NAVIGATING WORKPLACE CONFLICT A case study of local and foreign employees at an international company in Tanzania
Abstract: In the era of global trade and professional ties across borders, understanding how individuals from diverse contexts frame and respond to workplace conflict is critically important. Researchers have found various variables with some correlation to preferred conflict management style. These include cultural background, personality traits and the effect of work roles. This case study examines the conflict management styles of 12 local and foreign employees at an international real estate development company in Tanzania through the lens of the Intercultural Conflict Style (ICS) model (Hammer, 2005). The findings reveal that though nationality, ethnicity and race may influence individual’s selection of conflict style, they may overlook complexities that are brought by individual’s learned routines of thinking, such as transnational life, family, gender and religion. Further, they show how differences in cultural background as well as lack of awareness of others’ conflict styles may usher in miscommunication and conflict. The study contributes to enhancing the ICS model whilst enriching the literature on African organisational communication, particularly intercultural conflict management, which remains largely underexplored. It also offers recommendations for nurturing workplace relationships and productive conflicts (when conflicts happen), which might be of interest to companies with diverse staff.
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