Conflict negotiation in a Global Business Environment


Conflictnegotiation in a Global Business Environment

TheCourse Tittle

Conflictnegotiation in a Global Business Environment

Conflictusually arises when there is an interaction between interdependentindividuals having incompatible goals (Folger, Poole &amp Stuttman,1997). Individuals from American and Chinese cultures becomeinterdependent at their workplaces especially in multinationalcorporations. Due to the global expansion of American businesses toChina and the Chinese immigrants recorded to the United States, it isvery essential to understand Chinese-American cultural differences tohelp them manage and resolve any conflicts arising. Both nations havegot different styles of managing and resolving conflicts. Culture hasa significant influence on an individual’s behaviors andexperiences therefore, one need to understand the impacts of cultureon the communication styles the counterpart use. Individuals who wantto venture into business enterprises, therefore, are encouraged toanalyze the inter-cultural practices associated with marketcommunication.

Theanalysis is made of different dimensions used in managing conflictresolution between American and Chinese cultural practices. However,the cultural setups have different approaches in which they canhandle the emerging conflicts within workplaces or within corporatebusinesses. The international business are faced withmisunderstanding that arises as a result of cultural differenceswithin the market in the styles of negotiation and how to resolvesuch conflicts. Multinational corporations (MNCs) have also faced thecultural difference problem where the top hierarchy officialsencounter when solving cultural conflicts with the coworkers.

Abrief examination of the issue

Asillustrated by Hall (1976), the greatest communication barriersbetween United States and China emerge from their culturaldifferences. The problem that arises is that China is practicing ahigh context culture nonverbal communication focuses on the valuesassociated with relationship, the societal hierarchy recognition aswell as less communication as a source of conflict resolution. On theother hand, United States being a low context culture that practicesverbal communication, put emphasis on social equality and explicitrelationship. The alternating communication strategies employed bytwo parties usually affects the business practices based on thecultural differences. Individuals from low-context cultures areassociated with logical rational and has offered stronger negotiationstyles within cross-cultural interaction as opposed to those fromhigh context culture (Mintu-Wimsatt &amp Gassenheimer, 2000).

Inorder to manage intercultural conflict in Multi-NationalCorporations, it is very vital to assess whether individual memberscome from low-context or high-context society. The communication thatis held between these two parties may bring conflict especially tothe United States having a low context culture who would wish toinvest in business opportunities in China. Consequently, the reverseis true when China chooses to invest in United States too. A researchstates that majority in the United State would prefer solvingconflicts through direct communication, giving in or sometimescompromise the situation to come to conclusion, confronting the issueor accommodating parties in order to come up with a solution best fitfor both parties involved (Chen, 2007).

Theoreticalaspects and the role that cultural differences play in thenegotiation process

Thetask or relationship orientation

Chinesecultural setup is built towards maintaining a relationship, which isthe central driver of managing and resolving conflict across culturalborders. Chinese culture has a firm belief that direct conflict deterindividuals from having close relationship thus in most cases, theywill avoid related conflict within their operation (Frriedman et al.2006). The East Asian, as well as Western cultures, do use anavoidance approach to managing arising conflicts as opposed to theAmericans who employ competitive strategies in managing and resolvingconflict. Chinese, therefore, will use indirect language, low-rangeview, and a third party to solve any problem arising within a globalcorporation.

Thedirectness of communication style

Anotheressential aspect that affects conflict management is the language,which can be reflected in verbal communication style. The twodimensions of the verbal communication styles are illustrated to beeither direct or indirect forms of communication techniques.Americans who use a direct form of communication style in resolvingconflict value fluency, self-expression to persuade their listenersto accept their opinion. Contrary, those who use the indirect form ofcommunication style in managing conflict value harmony andrelationship built through avoiding a confrontation. This type ofculture is highly experienced by Chinese corporations with otherbusiness firms.

Thetime reference

Societiesput more emphasis on different virtues. A long-term orientedsocieties need to hold attributes towards investing in the futuregrowth. Concentration is placed on change development. The short-termcultures emphasize in the past as well as a present rather than thefuture expectation. Much value is credited to what has worked in thepast. In contrast, the organizations having a long-term orientationwill tend to emphasize the hard work as well as diligence thatresults from long hours.


Itis, therefore, very vital to have a clue and full study of thecross-cultural communication, as well as the cross-cultural workenvironments in the management of conflicts. This is evident from theresearch made by Ting-Toomey (1999) that states that there areessential differences that will emerge on how people fromindividualistic and collectivist cultures will approach conflictsituations. As depicted in the cases mentioned above, people fromUnited States who appear to be individualistic in nature do focus onthe outcome of a conflict situation especially paying much attentionon identifying the victims involved and the tangible goals to beachieved in long run.

Onthe other hand, the collectivist-oriented individuals from China putmore emphasis on the process. An attention is directed to the savingmeasures as well as a treatment to the persons involved in aconflict. Both the directions that are taken in managing conflictresolution appear to be successful though the winning process andwhat is won is very different. A number of lessons can be drawn frominterview processes and employment terms in the United States. IfChinese citizens realize that, an engagement in conflict resolutionthrough direct discussion especially within the American culturalsetup does not hurt their relationship, they will undoubtedly changetheir style of resolving conflict, and be ready to a have a directinteraction when dealing with conflict.

Chinesecitizens, therefore, should be flexible to switch to differentconflict styles based on the working environment setup. Consequently,American employees working in China will adapt to a less direct formof communication, thus come to an agreement with their co-workers andemployers within job industries. In order to avoid conflicts withinworking environments, both the manager and employees must beconscious of the message context they send or receive. Anunderstanding of different cultural setup is very vital in everyorganization though the further emphasis should be put on howindividuals or companies should adjust their conflict styles toincorporate all cultures.


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Hall,E. (1976). BeyondCulture.New York: Anchor Press

Mintu-Wimsatt,A., &amp Gassenheimer, J. (2000). The Moderating Effects of CulturalContext in Buyer-Seller Negotiation. Journalof Personal Selling &amp Sales Management, 20(1),1-9.

Ting-Toomey,S. (1999). Communicatingacross Cultures.New York, NY: The Guilford Press.