Free Essay on Types of Intercultural Conflicts

Published: 2018-07-24
Free Essay on Types of Intercultural Conflicts
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Culture Multiculturalism Relationship Intercultural communication
Pages: 9
Wordcount: 2425 words
21 min read

What Is a Conflict?

Conflict occurs when threats are perceived or real and interfere with performing any activity. Conflict results from others passing judgments on other people and their actions. People judge others because of their beliefs, values, and assumptions from their life experiences, thus influencing how they make decisions and behave (Fisher-Yoshida, 2005). Conflict can also be defined as the competition over scarce resources or the tools and power needed to acquire limited resources and incompatible goals. The competition is because of an individual's idea of power, resources, and goals (Avruch, 1998). This essay's two types of intercultural conflicts are relationship conflicts and task conflicts.

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The task conflict can also be referred to as substantive or cognitive conflict. This kind of conflict is concerned with disagreements about tasks, which arise from the perspectives about a particular task or views of perceived incompatibilities. Scholars believe that task conflicts are beneficial to groups as the conflict promotes the exchange of information among the group members, resulting in effective decision-making and team performance. However, the conflicts can also affect the groups negatively. The task-oriented disagreements may only happen once and can be easily resolved as they are mainly disputes over material resources such as money and time (Zhang & Zhang, 2012). An example can be seen among the astronauts in space, and those in The International Space Station usually have disagreements amongst themselves due to issues related to the tasks. The scientific project involves 16 nations (Hammer, 2005).

Relationship conflicts are also known as affective or emotional conflicts. These conflicts arise from relationship-oriented or individual-oriented disagreements unrelated to the task. They are mostly involved with emotional tension or issues related to respect, esteem, power, personality, honesty, and trust. Relationship conflicts mainly result in hostility and tension that hinders group members from effectively performing their tasks. These disagreements are primarily due to intangible issues or resources such as distrust, rational transgressions, and spiritual faith (Zhang & Zhang, 2012).

An example is that between Africans and their colonizers. The whites introduced Christianity to the early Africans who already had their gods. The Africans did not welcome the idea of the new God and, for a long time, fought back and held on to their gods. All conflicts are destructive and not solutions to problems. Moreover, intercultural features only exacerbate disagreements and mutual claims. That is why the community should consider the experience of past centuries and refuse to raise any cultures above others. In addition, intercultural patterns are strongly integrated into the community so that the non-acceptance of any social aspects is no longer possible. People should understand that conflicts only benefit a few people who will not participate in social escalation. That is why the world needs alternative ways of social and cultural integration.

Benefits and Challenges of Intercultural Relationships


Intercultural relationships benefit healthier communities, increase commerce, reduced conflicts, and personal growth through tolerance. With people from different areas, diverse skills, information, and talents are available. When these people accept each other, the communities will have safe environments for all the occupants. Besides, when the members of this community merge and work together, there will be all benefits, and each will achieve their goals. There will be economic benefits locally, nationally, and internationally. With the tolerance of new and different people, each will have personal growth (Esbard, n.d.).

In other words, intercultural integration is the way to create a safer and friendlier community. If all the conditions for a conflict-free symbiosis are met, any community can organically coexist, exchanging experiences and positive emotions. Moreover, searching for new ideas and strategic solutions is possible thanks to a fresh look. People of different cultures can create new social connections and generate innovative ideas that will become a springboard for future discoveries. That is why it is important to carry out the correct integration of different social groups and consider certain personal concepts.


An intercultural relationship faces several challenges. One of them is the lack of mutual reassurance; hence groups may fear negotiating or making any concessions. They think the negotiations may result in more costly concessions that will put their security and national identity at risk. Another challenge is an uneasy coalition where the parties may have trouble trusting each other, thus making it difficult to build effective collaboration. The parties involved also have rust issues while working together.

Those involved trust the others only when they believe they are interested in making peace. For example, the working trust between Rabin and Arafat has been named the Oslo agreement, which ended after the assassination of Rabin. Also, there must be a process even without trust (Kelman, 2005). Another challenge concerns the third party, which is needed to bridge the gap between the conflicting parties. The third party must therefore prove trustworthy and must never violate confidentiality. Even after peaceful meetings, they may be called in (Kelman, 2005).

