“Conflict is competition”
By groups or individuals over obviously incompatible goals, scarce resources or the sources of power needed to aquire them.
This competition is also determined by individuals perception of goals, resources and power and my vary significantly among individuals. One determinant of perception is culture, the socially inherited, shared and long time learned ways of living possessed by individuals in virtue of their membership in social groups.
Conflict that occurs across cultural boundaries thus is also occurring across cognitive and perceptional boundaries and especially susceptible to problems of intercultural misscommunication and missunderstanding. These probles might exacerbate the conflict beside root cause of it including “strictly material interests”.. In this sense, culture is an important factor in many sorts of conflicts that, at first, may appear to be about “material resources” or “negotiable interests” .
With respect to conflict, the discourse of culture directs attention to problems of intercultural communication, interpretation and the possibility of diverse metrics for decision making.
Business professionals might be aware that dealing with conflict across cultural boundaries means they are dealing with much more than superficial differences in “style” , but with something more fundational.
Some conflicts may appear not to be cultural but in fact are deeply cultural when examined from cognitive, communicative or a worldview perspective. We might help and assist finding the right conflict resolution technique by beeing involved in negotiation, mediation, facilitation or more specialized forms of problem-solving workshops.