Conflicts in Cross-Cultural Teams

Topics: Culture, Cross-cultural communication, Conflict Pages: 9 (3306 words) Published: December 21, 2012
It is an open fact that the ability to communicate and effectively resolve conflict among various ethnic employees within an organization is a reality that management faces today. It is crucial for managers to learn how to address concerns voiced by individuals of a different background. This ensures that the organization will run smoothly and the employees' will be satisfied and confident that they are valued by the company. However, it is important to learn how to solve conflict related to these particular incidents. As the workplace expands to represent a wide range of ethnically diverse individuals, organizational leaders must learn to effectively resolve conflict related to specific cultural differences. With the globalization of the labor force, businesses are working with more culturally diverse employees and co-workers than ever before, which is a great experience and at the same time a challenge. Teams that are ethnically diverse have advantages over demographic homogeneous teams by adding new perspectives and inputs. This diversity can also cause conflict within the team; however this is not a problem as long as it is constructively handled. If the problems are not constructively handled then economic and employee dissatisfaction can arise, two of the main reasons why management must learn to gain conflict resolution skills. Many failures in international cooperation and conflict resolution seem to be related to communication problems and cultural differences. In other words, the establishment of realistic, proper and effective communication, based on mutual cultural understanding and on goodwill, would solve many national and international disputes. This work examines the contention that honest and effective communication, based on cultural understanding, would contribute positively to the solution appearing cross-cultural conflicts in teams.

1. Issues of Cross-Cultural Conflicts Appearing
The use of teams represents an important change in the way we work. The theory is that through the interdependency of the parts greater productivity is achieved by the whole. One reason that teams fail to meet performance expectations is their paralysis through unresolved conflict. Effective communication based on intercultural and political understanding communication can be considered one of the most pervasive problems among nation. Even within a single culture, communication tends to have many complex effects. Team members work in increasingly diverse environments: in terms of age (there are more older workers), gender (there are more women or men), race (there are more people of color), language (there are more languages spoken), and nationality (there are more immigrants). Beyond these differences, there are also deeper cultural differences that influence the way conflict is approached. When communication takes place between few cultures, these effects get even more complicated, primarily because they are symbolized in one context and transferred into another. The first thing to be said is that the development of team does not take place in a vacuum, but is embedded in the wider social, political and economic context of the day. The political situation of our presence affects on the way how do representatives of different cultures and countries display toward others. For example, it would not be appropriate to gather the team of people who takes a great interest to politics and are from America and Iran, Israel and Palestine, Pakistan and India etc. It is essential to remember that most development projects, political and technical assistance provided to developing countries do not take cultural and social factors into consideration. A lot can be learned from past experiences, such as the case of the failed technical assistance to Iran. In 1980 (a year after the Iranian Revolution), a seminar was organized by a number of American academics and advisers who had been trying for years to introduce...

References: 1. Paul Beamish, Allen Morrison and Andrew Inkpen, International Management (Boston: McGraw Hill, 2003), p.20l.
2. Rabi Bhagat et al., "Cultural Variations in the Cross-Border Transfer of Organizational Knowledge: An Integrative Framework," Academy of Management Review (April 2002), p.2O8.
3. Norman Daniel, The Cultural Barrier (Edinburgh: Western Printing Services Ltd., 1975), p.62.
4. Cultural Issues in Mediation: Individualist and Collectivist Paradigms,Walter A. Wright,
5. When You Can 't Get Through To Them: Cultural Diversity In MediationJosefina Muñiz Rendón,
6. John Seitz, "The Failure of U.S. Technical Assistance in Public Administration: The Iranian Case," Public Administration Review, Vol. 40. No. 5 (Sept/Oct. 1980), pp.407-413.
7. Neta Oren et al., "The Detrimental Dynamics of Delegitimization in Intractable Conflicts: The Israeli-Palestinian Case," International Journal of Intercultural Relations,-No. 3 (2007)
8. Douglas Medin et al.. Sacred Bounds on Rational Resolution of Violent Political Conflict. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), March I, 2007.
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