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Trends and tendencies, or for some specific features of cross border project management

Zlateva Rumyana Stoikovа

general manager, PhD Demetra Development” LTD, Bulgaria, Shumen

Abstract: Abstract: This article focuses on the specificity of the cross-border project management, driven by the influence of the conditions during the team creation, the uniqueness of the manage-ment processes and the stages of team development. Special focus is set on ethical parameters as a basic point of project management. Particular attention is given to the additional opportunities provided by the cross-border teams, without ignoring the potential risks in their work.

Ключевые слова: project management, cross border project, binational team.

Библиографическое описание: Zlateva R.S. TRENDS AND TENDENCIES, OR FOR SOME SPECIFIC FEATURES OF CROSS BORDER PROJECT MANAGEMENT [Тема] // Экономическая наука в 21 веке: вопросы теории и практики: сборник материалов 7-й международной научно-практической конференции(19 апреля, 2015 г., г. Махачкала) / НИЦ «Апробация» — Махачкала: Издательство "Апробация", 2015 — С. 69-72

Development of the cross border cooperation in European Union and the realization of the projects for economic, social and territorial cohesion, determine the formation of many mainly binational teams. The professional behavior in project environment ensures the achievement of the target that provides the border regions got the smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

Tracking and analyzing the specific features of the non homogeneous composition of national team, the specifics of management practices and the specifics of the ethic side as its basic, got the essence for the adjustment of beneficiary organization to the new principles of management and communication, got the knowledge in accordance with the best European experience. It contributes for the efficiency of the project management as well gives the arguments for its execution.

The project is a conductor of changes in the organizations leading to closing of the management practices of the partners that realize it. The particularities of the process can be tracked by resolution of cross border project management tasks of macro and micro level. On macro level is necessary knowledge and use of specific tools in the interaction between national business cultures for initializing and realizing of initial contacts to clarify the investment intentions. Most often these are work meetings, discussions, negotiations and partnership for the implementation of the project proposals.

At a micro level it is necessary to use appropriate techniques for management and to increase the cross culture literacy of the team members. The hallmark of cross border projects – the presence of binational teams, provides expert interaction and integration of subjective knowledge of their members, which in terms of cross border project are being factors for effective results.

The marks of cross border project management arise under the influence of the conditions for creating the team, the uniqueness of the management processes and stages of development of the team in the time from its forming to the reforms, and ethic parameters as a keystone of project management.

The observations show that there are two possible forms of constructing the team, in each of them are observed particularities, advantages and disadvantages. According to their way of forming there are:

-             Project teams defined under influencing of the nationality of the leading partner. As a rule the construction is formed by the local, relative to the lead partner specialists. Perhaps the fact that the leading project partner takes the whole responsibility and obligation for performance and the management of the project, determines the practice, with almost without exception, the project manager to be the same nationality as the lead partner. In this case a maximum of two foreign specialist in the team are employed. The specificity is found in the composition, that is featured by a majority of local experts, a few foreign ones (in terms of lead partner) and among them almost no project mangers. The positive side is that the team of predominantly „local” specialists is well managed by a project manager from the same nationality. This prevents from culture imbalance under the leadership of a „foreigner” leading to frustration and failure of the members of the team to adapt. In the same time all benefits from working together with a harmonious and balanced management methods are utilized.

For example, the Cross border cooperation programme „Romania-Bulgaria” tries to stimulate the cooperation and jointness, as in 2007-2013 period the participation of partners from both countries is required, following the principle of the leading partner. Joint cross border projects must meet at least two of the following criteria: joint development/planning, joint implementation, joint staffing, joint financing. In the new programming period 2014-2020 the requirements are increased and require compliance with at least joint development and joint implementation, and besides, one of these two: joint financing or joint management. Additional points in the estimation are provided for observing all four criteria for cooperation. But after all, neither before nor now the joint management is among the forced conditions.

Aware „restriction” and the creation of the rules and values, first, is determinate by the ambitions to ensure an equal involvement of the partners in one project and the wish to use knowledge and skills in one level, in benefit of cross border community. Second, it’s associated with the need for partners to cooperate with each other and on the base of the experience to amend the system of values of the participating organizations.

-     Project teams, defined under influencing the planned activities. Their formation is dependent by the activities done, for which the organization can have either lack of attempt or human resources. This team supplies the beneficiaries, realizing projects, additional opportunities for development, viewed as an expert experience. Specifics of the composition of this team is that the leading principle in its establishment is the professional expertise of the members and the project manager. Its creation entails certain risks. It is possible not to be well received and understood by the partners. Or to be recognized not as „ours” but as „foreign” from both sides.

