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Preparing Civil Engineers for International Collaboration in Construction Management

2011-07-01
Soibelman, Lucio
Sacks, Rafael
Akinci, Burcu
Dikmen Toker, İrem
Birgönül, Mustafa Talat
Eybpoosh, Matineh
Economic globalization is increasingly affecting both the construction industry and academia. It is changing the traditional roles of civil engineers and construction managers. Cross-cultural collaboration and communication skills, multinational team management skills, the ability to overcome the social challenges of geographically distributed teams, and familiarity with construction materials, standards, and methods of foreign countries are vital for modern construction professionals. However, the traditional skills and education style of engineers and construction managers do not equip them to successfully deal with such issues. This paper describes the experiences of a university course International Collaborative Construction Management that was developed to educate the next generation of civil engineers to be more internationally savvy. Throughout the three years that the course has been conducted to date, students in Turkey, the United States, Israel, and Brazil were grouped in multinational teams. They collaborated to develop construction schedules, cost estimates, risk assessment plans and response strategies and to prepare bid documents for actual construction projects. Within the context of this course, students were introduced to the different challenges of cross-cultural collaboration and improved their technical/managerial skills through direct involvement in hands-on experiences. DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)EI.1943-5541.0000044. (C) 2011 American Society of Civil Engineers.