Understanding Cross-cultural Management

CHAPTER 17 CONFLICTS AND CULTURAL DIFFERENCES
• Concept 17.1: Understanding & dealing with conflicts

Slide 17.1

Browaeys and Price, Understanding Cross-cultural Management, 1st Edition, © Pearson Education Limited 2009

The nature of conflict
• A conflict appears when people with differing needs or goals are prevented – or perceive that they are being prevented – by others in achieving these needs or goals • Realistic Group Conflict theory: source of intergroup conflict is struggle over (limited) structural resources, not personal characteristics. Labor, land, oil, food (social psychology theory) • Social identity theory: conflict between groups is seen to be the result of perceived identities. Being different to another-in group vs out group behaviour
Browaeys and Price, Understanding Cross-cultural Management, 1st Edition, © Pearson Education Limited 2009

Slide 17.2

1st Edition. Own culture centeredness “ Do as the Romans!! • Uses concept of ‘self-construal’. © Pearson Education Limited 2009 .3 • Ting-Toomey (cross-cultural) conflict involves: – (cultural) groups protecting their own self-image.The nature of conflict (2) Slide 17. Understanding Cross-cultural Management. Hutterites – intercultural perceptions coloured by ethnocentrism and stereotypes.how people perceive themselves Browaeys and Price.

© Pearson Education Limited 2009 . Understanding Cross-cultural Management. interdependent selfconcepts more prevalent in collectivistic cultures Slide 17. creative solutions (Western) – Those with an interdependent sense of self see conflict as negative and unproductive: a conflict process is only satisfactory if the ‘faces’ of both parties have been saved in addition to a productive agreement (East Asia) • Independent self-concepts found more often in individualistic cultures.The nature of conflict (3) • Ting-Toomey distinguishes between – Those with an independent sense of self welcome communication in the conflict process. if both parties are open: this may bring tangible.4 Browaeys and Price. 1st Edition.

5 . Understanding Cross-cultural Management.Conflict styles: dual concern models • Conflict style: ‘patterned responses or clusters of behavior that people use in conflict’ • Dual concern model by Blake and Mouton based on two dimensions: ‘concern for production’ and concern for people’ • Thomas and Kilman model (1974): based on two factors in a person’s conflict style: – assertiveness: ‘the extent to which the individual attempts to satisfy his or her own concerns’ – cooperativeness: ‘the extent to which the individual attempts to satisfy the other person’s concerns’ Browaeys and Price. © Pearson Education Limited 2009 Slide 17. 1st Edition.

Conflict handling modes H I G COMPETING H COLLABORATING COMPROMISING AVOIDING L O W LOW concern for other CO-OPERATIVENESS HIGH ASSERTIVE NESS concern for self ACCOMMODATING Figure 17. © Pearson Education Limited 2009 . Understanding Cross-cultural Management. p.1 Two-dimensional taxonomy of conflict handling modes Source: Thomas & Kilman (1974).6 Browaeys and Price. 1st Edition. 11 (adapted) Slide 17.

Understanding Cross-cultural Management. either in terms of concern for self or concern for the other.Criticism of such dual concern models Can such a dual concern model handle the increasing complexity of modern-day disputes? • Room for manoeuvre is limited (legislation and financial restrictions) • Communication during conflict is not always direct. Slide 17.7 Browaeys and Price. © Pearson Education Limited 2009 . so face-to-face resolution not possible • Such a model is focused solely on outcome of the conflict. 1st Edition.

not just goal? Leung.Relationship.8 Browaeys and Price. Understanding Cross-cultural Management. (2002) propose the introduction of harmony into the model: concerns itself with the relationship between the self and the other • Harmony: focus on using a conflict-free relationship to achieve a goal • NB: conflict avoidance can cause equal harm in a more subtle manner: replacing genuine problem. © Pearson Education Limited 2009 . 1st Edition. K. et al.solving with superficial harmony Slide 17.

9 Browaeys and Price. emotions and conflict Kumar distinguishes between: • ‘Ego-focused’ emotions such as anger. pride and guilt. 1st Edition. © Pearson Education Limited 2009 . Understanding Cross-cultural Management. anxiety and fear.Culture. related to the (in-) ability to show oneself as belonging to the social context • In negotiation conflict: – those with negative ego-focused feelings will put pressure on their opponents to make concessions – those experiencing other-focused may adjust their expectations to get an agreement Slide 17. linked to the (non-)fulfilment of individual goals • ‘Other-focused’ emotions such as shame.

Understanding Cross-cultural Management.10 Browaeys and Price. © Pearson Education Limited 2009 . emotions and conflict (2) The extra dynamics arising during an encounter between disputants from different cultures • those from individualistic cultures more ready to overcome an impasse • negotiators from collectivist cultures more likely to share the same perception of a given event and will: – find it difficult to suggest a way round an obstacle – may not openly make emotional individual responses – may attempt to restore personal composure and thus harmony. Slide 17. 1st Edition.Culture.