Its necessary, at the beginning of the team forming, to take into account the specifics, positive and negative aspects of the options for the specific needs of each project. Special place should be given to the potential of each of the teams. The additional opportunities, that the cross border teams ensure, no matters by which way they are formed, come in direction to:

-     imported in the organizations general, professional and specialized knowledge acquired in another culture;

-     operation with different combination to solve the problems and expand the choice of relevant knowledge;

-     understanding of any action as cooperation;

-     intensifying the exchange of knowledge, got in different cultures and increasing awareness.

Of course, there are certain risks, related to the binationality, in terms of:

-             mistakes, related to imperfect knowledge of the working language, the difference in the language platform, lack of knowledge about the project in local conditions and using inadequate references for getting the information;

-             Conflicts, related to discrepancy of expectations and knowledge of the team members, with these of the organizations;

-     lack of trust between partners;

-     mismatch in values in specialists of different nations.

Another specific features of the cross border project management is related with uniqueness of the management procedures and the dynamics of the development of the project team. This means to take into account the stages through which the team goes from its formation to its disbanding. The project teams are created from „zero”. A few are the cases when one or more members are included in already functioning team: it means that the stages in which partners are working, generally coincide. Positive influence gives the fact that the members of the teams know the period for which they are employed from the beginning and this gives them more security in the bicultural environment and leads to better adaptation.

In the modern literature on project management, the ethical side is not sufficiently discussed or is missing. But in management in bi- or multinational projects it is an obvious need of emphasizing. The observations show that in practice, the cross border teams got a selective ethics – same rules and regulations, once are taken into account from the members of the team and later can not be recognized as such, i.e. to be dismissed or ignored. This lack of a consensus for what is right and what is wrong is closely linked to the balance of the different measurement positions in the team, because the mental models of ethical behavior of the partners with various nationalities can be different. Even more – it’s possible to observe a gap in the understanding for ethical management in organizations as a whole. Therefore is necessary to provide maximum transparency and information about ethical standards.

The presence of these particularities, permit to formulate the following basic principles of cross border project management, driven by the binational team:

  1. Principle of sharing the information. The communication should not be difficult and de-motivate the organizations, realizing projects. Its necessary to have a direct relationship between partners, and as well not resend or deforms information.
  2. Principle of differentiated approach. He is showed in adapting to the national individuality of the partners. The team leader needs to have a cross culture sensitivity and care in the management of cross border project. The principle highlighted that in the team has not only people from certain nationalities, but also cultures, and should find their point of intersection, leading to optimization of project management.
  3. Principle of priority of the rules of the country in whose territory they operate. This does not mean ignoring the rules. The activities take place in both sides of the border and they are subject to the law of the country in which they are implemented.

And finally, summarizing the overviewed characteristics, could be underlined the fact that effective management of cross - border projects require announcing of delicate, variable and ethical parameters. General trends have an impact on getting the maximum synergy of investments, restructuring of individual knowledge into a common system.

Positive tendencies are observed in terms of:

-     Presence of different but not commonly exclusive perspectives belongs to different cultures and nationalities in support of effective realization of the project.

-     Shared responsibility for realizing the investment intentions;

-     Expression of personal knowledge of the team members.

Project teams are the face of beneficiary organizations to the border communities. Partnership based on ethics and continual communication, providing quality projects, giving the added value to the cross border regions as a whole, in the promotion of non - discrimination, equality between man and women and sustainable development, protecting the environment. In this case there is an obvious need for cross – cultural literacy and harmonization of methods for project management within the framework of cross border cooperation.



1. Interregional cooperation programme INTERREG Europe 2014-2020, [Electronic resource] – Access regime – URL: http://www.mrrb.government.bg/docs/de9da02239853bd87f669c2efdf209e.pdf.

2. Cross-border cooperation programme „Romania – Bulgaria”, 2007-2013. [Electronic resource] – Access regime – URL: www.eufunds.bg/document/26 (Retrieved 02.03.2015).

3. Cross-border cooperation programme Interreg V-A Romania – Bulgaria 2014-2020 [Electronic resource] – Access regime – URL: http://cbcromaniabulgaria.eu/user/file/Programme 2014.pdf (Retrieved 15.03.2015).

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