As people interact, it is common that they will come with different sets of culturally established beliefs and perceptions toward appropriate behavior.
For this reason, disputes and conflicts often arise in the process of communication across different cultures.
Furthermore, after such conflicts have arisen, the individuals from different cultures present varied sets of perceptions about how to appropriately handle them (Hammer, 2005). In a society such as America that is characterized by numerous cultures, we encounter intercultural conflicts almost on a daily basis. Personally, I have experienced intercultural conflicts in several circumstances. I remember an instance of intercultural conflict that pitted us against a group of American students.
The issue was on keeping personal distance during conversations. I strongly identify with the Hispanic culture. Each side of the cultures gave its own perspective of personal space based on their cultural orientation. While we argued for close personal contacts during communications, the other cultural group advocated for adequate personal space. Each side seemed to believe that its cultural perception was the right way of addressing the issue. From the reading, the micro- level dimension of a conflict focuses on the individual- based interactional aspect of the intercultural conflict. In this case, the micro- level dimension of the conflict between the group or Hispanic students and that of Americans was the act of maintaining personal distance among the Americans and close contact among the Hispanics. The meso-level dimension includes the different perceptions of the two cultures on the issue. The macro- level dimension of the conflict involves the behavior exhibited by individuals from the different cultures in regards to the cultures.
The first step in resolving the conflict is acknowledging the existence of the differences (Ting-Toomey, 2007). The two parties from different cultures should then appreciate the differences in culture and understand that no culture is better than the other. In this manner, the two parties should then focus on the issue at hand and determine the best practice to lead to the desired result (Hammer, 2005).
Ting-Toomey, Stella, and Leeva C. Chung. Understanding intercultural communication. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.
LeBaron, Michelle, et al. "Conflict across Cultures: A Unique Experience of Briding Differences." (2006).
Hammer, Mitchell R. "The intercultural conflict style inventory: A conceptual framework and measure of intercultural conflict resolution approaches."International Journal of Intercultural Relations 29.6 (2005): 675-695.
Ting-Toomey, Stella. "Intercultural conflict training: Theory-practice approaches and research challenges." Journal of intercultural communication research 36.3 (2007): …