Construction - U.A.E.


Conflict resolution, intercultural cooperation, international team development


Construction - U.A.E.

The Task:

A major international construction project in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) was at risk and presented escalating management challenges. Senior management of the international construction conglomerate based in Central Europe became increasingly concerned. The construction project was delivered by five European companies and one company based in the U.A.E - all companies were part of the European conglomerate. Additionally, a local company acted as sub-contractor. Project managers and group leaders came from diverse cultures including those from Arab and Russian speaking countries. The project leader based on location in the U.A.E. did not share the view of senior management in Europe, confirmed however that the project was not on time, that the local client was not satisfied and that onsite conflicts were escalating.

The Solution:

Senior management invited 30 out of the 50 project managers and group leaders to a meeting in Dubai. Additionally, the two project leaders and a representative from each of the 5 companies participated in this team development program. Coverdale's team coaching, facilitation and conflict resolution approach uncovered quickly the root causes for the escalating challenges of the project.

Despite initial agreement on the necessary alignment of terms and conditions across the involved organizations for the workforce as well as communication and decision lines, the agreement had never been put into action. Subsequently there was no alignment: Project managers and group leaders increasingly pushed decisions up the line to their home organizations rather than as agreed to the onsite project leader. The line management back at home accepted the upward delegation of the decision rather than pushing back and involving the project leader.

Result: The authority of the onsite project leader deteriorated rapidly and escalating conflicts between staff from the different companies and with the project leadership could no longer be resolved.

After gaining awareness and clarity around the root causes with the entire group of workshop participants, Coverdale facilitated a new agreement between the top management and with project leadership on clear decision and communication lines. The authority of the project leadership was re-established and alignment could be achieved.

The Outcome:

Eliminating the root cause for conflict and misalignment, the team development and the improved communication improved the intercultural cooperation significantly. The critical relationship with the formerly dissatisfied customer could be repaired.