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Cross Cultural Diversity and Conflict Resolution

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Cross Cultural Diversity and Conflict Resolution

By Riley Caron

Everyone has a culture. Cultures split people, sending them in certain directions and away from other paths. Cultures also create certain ideas or senses about the world around them and these ideas conflict with other cultures. Some cultures may believe one thing to be important or ordinary while others might find these things to be different or strange. Culture is when people within a society view things differently than people outside the culture. When people do not understand other peoples cultures, conflicts may arise.

Cultures are often judged and to begin finding conflict resolution for culture we should consider some aspects about culture. For example, culture has multiple layers and what you may view as a culture on the outside of a person may be a symbol for something completely different. Since you cannot judge a book by its cover, getting to know these people and understand what their culture really is about is key to avoiding cross-cultural conflict. Cultures are also constantly changing and adapting as the world changes. To understand and have a deep knowledge about a culture you will most likely have to spend a lot of time learning the true meaning of it.

Cultures and conflict go hand-in-hand because most conflicts arise through the judgement of identity and identity is closely related to culture. Conflicts between countries such as India and Pakistan fighting over Kashmir are not only about territory but also about each other's identity and how they are representing it.[1] The difference between how each of these countries live, and practice their cultures is also a part of the conflict is possession of land. It is not just between countries either; cultural conflict can arise between genders and age. Teenager's parents probably lived a life with different rules and outlooks on certain things that have now changed and therefore teenagers have changed their own outlook. Yet, parents still believe in what they grow up with and with these cultures crossing, a conflict is sure to happen. Genders also view things differently and even down to the most minimal cultures such as co-workers with different jobs also may have a different view of things. When one culture sees another culture work or react to something they might see it as wrong. This is only in the eyes of that certain person though, for all we know the other person may be doing what is most correct for their culture and what would make most sense to them. These conflicts may take time to arise and may build up until one culture pushes another culture to react negatively. Other times there may be an immediate and intense blow-up between cultures. Culture is extremely difficult to avoid in conflict because it shapes our behaviour, our attitudes and our perceptions. Often cultures that are popular within a certain area go unquestioned and seem normal, but when another culture is viewed that is different, it is labelled as strange because it is not what seems to be natural to that certain area or group.[2]

To understand culture and how to deal with cross-culture conflicts we have to have an understanding of the cultures. To only see the outside of a culture is a mere glimpse to the entirety of the culture. We require firm understanding of the actions of each culture and how they relate to the background of the culture. Certain reactions may be judged wrongly because they seem unnatural to someone of a certain culture, but to the person who reacted or acted that might have been the only way they know.

So how do we deal with cross cultural diversity and its conflicts? By having cultural fluency among the mediators of the conflict has a major role in dealing with cultural conflict. Communication is also helpful because it allows both cultures to address where their actions came from and the reason they did what they did.[3] High context communication and low context communication may be used. High

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