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Prevention and Early Resolution of Workplace Conflict
“Unmanaged conflict is the largest reducible cost in organizations today,
and the least recognized.“
— Dan Dana (quoted 1988 ... 2014)

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Conflict in Multicultural Organizations

Free Newsletter — Subscribe to the MTI Monthly, a noncommercial opt-in/out newsletter for all who share an interest in conflict and its management:


Edited by Melissa Zarda. See other bibliographies.
Contributors: Ed Beaupre, Utpal Parekh, Meredith Webster, Maria Angarita, Scott Kosswig, Antoine Geffriaud

Copyright restriction: The contents of this bibliography may not be placed on other websites, but links from other websites may be directed to this page. Hardcopies of this page may be printed for academic purposes.

  • Blair, D. (2004). Multicultural competency and multicultural conflicts encountered by entry level Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences & Engineering, 64(7-B), 3228.

The study examines the multicultural conditions of entry level Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (CTRSs). Analyze the demographic difference and compare the multicultural conditions between the CTRS and other disciplines. And from the results confirm the cultural conflict in the therapeutic recreation practice, in terms of ethnic difference, language difficulties, lifestyle issues, as well as difference approaches to resolve cultural conflicts.

  • Cheng, M. ( 2002). Person-formation of Chinese cross-cultural women missionaries from Hong Kong. ; Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities & Social Sciences, 62(10-A), 3453.

The training of missionary students in terms of spiritually, emotionally, and socially, creates an international adaptable person. However by evaluating the Chinese women missionaries, it reports that the social feature is a difficult issue for them. And suggest a future study about Chinese missionaries in terms of cross cultural conflict management.

  • El-Nawawy, M. (2001). Culture and Conflict in the Middle East: Western Correspondents' Perceptions of the Egyptian and Israeli Cultures.

This article highlights the importance of considering cultural diversity to reach a clear understanding of a conflict. The author illustrates his theory using a comparison between the Egyptian and the Israeli cultures on aspects such as languages and religions. He also describes the important role played by western correspondents' familiarity with both countries' cultures to enable the transmission of information between the two parties that might result in a decrease in cultural misunderstanding.

  • Ford, John (2001). Cross Cultural Conflict Resolution on Teams.

The use of teams is designed to take advantage of the sum of the parts being a much stronger whole. In essence, working in teams can have many setbacks, due primarily to cultural obstacles which must be overcome before progress can be made. As a team forms and norms, a successful team should be comfortable dealing with conflict, and should learn from their experiences with conflict. Teams will most certainly be multi-cultural. With this in mind, efforts should be made to approach all situations in the same manner, approaching all situations as though they are cross cultural in nature.

  • Graham, B. & Pulvino, C., (2000). Multicultural conflict resolution: development, implementation and assessment of a program for third graders. Professional School Counseling, 3, 172-182.

This article describes the process in which a conflict management system was specifically designed to teach children about interacting with others and respecting cultural differences. Third grade children were trained in this system over a period of a few weeks in their homeroom class. They were given a series of pre and post tests. The results showed that training the children in this system, which included a multicultural component, had a positive outcome on a student's ability to manage conflict.

  • Green, M.Z. (2005). Addressing Race Discrimination Under Title VII After Forty Years: The promise of ADR As Interest-Convergence. Harvard Law Journal (Spring 2005).

This article focuses on racial discrimination under Title VII and how the current systems of litigation and legal enforcement should no longer be the focus. Instead, the author suggests rooting out racial conflict in the workplace by establishing more systematic alternative dispute resolution (ADR) activities. These activities must include "interest-convergence" in that both the majority and minority would benefit from the proposed system of resolution.

  • Jandt, F & Pedersen, P. (1996) Constructive conflict management: Asia-Pacific cases. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Discusses how conflict between cultures can be successfully resolved by businesses and individuals (micro level) and by government and non-goverment organizations (macro level). As well as the article describes models of conflict management in the cultural context, and explains that conflict is not a limitation, it is an opportunity to grow and succeed.

  • Kazak, A. (1993). Confrontation in the Middle East: Sources of Pessimism and Optimism.

This article describes the importance of considering ethnic and cultural dimensions while defining a process to resolve the conflict between Israel and Palestine. The author also analyzes the main obstacles to the conflict resolution such as the divergent interests and goals of the opponents and the roles played by external western or eastern nations.

  • Lynn, Richard. The secret of the miracle economy: Different national attitudes to competitiveness and money. London: Social Affairs Unit.

The book presents study of university students from 43 countries about attitudes to work. The objective is determinate the national differences in work attitudes that allow any relation of economic progress and per capita incomes. Another theories express that the relationship exist but base on inadequate test. For that reason the main objective of this study is to test those kinds of theories.

