Human Resources Management
The Use of ‘Power’ in Cross Cultural Conflicts Resolution

In cross cultural interactions, the rises of conflicts are hardly prevented. Because human have a tendency to perform or interpret something or the world in their habitual manner, they tend to not agree the other way of perceiving the worlds. They may regard other methods as irrational, non-logical and stupid. They form certain values and beliefs, and stick to these beliefs. However, when people from diverse culture interact, people with different background and perceptions will involve in a conflict, they both of them are not considerate or able to see from the others’ point of view. In such instances, the use of power is relatively an easy way to solve the conflicts.

The use of power to solve conflicts is the easy way out – where it is relatively easy to force people to agree with your opinion and stand instead of negotiating or involve in long discussion on how to solve an issues. Particularly one of the parties is stubborn and refuses to accept new ideas; the use of power can be a convenient and fast way to force cooperation or obedience from the weaker party. Nonetheless, the use of power in cross-cultural interactions has many dies effects which could be detrimental and undesirable in the long term.

The discussion can be much more complex when we take the ethical reasoning from various cultures into consideration. It is observed that some ethically or politically correct way of doing things may not be seem ethical from the other culture perspective. It is a highly complicated topic if to force someone’s cultural ethical reasoning concepts to the other culture. For example, people in many of the Islamic world have unfair practices against the women. However, these unfair practices may seem irrelevant from other cultural perspectives. It is observed that we cannot easily use negotiation techniques to solve the issues, as even the women in the Islamic world may think that they are relevantly treated in that way. In such instances, using power to solve the conflicts is not justified. In fact, it is ethical or practical if we force the culture of equality among men and women to these Islamic countries? That will be a hard and intense debate.

It is hard to argue if the use of power in the cross cultural interaction is correct or not – depending on the perspective from which a person want to argue from. Each perspective may have their own relevancy and advantages, with associated drawbacks. This is the way of life, and sometimes, usage of power to force agreement and ethical, form the ethical relativism or utilitarianism perspective. However, it should also be understood and acknowledge that using power to solve for conflicts in cultural interaction may not be the only solution, and very often, it is not the best solution. To understand others’ perception, having tolerance, open-minded and the attitude to seek to understand before being understood is often a better way of solving these conflicts or issues.

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