Culture. with one side attempting to force a resolution and the other withdrawing from any interaction. (2000) advocate the inclusion of emotional expression in ThomasKilman’s model to account for the many subtleties in conflict management. Understanding Cross-cultural Management. © Pearson Education Limited 2009 . emotions and conflict (3) What if conflict occurs between people from individualistic and collectivistic cultures? • Emotions could drive them even further apart. Slide 17. 1st Edition. • Ting-Toomey et al.11 Browaeys and Price.

p.2 An Eight-Style Conflict Grid: An Intercultural Approach Browaeys and Price. 1st Edition.160 Slide 17.Intercultural approach to conflict Dominating S E L F F A C E H I G H Neglect (Passive Aggressive) Integrating Emotional Expression C O N C E R N L O W Third-Party Help Compromisin g Avoiding Obliging LOW OTHER FACE CONCERN HIGH Figure 17. © Pearson Education Limited 2009 Source: Ting-Toomey & Oetzel (2002).12 . Understanding Cross-cultural Management.

1st Edition. © Pearson Education Limited 2009 .13 Browaeys and Price.Management of conflict The way conflicts are addressed can vary considerably from culture to culture. Understanding Cross-cultural Management. These differences relate to: • the degree to which disagreement is acceptable and therefore the extent to which conflict is tolerated • the strategies to be adopted when dealing with conflicts • the moment when the manager needs to intervene and the way he intervenes Slide 17.

1st Edition. face issues Slide 17. © Pearson Education Limited 2009 . Understanding Cross-cultural Management.Mindfulness Ting-Toomey (1999) suggests that skills to do with mindfulness can enhance conflict management: • mindful reframing – ‘translate’ (non-) verbal messages from the context of the other’s cultural viewpoint – re-set priorities after mindfully observing and listening to the viewpoints and expectations of their opponents • collaborative dialogue – grasp the cultural and personal elements involved – get the others to talk about expectations.14 Browaeys and Price.

© Pearson Education Limited 2009 . even if a strong divergence of opinion results in conflict • concern for face : across all ethnic groups. honesty and sincerity. • subordinates will never confront their superior. respect. • concern for others: generosity. rather they will be unco-operative and eventually resign themselves to the way their boss behaves. being upright and caring.15 Browaeys and Price. a ‘neutral senior’ clarifies key issues. 1st Edition.Managing conflict in Malaysia Core values: durability of personal relations. Slide 17. Understanding Cross-cultural Management. • respect for seniority: in some conflicts a third person.

a third party (traditionally a respected elder) is called upon to mediate Slide 17.16 Browaeys and Price. 1st Edition. © Pearson Education Limited 2009 .reflects the social harmony in this country. • Smile hides feelings in public: self-discipline to maintain status. A Thai smiles in pleasant and stress-filled situations. but Thais are more ‘relationship-oriented’ than ‘results-oriented’ • Conflict is rarely regarded as either positive or negative: if a conflict arises.Managing conflict in Thailand • The name Thailand – ‘The Land of Smiles’ . Understanding Cross-cultural Management. prestige and face: concept of ‘jai yen’ (‘cool heart’) derived from Buddhism • Individualism quite predominant.

Understanding Cross-cultural Management. © Pearson Education Limited 2009 .Managing conflict in (South) Korea • Korea. 1st Edition. strategy is comparable to Western competitive approach Slide 17.17 Browaeys and Price. reflects in a way the differences and similarities between western and eastern attitudes to conflict • Koreans prefer a non-competitive (or nondominating) strategy in face-to-face conflict situation • Prefer to use a superior or authoritarian personality to resolve conflict • Differentiate between in-group and out-group situations: when dealing with out-groups.

Mediation and conflict transformation • In Asia Pacific: the mediator deals with concerns of group as a whole. personal characteristics. legitimacy rests on – their social status within the group – their knowledge of traditions.18 Browaeys and Price. Understanding Cross-cultural Management. © Pearson Education Limited 2009 . 1st Edition. • In West: the mediator’s task is tightly focused: authority defined more in terms of their expertise and experience • The mediator can: – reframe the content and process issues of both parties – transform the whole conflict in terms of the attitudes and behaviour of those involved Slide 17.

then transforming behaviour – then transforming the actual conflict in question by pinpointing incompatibilities and removing them – transformations at personal. © Pearson Education Limited 2009 . social and structural level – a radical process which changes the whole nature of the relationship between warring parties Slide 17.Conflict transformation (1) • This idea of conflict transformation involves: – first transforming attitudes. Understanding Cross-cultural Management.19 Browaeys and Price. 1st Edition.

© Pearson Education Limited 2009 . AND – perceive the process in terms of those with whom they are in contention Slide 17. 1st Edition. Understanding Cross-cultural Management.20 Browaeys and Price.Conflict transformation (2) • Mediation can be an instrument of transformation • But third-party intervention is not necessary if the parties involved are: – prepared to perceive the conflict process in terms of their own assumptions.

Conclusion • Conflict style related to – Concern for self – Concern for others • Mediation and/or collaborative dialogue can promote conflict resolution • Cultural transformation of personal. 1st Edition.21 Browaeys and Price. social and structural factors can promote conflict resolution further Slide 17. © Pearson Education Limited 2009 . Understanding Cross-cultural Management.

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