CULTURE, CONFLICT AND
COMMUICATION IN THE
March 27, 2008
University of Illinois
Dr. Gary R. Weaver
WHY IS DIVERSITY
Not just in urban areas
The American Culture
• Not a Cultural Cookie Cutter or Melting Pot
• Patchwork Quilt
• Salad Bowl
Minorities in USA Today
12% African American
4% Asian and Pacific
1% American Indian
TO MORE EFFECTIVELY
SERVE YOUR CLIENTS
Overcoming barriers caused by differences
Using differences to create synergy
TRAITS THAT CORRELATE
WITH FAILURE IN CROSS-
• Low tolerance to ambiguity or high
• Overly task-oriented or high need
for individual achievement
• Overly closed-minded and inflexible
What is “Culture?”
• culture - the way of life (values, beliefs
and behaviors) of a people passed
down from one generation to the next
• Cultural Generalization • Cultural Stereotype
– Never applies to everyone – Applies to everyone
in every situation in every situation –
– Only a first “guess” no exceptions
– Discard it when no longer – Retained even when
accurate or useful no longer accurate or
is like an
Most of it
As we interact, differences will
become LESS important.
• Leon Festinger
– Theory of Cognitive Dissonance
• Muzafir Sherif
– Development of a “Superordinate Goal”
To Do To Be
• Earned Status • Ascribed Status
• Individual Achievement • Affiliation
• Individual Action • Stability
• Equality • Inequality
• Immediate family • Extended Family
• Self Reliance • Reliance on Others
• Independence • Interdependence
• Individual Competition • Cooperation
• Individualism • Collectivism
• Guilt • Shame
• Future • Past or Heritage
• Class Mobility • Caste Rigidity
What Doesn’t Fit?
Nice weather we’re having!
Sunny, high in the 70s.
Haven’t we met before?
What Doesn’t Fit?
• Nice weather we’re having!
• Haven’t we met before?
• High-Context - Relational - Associative
• To Be - Poets
• Sunny, high in the 70s.
• Low Context - Abstractive - Analytical
• To Do - Memo Writers/Lawyers
How do you know if it’s a conflict?
Is it escalating or de-escalating?
When do you resolve it?
When it is beyond resolution?
How do you resolve the conflict?
• Hall, Edward. Beyond Culture.
• Weaver, Gary R., ed. Culture, Communication
and Conflict, 2nd edition. Boston, MA:Pearson
• Weaver, Gary R. and Adam Mendelson,
America’s Midlife Crisis: The Future of a
Troubled Superpower, Boston, MA: Intercultural