There are several cultural conflicts in the world today, and one example is the case of the Maori and Pakeha of New Zealand. This conflict is always brought about by differences in organization culture of communities in question. There are different elements of organization culture, which bring communities into conflict.
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According to Weeks, the physical artifacts, which are the physical layout and use of facilities that represent a symbolic expression of an underlying meaning or values and beliefs as exhibited in the case of the Maori and Pakeha, is one of the major causes of conflict (1994).
Ngaire, like all other Maori, believed Marae was a prestigious place to hold Hui because wharenui in Marae was named after an ancestor. The Maori like other communities, believed in ancestors and hold such a place with high esteem. The Pakeha on the other hand saw Marae as a less prestigious place and her manager did not see Marae as a place that could befit such a high profile occasion.
Language and metaphors is another element of the organization culture which often causes conflict among communities (Shellemberg, 1996). Language is a medium of communication for all humanity, the meaning of words used in the language always carry a lot of weight and always express the deep seated values that the organization or community hold dear.
For example the name given to the meeting place in Marae (wharenui) did carry a lot of meaning and significance to the Maori people. Flannery (n.d.) says stories, myths and legends always epitomize the unwritten values and morals or the cultural life. The Maori people believed that the place named after one ancestor was a very significant place.
They believed that People who go inside the wharenui would be taken into the body of that ancestor and protected. This are the cultural believes that are reinforced by stories and myths and they strengthen their belief in the process.
Bilikopf (n.d.) argues that Ceremonies and celebrations are other elements that signify organization culture which cause conflict; this is where people participate in their cultural ceremonies. There are different roles played by different people that signify different aspects of their beliefs and these serve to reinforce their cultural believes.
The organizing of Hui by Ngaire for the Maori women is such an example. Another organization element which causes conflict is the behavioral norms (Flannery (n.d.). Norms reflects the typical leadership in the cultural organization.
The Hui was to be organized according to the accepted Maori ways with different people playing different roles designated by the society; the norms will dictate how people communicate in the society. It is the differences in these norms that bring about the conflict. The Maori community has their own communal behavioral norms which differ from the Pakeha behavioral norms.
The shared believes and values are one other organizational element that makes communities to collide. These shared believes are values that hold communities together and indentifies them. This is what makes communities to refer themselves as ‘we’ and others as ‘them’. These believe and values make communities see others as outsiders, this is the major cause of collision between communities.
The Maori community see themselves as indigenous and sees the Pakeha as foreign community with westernized culture. These differences collided in many ways as seen in the case of selecting a venue for holding the Hui ceremony.
Ngaire is in dilemma not knowing what to do since as a Maori she would have wanted the Hui to be held in marea, where the Maori people find to be prestigious and in honor of their ancestors at the same time his manager does not recognize the Maori believes and finds Marea less prestigious.
The participants too seem to be of the idea of having the Pakeha style hotel venue as a place to host the Hui. Ngaire should not have resigned from her job of organizing Hui for the women because of the dissenting opinions. She ought to have gone ahead and strike a balance between the two differing opinions and find a neutral position that would be acceptable to the two sides.
Further still, she ought to have sought the opinion of different people to find a suitable place that would be perceived as prestigious. By resigning, this didn’t solve any problem, and this shows that she lacked both leadership skills and managerial skills.
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As a manger there are different solutions and strategies that can be adopted to resolve conflict in an organization or a community. The manager has to take a neutral position without favoring either side. No one culture is superior to another, although members of either side may perceive their own to be superior.
The manager’s role is to identify the points of conflict. always each of the conflicting parties have a valid point and the manager has to consider this points without taking sides or being biased and try to find a solution , without being seen as favoring one side. The interests of the whole community should be taken into consideration without favoring one single community.
As a case of Maori and Pakeha a manager should consider the prestigious place held by each and the reasons why they hold such opinions. Out of that try to find out a solution that would leave each side contended. Always the interest of the whole society should override the interest of the one group.
One other strategy is to be aware of the diversity of the communities, and therefore have to engage both parties in a series of brainstorming and in the process of resolve the differences. When the conflicting parties are actively engage, they get to understand each other well. A manger should not engage one group independently, instead both parties should be present and all sides allowed air their views. This strategy always serves the purpose of cooling down the rising temperatures and always results in a big success.
When each group is engaged separately it will result in suspicion and friction between the conflicting groups. The manager should always try to involve both parties and emphasize, that each community is different in their own ways but they can coexist peacefully. The philosophy here is unity in diversity (Laurence, n.d.).
The manager should be a negotiator that can bring mutual understanding and respect among the potential enemies or rivals. The manager should not impose his will on the warring parties. He has to listen keenly to what each party has to say and out of that negotiate skillfully for a lasting solution.
His role is to make the parties to understand the need of unity, and what they will gain by working together. The potential losses arising from conflict should be emphasized. The manager has to make people understand the importance of peace and the need to respect each other. It is the mutual respect for each other that communities would prosper and achieve a lot in development. Negotiation is the most effective way of resolving conflict in different parts of the word and its widely employed strategy.
Another strategy is to create a compromise between the conflicting views. This is achieved by making both sides realize their differing views and the need for an alternative view that will accommodate both sides. A compromise is always effective when the involved parties realize their difference and the need for an alternative solution.
The compromise solution will contain some of the views of each party and the extreme views always not taken into account when developing a compromise solution. This has been found to be one of the best strategies of resolving conflicts. If well executed, it will provide a long lasting solution to conflict.
Besides all these strategies employed in conflict resolution, there are many others which have been used to some extent. For example use of force, though not very popular it has been used in some cases. Conflict has been part of human societies throughout history, some conflicts have been resolved successfully and some have gone without being resolved. Lately there has been a tendency to resolve virtually all the conflicts; this has largely been because of globalization and the interest of some countries seeking peace everywhere in the world.
Bilikopf, G. (n.d.). Conflict Management Skills. Web.
Flannery, B. (n.d). Conflict Resolution Strategies – Skills for Resolving Conflict. Web.
Laurence J. P. (n.d.) Conflict Resolution: Global Strategic Dispute Management. Web.
Schellemberg, J. (1996). Conflict Resolution: Theory, Research and Practices. NewYork, NY: SinyPress.
Weeks, D. (1994). The Eight Essential Steps to Conflict Resolution. NewYork, NY: Tarcher.