intercultural communication ( the Environmental Contexts)




FLAN 3440

Gaby Semaan

Reflection: Chapter 10

(Your Own Title)

Conflicts are an unavoidable part of life. No one can go their entire lives without coming

across an opposing idea from one’s own. Conflicts are so common that conflict resolution has

become a full time occupation for millions across the world. From lawyers to judges to

professional mediators, conflict resolution has become a money making industry. We can see

this in shows such as Judge Judy, Divorce Court, and more barbarically Jerry Springer. Conflicts,

however, do not have to be fights or arguments and how a person handles a conflict not only says

a lot about their conflict resolution style but also about the cultural they were raised in.

I come from a high-context home but a low-context culture country. At home my parents

dealt with conflicts by silently ignoring them until they, hopefully, went away. If they didn’t go

away naturally then the end result was a very loud argument until both parties felt like they were

satisfied. This is in line with the high-context cultures of preferring a non-confrontational

conflict resolution. The United States as a low-context culture means that on average most

people prefer to deal with the conflict in a direct style and become frustrated when all parties are

not being open and honest. Both of these styles have shaped the way in which I handle my own

conflict resolution.

Not surprisingly my conflict resolution style has changed over time. When I was younger

and still living with my parents I had a more individualistic style of conflict resolution. I didn’t

like my parent’s avoidance style and so I took on the opposite resolution strategy of being direct

and very assertive with my feeling; such as the engagement style. I would become agitated when

other people were not as forth coming with their feelings and I wanted a quick and speedy

resolution. This led to more aggressive conflicts that were very emotionally expressive. As I got

older and experienced conflicts away from my family and more in a professional setting, I

learned to adapt to a more collectivist style. Now I have a mix between the low-context and high-

context cultures conflict resolution characteristics. On one hand I still want a quick and speedy

resolution where everyone is up-front and direct with their feelings. I now, however, understand

that some conflicts go away naturally with time and that a more direct style can actually add to

the conflict.

Despite one’s conflict resolution style when it comes to successful intercultural

communication we have to adapt in order to resolve conflicts. There can be no resolution to a

conflict if all sides are refusing to be open about their opinion. In addition, both sides need to be

willing to listen and be empathetic to the opposing party. As long as this is the foundation to any

conflict resolution strategy then there is bound to be some resolution no matter the differing

styles of resolution.