Resolving Conflict in a Multicultural Environment

Resolving Conflict in a Multicultural Environment

Conflict in the workplace can arise from a variety of factors, including disagreements over objectives or points of view between two or more individuals. Cross-cultural conflict in the workplace can arise when different groups of individuals collaborate. Not only is it not always clear whether a disagreement is motivated by culture, but it is also not always clear how to resolve cross-cultural conflict in the workplace.

Every person has a distinct collection of life experiences. People from various racial and ethnic backgrounds, as well as diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, may mingle in the workplace. Even while businesses frequently promote diversity and tolerance, people from vastly diverse backgrounds frequently find it difficult to communicate or comprehend one another.
It’s common for people from different cultures to speak, dress, and have distinct work ethics and goals. People can disagree with one another only due to miscommunications and assumptions arising from vastly disparate cultural upbringings.  People from various cultural origins could view time and schedules differently, and they might also hold different opinions about confronting others and handling conflict.

Identifying cultural conflicts.

There are three aspects to cultural strife. Cultural conflict adds a third dimension to the two that every dispute has, relationship and content: “a clash of cultural values.” Because it establishes human identity, this third dimension serves as the conflict’s fundamental element.
Signs of cultural conflict include the following: (1) Usually, its dynamics are complex. The aforementioned cultural variations frequently result in complicated expectations about one’s own conduct as well as those of others. (2) Cultural differences may be the source of the dispute if resolving relationship and content concerns does not work. (3) Even when there is little disagreement, conflict either recurs or gives rise to intense feelings.

Resolving cultural conflicts.

The resolution of cross-cultural conflict begins with identifying whether cultural issues are involved. There are three ways of cross-cultural conflict resolution.

1. Probing for the cultural dimension.

The parties should acknowledge that there is a cultural component to their disagreement before beginning the resolution process. Subsequently, it is imperative that all parties involved are prepared to address all aspects of the issue, including the cultural one. Third, there has to be methodical, gradual dispute resolution. Williams distinguished four stages: The following steps are taken: (1) the parties explain what they find objectionable in each other’s conduct; (2) they learn about the other party’s cultural perspectives; (3) they discover how the issue would be handled in the opponent’s culture; and (4) they create conflict resolution strategies. issue resolution becomes more difficult when the issue originated from irreconcilable ideals rather than merely misinterpretation of one another’s actions.

2. Learning about other cultures.

By being more knowledgeable about the cultures they encounter, people can avoid cross-cultural disputes. Training courses, general reading, conversing with others from many cultural backgrounds, and drawing lessons from the past are some ways to acquire this information. grasp your own culture and cultivating cultural awareness via gaining a thorough grasp of the values and beliefs of other cultures—as opposed to viewing them through the lens of cultural stereotypes—are crucial components of cultural education.

3. Altering organizational practices and procedures.

Organizational structures frequently carry over cultural conflicts and represent the standards of a single culture. In these situations, it becomes imperative to alter the system’s structure to increase its sensitivity to the cultural norms of other individuals.


Depending on how it turns out, conflict may either benefit or hurt an organization. As the population shifts, cultural disparities become a pressing concern. Cultural conflict education is crucial for preserving positive relationships in businesses and society at large since many groups oppose assimilation and want to retain their own cultural identities.