5.3. I OR THOU?

Much of the research around cultural difference centers on the difference between how individualist and collectivist cultures define and respond to conflict. The hallmarks of these two approaches are outlined below:

Individualist CulturesCollectivist Cultures
Conflict is outcome-focusedConflict is process-focused
Conflict is dealt with openly and honestlyFace work management done before substantive issue discussion
Success comes with tangible outcomes or action plansSuccess comes with mutual face saving
Goals of individuals addressedInterpreted in terms of group
Achievement is importantHarmony is important
Communication is directCommunication is indirect

As indicated above, resolving intercultural conflict is made more difficult by ...

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