  • McAlearney, A., Fisher, D., Heiser, K., Robbins, D & Kelleher, Kelly. (2005). Developing Effective Physician Leaders: Changing Cultures and Transforming Organizations. Hospital Topics, 83(2).

The article studies the transformational change of the cultural conflict between clinical care and organization leadership. And explains how the Columbus Children's Hospital, introduce the new medical leadership development program as result academic and community physicians develop leadership skills such as curriculum design, program monitoring and opportunities to apply the new skills.

  • Mccray, J. & Renee, C. (2000). An exploratory study of multiculturalism in middle school education and its effect on cultural relations.

Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences & Engineering, 61(3-B), 1695.
Minorities have been growing all over United States. However if students' population is changing the teacher population is not. Therefore to improve the learning environment, it is important for educators to know the diversity of the students and introduce new pedagogical method. This dissertation explains multiculturalism in middle school and their consequences on cross-conflict management.

  • Morris, M. (2005) When Culture Counts--and When It Doesn't. Negotiation, 3-5.

Examines during a negotiation the relevance of cultural conflicts while taking a decision. Base on the experiment of Eric Knowles of Stanford University and his colleagues where participants had to create an impression of a speaker while they are performing different tasks; it demonstrates that distraction can lead to cultural schemas. As well as emotional stress because long-term expatriates behave with their native habits if they feel in danger.

  • Pedersen, P. (1995). Non-Western concepts of multicultural conflict management applied to migration issues. Communication & Cognition, 28(4), 387-408.

Euro-American population is expose to migrant population, generating cultural conflict. But base in the chaos theory and the complexity theory, show a different approach where tolerance is the objective to succeed rather than trying to moderate the differences between cultures. Models of conflict management from Japan and Hawaii demonstrate to be more tolerant of ambiguity compare to Euro- American. It recommends a "Cultural Grid" where expectations are alienated from behaviors to manage multicultural conflicts.

  • Rao, A., Southard, S. & Bates, C. (2005) Cross-cultural Conflict and Expatriate Manager Exploratory Study. Technical Communication, 52 (1), 106-103.

When employees are expatriate they have conflicts generated by stress and discomfort. And one of the reasons why expatriate returned to their countries is the poor cross-cultural adaptation. The study presents how to improve the adaptation process by offering not only cultural facts, also interpersonal skills like active listening, conflict management and ethnical reasoning. Recommend the expatriate visit the new country before star working to recognize the new culture and the norms of the workplace.

  • Tzeng, O & Everett, A. (1985). A cross-cultural perspective of self-related conceptions in adolescence. International Journal of Psychology, 20(3), 329-348.

The study compares adolescents from 30 language/culture communities in terms of similarity and difference of intercultural conceptions about 5 social areas (economy, social and sexual identities, work, and a philosophy of life). The data collected identify cross-cultural common concepts, ideal cultural groups and the conditions of private configurations. And discusses the consequence for government, education and social aspects.

  • Vening, Robert L. (1994). Valuing Our Differences: How to Manage a Culturally Diverse Work Force.

The article written for the healthcare industry, but relevant to all industries, and is a fascinating look at how to manage a culturally diverse workforce. The author provides specific examples to give managers direction on how to develop goals, review the hiring process and innovative ways to identify and resolve conflict.

  • Weisinger, J. & Salipante, P. (1995). Toward a method of exposing hidden assumptions in multicultural conflict. International Journal of Conflict Management, 6(2), 147-170.

Information from 35 interviews of Japanese and Us technical professionals and semistructure questionnaires from Japanese and US graduate engineer and business students are provided. The results expose secret attributions that add to generate a multicultural conflict and how participants manage the conflict. However the secret attribution are not the only cause to lead the conflict.

  • Williams, Andrea (1994). Resolving Conflict in a Multicultural Environment. MCS Conciliation Quarterly. Summer 1994, Pp. 2-6.

Cultural conflict has three dimensions: content, relational and a clash of cultural values. The third dimension is added to the mix when dealing with cultural identity issues. Cultural conflict can have very complicated dynamics, creating expectations about ones own and others behaviors. The author points out several ways to approach, identify and settle cultural conflicts. First, the parties must identify that the conflict is culturally related. Second, involved parties should learn more about the other culture. Third, the author suggests that many companies structures and geared towards one culture, when, in order to settle conflicts and avoid future problems, the organization may need to adapt and make concessions for the other cultures involved. Due to many cultures wishing to maintain their cultural identity, organizations can best prepare themselves by educating themselves about other co-existing cultures.