The main problem is that intercultural relations are extremely unstable if one of the parties is not ready to comply with all the terms of the agreements. The fact is that some people believe that trust is a relic that is nothing more than an illusion. That is why different social groups are so hard to come to international agreements and certain obligations. It is difficult for people to get used to the fact that other cultures or nations can understand their life or business views. Religious aspects also influence general communication patterns to help identify risk. People are not ready to compromise because of fear of showing weakness or insecurity in a certain position. That is why even good intentions can lead to a fiasco.

Variations in Host Attitudes Towards Tourism

Hosts have perceptions of tourism after weighing the benefits. The key factors that allow the hosts to participate in exchange depend on the cultural, social, economic, and environmental benefits. The quality of the host's lives will automatically be influenced when the community becomes a tourist's destination. There will be consequences such as an increase in the population of people, a rise in the costs of goods and services, traffic jams, and some employment and economic-based effects.

Therefore, the hosts must support the tourism plans for the tourism initiatives and projects to be successful. The reason being tourism will require the hospitability and knowledge from the residents. The social contact between tourists and the residents depends on the cultural background, whether it is similar, different but slightly similar, or different and with a significant difference.

When the cultural difference is wide, the hosts and the tourists will have high chances of misunderstandings due to distorting each other's behavior and meaning. For example, the Middle East countries receiving tourism bring about different socio-culture perceptions between the tourists and the hosts. It will mainly be because the dominant religion in the Middle East countries is Islam (Zaidan, 2015).

Cultural differences are a big problem as many communities are unwilling to compromise. The greatest problems arise if tourist routes run in regions with a radical population that does not accept certain cultural aspects. Differences in traditional values can give rise to many conflicts and prejudice against people from certain countries and regions. In this case, the countries' authorities should make decisions aimed at de-escalating all possible problems. The fact is that the development of the tourism sector is an influx of investment in the economy. That is why the search for compromises is so important for the prosperity of any region.

Influence of Work Values on Intercultural Business

Human resource management views intercultural skills as valuable and beneficial. The highly valued skill is respect for other people, and it leads to high productivity in teams and the business in general. Willingness to compromise is a quality inherent in highly effective people. They strive to increase productivity despite possible cross-cultural differences. Any team should strive towards a common goal, and all people should understand this.

Individualism vs. Collectivism

Individuals from individualist cultures highly value development, regarding freedom and one's right as essential. Such people will portray high competition in business, challenge the authority, and settle conflicts according to the rules. However, those in collectivist cultures emphasize the community's wellbeing. They avoid conflicts, and if any, it is settled traditionally and not according to the business rules. These individuals also protect society, such as the workmates, unquestioningly. Both groups add value to the firm (Avruch, 1998).

But any leader should understand that both cultural groups must be in a state of balance. By hiring too many leaders, the company risks losing efficiency, as everyone will strive to improve personal statistics. At the same time, the lack of leaders will affect the team's ability to make important decisions and take risks. Why waste energy and resources on earning more if a small income or company growth is guaranteed a priori? It is a balance that is the key to success.

Quality vs. Efficiency

For a business, it would be better if employees were producing quality work no matter the time taken. The business managers will always know there will be good results. Besides, efficiency is also required for a business to operate effectively and meet the set objectives. As you can see, balance is extremely important, especially regarding company earnings and growth prospects. Top managers must take all risks and find the most rational solution so that multicultural communities and mixed social groups bring profit to the company. Finding new employees is extremely important, and recruiters must understand all the risks. Companies need people who can do a good job. However, innovators and enthusiasts also positively affect the overall growth dynamics.

Task vs. Relationship Priority

Individuals from task-oriented cultures have the drive to finish the tasks given. In business, this will ensure that the duties assigned to such employees will always be completed. However, those considering relationship priorities in workplaces do not produce good results (Eidam and Partners, n.d.). The task of any leader is to find compromises and motivate people to direct their passion in the right direction. Moreover, managers should always lead by example and be at the forefront of social innovation. Only a personal example can motivate others.

