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Culture and Conflict Management

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Culture and Conflict
Definitions of Culture
 “Particular practices and values common to
a population living in a given setting”
 “Complex whole which includes knowledge,
belief, art, morals, laws, customs. .
.acquired by man as a member of society”
 “Derivative of experience, more of less
organized, learned or created by individuals
of a population, including those images. . .
and their interpretations, from past
generations, contemporaries, or formed by
themselves” (Schwartz)
Organizational Culture
•Patterns of behavior
•Guided by deep, shared beliefs about what is right
what works
•Created by people working together who solve two
types of problems: survival and working together
•Influenced or imposed by the founding leader
Symbols as Culture
 Symbols embody an organization’s
culture- the interwoven pattern of
beliefs. Values, practices, and
artifacts that define for members who
they are and how they are to do
Culture Questions
пЃЇ Is culture causal vs adaptive,
situational, flexible, unequally
distributed ? (Avruch)
пЃЇ Can culture be used as an analytic
пЃЇ Do other needs override cultural
Definitions of Conflict
 Objectivist: “struggle over values and
claims to scarce status, power, and
resources in which the aims. . .are to
neutralize, injure, or eliminate the
opponents” (Cosner)
 Subjectivist: “Perceived divergence of
interest or belief that parties’ current
aspirations cannot be achieved
simultaneously” (Pruitt)
пЃЇ Functional: resolve divergent dualisms,
bring about unity (Simmel)
Origins of Conflict
пЃЇ Inherent (Hobbes) to the individual
пЃЇ Contingent on factors outside the
Origins of Conflict
пЃЇ Interactionist
пЃ® Human beings have needs, needs will be
pursued by all means available, but the
social setting limits the degree to which
they are satisfied and the means by
which they are satisfied (Burton)
пЃ® Eight needs: response, security,
recognition, stimulation, distributive
justice, meaning, rationality, control
Origins of Conflict
пЃЇ Social Constructionist
пЃ® Conflict is a socially constructed cultural
event; conflict emerges through an
interactive process based on the search
for and creation of shared meaning;
individual common sense and
accumulated experience are the basis of
how they create and respond to conflict;
culture is rooted in shared knowledge
and schemes (Lederach)
Implications for Conflict
Culture Frameworks Matter
пЃЇ Individualistic/independent vs
Collective/interdependent Ethos (Hofstede)
пЃЇ Low context vs high context communication (Hall)
пЃЇ Monochronistic (one thing and one person at a time;
addressing immediate issues and moving on; haste)
vs polychronistic (handle several tasks in parallel;
pervasive sense of the past; steadiness) sense of time
пЃЇ Low vs high context negotiating style ( man
determines his own environment for his own purposes
vs man adjusts himself to it; negotiation as end vs
episode in long-term relationship) (Kinhide)
From Cohen, Negotiating across Cultures
Beyond Culture ?
пЃЇ Problem-Solving Workshops (Burton)
пЃЇ Getting to Yes: Interest-Based
Negotiation (Fisher and Ury)
From Cultures
пЃЇ Elicitive Training vs Prescriptive
Training (Lederach)
 “Aimed at discovery, creation, and
solidification of models that emerge from
the resources present and respond to
needs in that context”
пЃ® Real life stories
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