi-guided interview research approach, ordinal scale data and open-ended contextual based question responses was obtained. This data was gathered from United States---Russia and Canada---Angola multi-national, complex, high technology oil transportation project teams. Triangulation data gathering techniques were utilized to obtain empirical data from multiple sources of data and multiple data types. Subsequent data analyses combined descriptive statistical analysis, graphical analysis, cluster analysis, and content analysis techniques to derive a theoretical construct of multi-national project team communications and the individual's power distance culture attribute interactions.

According to published literature, project team communication is affected by the individual member's culture. The literature also indicates that the greater the diversity of individual cultures, the greater the potential for unsatisfactory project communications. This research utilized two culturally polar multi-national project teams as identified by their national culture index. Focusing this research on culturally diverse project teams was supported from cross-cultural research literature that identifies the need to use 'polar' examples to develop new theoretical constructs. Relying on previously validated instruments, this empirical study analyzed these culturally polar project teams to identify how the project team communication satisfaction, as indicated by the participants, related to the identified individual cultures power distance index.

The research concluded that individual project team members' culture indexes did not reflect the extreme diversity that Hofstede indicated national origin culture indexes suggest. This finding indicates that for these case studies the ability to accurately predict a project team member's cultural index according to their nation of origin is low. The study also found that, overall, the project teams' rate project team communication satisfaction as satisfactory to very satisfactory. These findings and supporting published literature data generated the theoretical construct that these experienced, multi-national, project teams' exhibit a middle to low power distance cultural attribute with satisfactory project team communication. The findings also indicate that there is a positive relationship between the project team power distance index and project team communication satisfaction rating.