CHAPTER 29 - CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE Multicultural Conflict...

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Unformatted text preview: CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE Multicultural Conflict Resolution Paul Pedersen he multicultural perspective in conflict resolution has important benefits for leaders and organizations. First, groups in conflict might otherwise be limiting themselves to those more familiar alternatives within their specific. culture. Second, given an appreciation of multicultural complexity, they are less likely to accept quick and easy, but wrong answers by imposing their cultural perspective on others. Third, by understanding a range of culturally different approaches to conflict resolution, their practical and theoretical options for resolving conflict are increased. A multicultural perspective of conflict resolu- tion interprets the conflict in a multicultural context that helps explain that con- flict meaningfully in terms of causes, processes, and effects. The multicultural context provides data that the antagonists themselves might otherwise take for granted but that can now be understood in a joint meaning-construction process to "explain" the conflict (Pedersen, 2001, 2005). T INTRODUCTION: MULTICULTURALISM AS A FOURTH FORCE Contemporary global changes demonstrating the importance of a multicultural perspective are increasingly apparent in the literature about conflict resolution. first, conflicts between dominant majority and less powerful minorities defined y ethnographic, demographic, status, and formal affiliations are growing more Popular and are more widely accepted outside and inside the United States. 649 650 THE HANDBOOK OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION: THEORY AND PRACTICE Second, the Internet and other technologies have increased opportunities f Qr communication with culturally different people, resulting in a more multicul- tural perspective across special interest groups. Third, there is a worldwide multicultural movement where ethnocultural minority groups have raised levels of economic, social, and political sensitivity to the importance of minorities' perspectives. Fourth, there is a reexamination of cultural bias in the research literature so that instead of accepting dominant culture values and beliefs, there is more emphasis on discovering each cultural group's unique explanation of their behavior and meaning [Carter, 1991). Until recently, the influence of cultural similarities and differences has been typically overlooked in the published literature about conflict resolution. Instead, there is frequently a dominant-culture, White, middle-class, urban, male, Euro- American perspective to the resolution of conflict across cultures. With the increased influence of non-Western cultures and countries, a variety of differ- ent styles of conflict resolution have become more visible. It is necessary for leaders and organizations to understand how conflict is understood and resolved differently in Western and in non-Western cultures. This is important not only because individuals from those countries are increasingly employed in organi- zations in the United States and other Western cultures, but also because Western...
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CHAPTER 29 - CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE Multicultural Conflict...

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