Cross Cultural differences in Approaches to Conflict

Successful conflict resolution comprises three aspects

  1. Desire and necessity for the conflict to be resolved
  2. Understanding of possible barriers to the resolution of the conflict
  3. The choice of method of conflict resolution.

1. Desire and necessity for the conflict to be resolved

To resolve cross-cultural conflicts or misunderstandings, community service and disability service workers need to be committed to resolving potential conflicts and take responsibility for bridging the cultural gaps.

They must:

  • Have self-awareness of their own cultural practice, including prejudice, stereotyping and bias
  • Understand various cultural factors contributing to cultural differences
  • Be sensitive and appreciate a migrant’s migration experience
  • Have a good knowledge of, and skills in, communication
  • Be able to work with interpreters
  • Be willing to accept and appreciate other cultures.

2. Understanding of possible resistances

During the conflict resolution process, you might experience internal resistance to recognition of problems or problem-solving.

This resistance may take the form of:

  • Resistance to examining your own values
  • Resistance to acknowledging your own cultural stereotyping or bias
  • Denial of the existence of conflict
  • Tendency to blame others for causing problems
  • Looking for the right time to deal with conflicts.
  • You must take prime responsibility for exploring the barriers and minimising this resistance to conflict resolution.

3. Methods of conflict resolution

Different people might accept different conflict resolution methods, so it is important to use methods or approaches that are suitable to all parties and enlist the help of acceptable people in resolving cross-cultural conflicts.

To resolve conflicts arising from cultural differences, you need to:

  • Identify the similarity and differences between your cultural practice and those of the person in conflict with you
  • Acknowledge the differences and attempt to balance the interests of both parties.

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