National culture influences on the execution of GCC megaprojects

Walsh, A and Walker, PA ORCID: 2020, National culture influences on the execution of GCC megaprojects , in: COBRA at ARES 2020, 14 – 18 April 2020 (Cancelled due to COVID-19), Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort and Spa - Fort Myers, Florida, USA. (Unpublished)

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Access Information: This paper was accepted for presentation at conference but the conference was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.


Megaproject research has tended to focus on size, complexities, budget overruns and late delivery, whereas other influences on megaprojects delivery, such as cultural impacts are less well studied. Work by others has considered such forces in megaprojects in Asia, Europe and Central America and these studies have addressed the mostly negative tension a lack of cultural congruence has placed on the project execution. There remains a significant research gap to examine such impacts in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and this paper looks to address this knowledge gap. In 2020, there are over 200 megaprojects in different stages of execution in the GCC, with a forecast construction expenditure approaching $800 billion. Over 150 western consultants serve this market and frequently report problems relating to high staff turnover and staff retention. This research investigates whether national culture influences the departure of western consultant's staff, thus curtailing their ability to perform. A detailed case study examines these cultural experiences, focusing on the experience of senior staff members, as recounted in a series of structured interviews during 2018/19. This case study identifies significant impacts and proposes an agenda for further research focusing on exploring cultural influences at social and professional levels. The initial case study finds that western consultants are generally ill-prepared for cultural differences in the GCC. The initial research indicates that cultural issues are a factor that contributes to a high turnover of consultancy staff. This suggests that cultural misalignment could contribute to commercial losses for western consultants, which may include both financial and intangible losses. The hidden costs include such factors as disruption or delay to service delivery, which in turn contributes to the deferred execution of affected megaprojects. Although further research is required, initial findings indicate that cultural awareness training and preparation can go some way to support greater cultural congruence. Keywords: Influences on megaprojects, GCC cultural influences, megaproject culture.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment
Journal or Publication Title: COBRA at Ares 2020 (Conference cancelled due to COVID-19)
Publisher: Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
Depositing User: Professor Peter Walker
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2020 10:02
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 04:18

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