Conflict often occurs due to the lack of opportunity, ability or motivation to communicate effectively. People at work experience communication problems because of cultural differences. Here are some of the problems that’s people experience due to communication. First, when two parties lack the opportunity to communicate, they tend to use stereotypes to explain past behaviour and anticipate future actions. Unfortunately, stereotypes are sufficiently subjective that emotions can negatively distort the meaning of opponent’s actions, thereby escalating perceptions of conflict. Moreover, without direct interaction, the two sides have less psychological empathy for each other.
Second, some people lack the necessary skills to communicate in diplomatic, non-confrontational manner. When one part communicates its disagreement in an arrogant way opponents are more likely to heighten their perception of the conflict. Arrogant behaviour also sends a message that one side intends to be competitive rather than co-operative. This may lead the other party to reciprocate with a similar conflict management style. Ineffective communication can also lead to a third problem; less motivation to communicate in the future. Socio-economic conflict is uncomfortable, so people avoid interacting with others in a conflicting relationship. Unfortunately, less communication can further escalate the conflict because there is less opportunity to emphasize with the opponent’s situation and opponents are more likely to rely on distorted stereotypes of the third party. In fact, conflict tends to further distort these stereotypes through the process of social identity.
The lack of communication to communicate also explains why conflict is more common in cross-cultural relationships. People tend to feel uncomfortable or awkward interacting with co-workers from different cultures, so they are less motivated to engage in dialogue with them. With limited communication, people rely more on stereotypes to fill in missing information. They also tend to misunderstand each other’s verbal and non-verbal signals, further escalating the conflict. What others say might have a very different impact on the other person.
People working in a very diverse working environment often times encounter these difficulties. The use of appropriate words and the proper way of approach is somehow different. But in order to overcome these obstacles in communication it is very important that there will be mutual understanding on both parties. It is still important that there will be given and take in communication. No matter how difficult it is to communicate with other culture but the essence of understanding should always be there.