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Value Differences and Conflict Styles

Another way of understanding cultural variations in intercultural conflict resolution is to look at how cultural values influence conflict management. Cultural values in individualistic societies differ from those in collectivist societies. Individualistic societies place greater importance on the individual than on groups like the family or professional work groups. Individualism is often citied as the most important European American value, as can been seen in the autonomy and independence encouraged in children. For example, children in the United States may be encouraged to leave home at age 18, and older parents often prefer to live on their own rather than with their children. By contrast, people from collectivist societies often live in extended families and value loyalty to groups.These contrasting values may influence communication patterns. Thus, people from individualistic societies tend to be more concerned with preserving their own self-esteem during conflict, tend to be more direct in their communication, and tend to adopt more controlling, confrontational, and solution-oriented conflict styles. By contrast, people from collectivist societies tend to be more concerned with maintaining group harmony and with preserving the other personís dignity during conflict. They may take a less direct conversational approach and adopt avoiding and obliging conflict styles.How people choose to deal with conflict in any situation depends on the type of conflict and on their relationship with the other person. For example, in conflicts involving values and opinions, the Japanese may use the avoiding style more with acquaintances than with close friends. This suggests that, with people they donít know very well and with whom harmony is not as important, the Japanese use dominating or avoiding styles. However, with close friends, the way to maintain harmony is to work through the conflict using an integrating style.


Date: 2015-01-02; view: 2127

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