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Cultural barriers in Construction Management

For any project manager, understanding cultural barriers is important to ensuring a project will be completed successfully. For construction managers, who work with a variety of workers, understanding cultural barriers is vital to both day-to-day operations and ensuring the project workforce is functioning at their best.

It may seem difficult for a construction manager to learn how best to overcome cultural barriers. There are a number of complexities inherent to understanding various cultures. Fortunately, policies regarding inclusion and diversity are happening across the country, and are being presented in a straightforward and easy-to-understand manner.

Leading the way is the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), which has launched a campaign called “Culture of CARE” that focuses on creating a “diverse, safe, welcoming, and inclusive construction industry.”

Culture of CARE, which stands for Commit, Attract, Retain, and Empower, wants the construction workforce to ensure all construction employees have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

AGC reports that women and black members of the construction workforce are underrepresented compared to the U.S. workforce. The construction industry also has the highest rate of male suicide among U.S. workers. CARE is working to change those numbers through a pledge for companies and individuals to state they commit to encouraging a safe and diverse workforce.

Committing to increasing diversity and overcoming cultural barriers is especially important for construction project managers. Construction project managers are vital to reducing discrimination and overcoming barriers.

“They have served as a general gateway into the industry for many, including minorities like women and veterans,” reports Holly Welles, in her article Project Management Is Changing the Face of Construction.

Welles says that ways construction managers have an impact is through establishing cultural career development paths, enforcing diversity inclusion policies, and providing support communities for minorities.

CARE supports Welles suggestion, through emphasizing hiring practices and pay based on skill and experience and not race, ethnicity, or any other demographic trait. CARE also aims to create work environments that are free from harassment or bullying, remove barriers for advancement, and empower all employees to promote a culture of diversity and inclusion.

CARE offers a number of training materials for construction managers that focus on educating on implicit and unconscious bias; committing, building, and leading a culture of care; and human resources best practices.

Students studying construction management at Capitol Tech take courses in legal issues in construction, project management, safety management, and management of field operations. Graduates are well-positioned to address cultural barriers and other staffing-related topics as construction managers.

To learn more about Capitol Tech’s degree programs in Construction Management and Critical Infrastructure, contact