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Conflict in Context - Overseas Group Assignments:The Israeli Security Team at Newark Airport


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Conflict in Context - Overseas Group Assignments:The Israeli Security Team at Newark Airport

  1. 1. Conflict in Context Overseas Group Assignments The Israeli Security Team at Newark Airport A Case Study Guy Sack and Idit Madanes Department of Organization & Leadership, Teachers College, Columbia University
  2. 2. Where the literature leaves us…  Clouse and Watkins (2009) focus on “individual challenges” by analyzing home country-host country dynamics, as well as family stressors, in overseas assignments.  But what about overseas team challenges? These can be less obvious.
  3. 3. Our conflict  Inequality in the workplace, due to religious practices, become more salient outside the homeland.  Israeli Airline company – “El-Al”  Team of 30 employees  Security Officers  Work includes weekdays and weekends  Religious employees vs. secular employees  Respect their religious practices or demand equality in the work place?  FYI – people don’t work on Sabbath (Saturday) in Israel due to religious reasons
  4. 4. Our conflict (Interview)
  5. 5. “They should have known!” From the secular view:  “… this is the working schedule and they have to make adjustments”  “…this is not Israel, we are in the USA...”  “…what the job entails…”  “…that it would cause conflict because no one likes to work on weekends…”
  6. 6. Our conflict (Interview)
  7. 7. “They should have known!” From the observant view:  “…we are religious and we cannot work on Saturdays…”  “…they need to respect my beliefs…”  “… it is an Israeli company, they should understand…”  “… we are friends, not just colleagues…”  “…the boss will handle it better…”
  8. 8. How do you socially identify?  Garcia-Prieto, Bellard, and Schneider (2003) - The salience of social identity in context  How do you socially identify?  New York?  Columbia?  Teachers College?  Non-education TC students?  TC Organizational Psychology?  What if you were on the other side of the world?
  9. 9. How is our conflict salient?  In Israel, everyone gets the day off (Friday-Saturday)  Here, we are all expected to be able to work  Nobody wants to work  American schedule  A newly limited group of similar others  High expectations of unity
  10. 10. Fault lines  Gratton (2007) discusses the ways demographic characteristics can create fault lines within a team.
  11. 11. Israeli team SecularReligious USA
  12. 12. Where to go from here  Brett, Behfar, and Kern (2006) offer four strategies for handling multicultural conflict: Adaptation Structural Intervention Managerial Intervention Exit
  13. 13. (Brett, Behfar, & Kern, 2006)