Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
Christopher B. Jones
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) formed public-private partnerships (PPPs) with local and international private companies during the construction of the Port of Miami Tunnel (POMT) project. These PPPs had employees from different cultural backgrounds who brought new cultures, ideas, innovation, and experiences to their PPPs. The limited PPP literature did indicate that different cultures should be properly integrated to avoid challenges and conflicts in the new organization. If not properly managed and integrated, cultural conflict can create communication problems, increased employee dissatisfaction, higher turnover, and poor employee performance. Using Risberg's communication theoretical foundation, the purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of PPP employees to see how their intercultural communication facilitated cultural integration. Data were generated through semi-structured, open-ended interviews with 11 employees of the PPPs formed with FDOT during the POMT project. Data were coded and analyzed using a thematic analaysis procedure. Findings were that cultural aspects like social interaction, comfort in interacting with people from different cultures, empathy, respect for others, knowledge about other cultures, open-mindedness, and managerial support helped in facilitating cultural integration in the respective PPPs. Positive social change implications may include the improvement of PPP efficiency and efficacy with: greater leadership awareness of the challenges and opportunities of diversity; new policies and management strategies that take advantage of different cultural contributions; and, policies that encourage cultural competency and sensitivity.