They are here! How ethnic diversity changed the way we train RAs in cross-cultural conflict


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The presentation is how George Fox University used the Intercultural Conflict Styles Inventory in training Resident Advisors in developing skills in cross-cultural conflict.

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  • 40% Growth over 6 years
  • Growth of 68%
  • Competencies sought.
  • Standard approach to conflict:Meet face to faceUse respectful language]clarify concernsClarify expectationsReflect back what was heard/articulated]Identify what each can do or. / and will not doAgree on compromiseAgree on date to revisit conversation
  • These conclusions help shape how different cultures become “associated with different meanings that people ascribe to ways of handling conflict.” Changes make approach to conflict more complex.Need to consider:HeritageContextHome communityEconomicsGenderCommon sense details; but needed to inform our traditional approach
  • Provides common vocabularyUnderstanding of selfUnderstanding of communityProvides a reality check
  • Direct style can be sub-divided into two more styles –those who prefer discussion or engagement responses to conflict;indirect style can be divided into accommodation and what the inventory calls a dynamic style. Emotional restraint is divided by those who prefer discussion or accommodation; emotional expressiveness by those who prefer the engagement or dynamic styles.
  • The volatility of some of our urban students is often just a style. Within half an hour of screaming at one another, they are playing video games together and not particularly angry with one another. The passivity of our Chinese students is also a conflict style, not an indication that “everything is alright.”
  • They are here! How ethnic diversity changed the way we train RAs in cross-cultural conflict

    1. 1. They are Here! How diversity has changed the way we train residence life staff in understanding Cross-cultural conflict Dr. Joel Pérez, Dean of Inclusion & Student Leadership Programs/Chief Diversity Officer David M. Johnstone, Associate Dean for Residence Life George Fox University
    2. 2. George fox university • Located in Newberg, OR • Rooted in the Quaker tradition • Values • Reflecting the Diversity of God’s people • Engaging Globally and Connecting Culturally • 1800 traditional undergraduate students • 65% of students live on campus
    3. 3. George fox university 0.0% 5.0% 10.0% 15.0% 20.0% 25.0% 30.0% 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 15.3% 19.8% 21.8% 24.8% 24.9% 25.6% Multiethnic and International Students
    4. 4. RA Students of color 0.0% 5.0% 10.0% 15.0% 20.0% 25.0% 30.0% 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 8.5% 6.8% 5.3% 7.9% 20.6% 23.8% 27.1%
    5. 5. Diversity leadership scholarships • Act Six (2007) • South Central (2009) • Multicultural Leadership Scholarship (2010)
    6. 6. Obama incident
    7. 7. RL training (conflict / mediation)
    8. 8. Objectives for RL training on conflict • Greater self awareness and development • Relational /community development • Cultural humility
    9. 9. How do we understand conflict? i. social interaction in which ii. substantive disagreements arise iii. between two or more individuals iv. which gives rise to an affective or emotional reaction, often v. based on a perception of threat or interference by one more other parties to the disagreement. • (Hammer, 2009, p. 222)
    10. 10. Conflict, cont. Add culture: • “people in different cultures see the same behavior and make very different conclusions about the underlying motivation that determined that behavior.” • (Cai & Fink, 2002, p. 83)
    11. 11. Turned to Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory Divides an individual’s style for responding to conflict into (a) direct, (b) indirect, (c) emotionally expressive and (d) emotionally restrained
    12. 12. Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory, cont. Direct - encourages the individual to speak their mind and rely on “face-to-face interactions Indirect - discrete about voicing their opinions; tend to utilize a third party Emotionally expressive/restrained style. - either display or disguise their emotions, visibly use their nonverbal cues or minimally “display their feelings through nonverbal behavior.” (Hammer, 2003b)
    13. 13. Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory, cont. The discussion is “verbally direct” and “emotionally restrained or controlled.” (Hammer 2003a, p. 30) The engagement emphasizes being verbally direct, but is” infused with an emotionally expressive manner.” (Hammer, 2003a, p. 30) In contrast to these two the indirect styles of accommodation emphasize approaching the conflict in a circuitous manner. It seeks to resolve conflict by maintaining calm, being emotionally restrained and pursuing harmony. The dynamic style is also circuitous but will often be defined by hyperbole and characterized by “emotionally intense expression.” (Hammer, 2003a, p. 30) [S1]Slide 15
    14. 14. Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory, cont. Direct Discussion Engagement Indirect Accommodation Dynamic Emotional restraint Emotional expressiveness
    15. 15. Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory, cont. “Conflict style is learned during a person’s socialization in his/her primary cultural community. When we grow up in a culture, we learn from others the attitudes, knowledge structures, behaviors and strategies for responding to conflict situations.” (Hammer, 2003a, p. 15)
    16. 16. Final Thoughts • Perceptions are not always accurate; assumptions are often incorrect. • Asking questions and understanding yourself are the first steps towards minimizing cross- cultural misunderstandings.
    17. 17. References Cai, D. & Fink, E. (2002). Conflict style differences between individualists and collectivists. Communication Monographs, 69(1), 67-87. Hammer, M. (2003a). Intercultural conflict style (ICS) inventory: Facilitator’s manual. Ocean Pines, MD: Hammer Consulting, Inc. Hammer, M. (2003b). Intercultural conflict style (ICS) inventory: Interpretive guide. Ocean Pines, MD: Hammer Consulting, Inc. Hammer, M. (2009). Solving problems and resolving conflict using the intercultural conflict style model and inventory. Contemporary leadership and intercultural competence: Exploring the cross-cultural dynamics within organizations (pp. 219-232). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.