Categorizing and Stereotypes

There is nothing worse than stereotypes that have nothing to do with reality. The fact is that many groups of people have preconceived notions based on historical or cultural background. One social group may view another as unreliable or unsuitable for certain tasks. Stereotypes interfere with people even in everyday communication, as they are an obstacle to friendship or even minimal interaction. Any person should say no to stereotypes and categorization, as the wrong approach to the perception of social groups leads to micro-aggressions or conflicts.

Cultural Identity

And here is the most important stage of intercultural relations. The fact is that cultural identity is something like a piece of DNA that you acquire when you grow up in a particular community. Cultural patterns mix religion, traditions, family values, and opinions prevalent in a particular region or community. Usually, people experience cultural differences when they move to a new country or region. Your identity is a quality that cannot be completely changed over time. That is why intercultural conflicts are so common.

Fortunately, you can find a compromise if you want to live in harmony with your chosen society. For example, in Israel, many Muslims respect Jewish traditions and observe the norms of religious morality. Any society must be ready for partial adaptation to certain cultural patterns. Cultural identity is just one aspect of how people live. By being tolerant of other cultures, you become wiser.

The Research Area of Intercultural Communication

World globalization has greatly affected all communities and companies. Today you will not find places where there is no cultural diversity. People of all races and nationalities live together, and humanity cannot ignore this fact. The fact is that any community or company must understand that disagreements are unacceptable. Conflicts and mutual hostility can be a one-way path. For example, if management ignores intercultural issues, any company is doomed to fail. Not all nations or races have an unbiased attitude towards each other, which is normal. But the task of real leaders is to show the truth to every person. The fact is that cultural patterns are nothing more than a feature of all social groups.

There is no need to dislike someone because of skin color, tradition, or social behavior. That is why many successful companies pursue an intercultural policy to harmonize interpersonal relationships. In particular, top managers try to set an example and show that differences are part of self-identification. People should not judge others based on prejudice. It is worth noting that people tend to compromise, especially if they see a friendly team (Soderberg and Holden, 2002, p. 104). That is why social adaptation is so important for conflict prevention. The world needs compromised solutions, and society must know how to live in harmony.


As you can see, many intercultural patterns and conflicts result from incorrect information strategies. People should not build social relationships based on biases and views formed centuries ago. Moreover, modern society should avoid conflicts as they are destructive. Social progress will be rapid if people overcome differences and forget about monocultures.

The world has changed, and even orthodox social groups are becoming intercultural. It is a good example of how change is good for society. By adapting to new challenges and world conditions, people are more likely to live in harmony with others. This approach has an extremely positive effect on new generations and public wellbeing.


Avruch, K. (1998). Culture and Conflict Resolution. Washington: Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS).

Eidam and Partners. (n.d.). Cross-cultural Values of Germany/Germans. Retrieved from Eidam and Partner:

Esbard, P. (n.d.). Chapter 1: The Necessity of Intercultural Communication Objectives, Overview, and Outline CHAPTER OBJECTIVES. Retrieved from Academia:

Fisher-Yoshida, B. (2005). Reframing Contact: Intercultural Contact as Potential Transformation. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 1-16.

Hammer, M. (2005). The Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory: A Conceptual Framework and Measure of Intercultural Conflicts Resolution Approaches. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 675-695.

Kelman, H. (2005). Building Trust among Enemies: The Central Challenge for International Conflict Resolution. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 639-650.

Van, M. B., Pieter, J. v., & Gerritsen, M. (2015). Developing a High-Quality Intercultural Relationship: Expatriates and their Local Host. Journal of Global Mobility, 25-45.

Zaidan, E. (2015). The impact of cultural distance on residents' perception of tourism development: The case of Dubai in UAE. Tourism, 109-126.

Zhang, Q., & Zhang, J. (2012). Conflict Types, Resolution, and Relational Satisfaction: A U.S.-China Investigation. Intercultural Communication Studies, 41-52.

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