Belief is defined as powers or a supernatural power that control human destiny. Maori tribe holds a strong belief of their ancestors including Wharenui, whom the meeting house is named after. On the contrary, Pakeha tribe does not believe in any traditional culture and it has been claimed that they do not have a culture. Maori tribe believes that people who visit the wharenui gets into to the body of that ancestor where they are protected and natured. To Ngaire, holding the meeting in that place would provide an ideal environment for nurturing the participants. Pakeha people on the other hand believe in prestige and the manager does not see the need of holding such an important meeting in such place. This collides with Ngaire’s believe who takes manager’s decision as an insult to her community.
Assumptions constitute an important element of organizational culture. Assumptions are statements that are presupposed to be true and from which conclusions can be drawn. Ngaire’s manager assumes that the local location that Ngaire has chosen does not meet the requirements of such a high profile meeting. The manager assumes that the place cannot offer the quality services and accommodation required for such meeting. His decision collides with that of Ngaire who feels that a local marae can as well serve the purpose.
Solutions that you would use to resolve the conflict
One of the challenges faced by managers is solving organizational conflicts. Organizational conflict takes place at different levels including employee vs. employee, employee vs. manager, manager vs. manager, and manager vs. executive. Conflicts may arise in an organization due to issues such as goal incompatibility, personal clashes, differences in judgment, and cultural misunderstanding. The case study portrays a cultural conflict between a manager and an employee. If conflicts are not addressed and left to escalate, employees may feel upset, frustrated, and even act aggressively. This might culminate into a hostile work environment where employees do not feel safe to participate.
As a manager, the strategies that I would use to solve the problem include promotion of cultural awareness, deployment of culturally compatible resources, and compromising strategy. To start with, conflict resolution should start with parties’ acknowledgement that their conflict contains a cultural dimension. This is followed by the willingness of both sides to deal with all dimensions of the conflict including cultural one. As exemplified in the case, there exists a cultural conflict between the manager and Ngaire. The third step involves systematic phased work on the conflict. As a manager, I would engage both parties in a series of discussion to describe what they find offensive in each other’s behavior. The next step is to help both parties understand the cultural perception held by each individual. As a manager, I would advise Ngaire’s manager to accept her proposal to hold the meeting in a local hotel as she had proposed. This will ensure that Ngaire does not feel looked down upon because the problem has resulted due to cultural differences.
Another strategy that people can use to prevent cross-cultural conflict involves encouraging people to learn more about cultures they come in contact with. A manger can help people obtain this knowledge through general reading, training programs, learning from past experiences, and talking to people from different cultures. An important aspect of cultural education involve understanding one’s own culture and developing cultural awareness through acquisition of a broader knowledge of beliefs, assumptions, and values of other cultures, rather than viewing them through the prism of cultural stereotypes (Ellis & Anderson, 2005). Raising awareness between the conflicting parties would help in coming at a consensus on the venue of the meeting.
Compromising strategies involves winning something while losing a little. According to this strategy, both parties are placed against the middle in an attempt to serve the ‘common good’ while at the same time ensuring both parties maintain some of their original position (Masters, & Albright, 2002). In the case of Ngaire and her manager, it is important for the organization to settle for a venue for the meeting. As a manger, engaging both parties in a round table meeting would help in ensuring that both parties understand individual opinion and settle for a venue for the meeting. Compromising strategy would be beneficial in this case since there is a need to reach at immediate settlement for the meeting venue.
Brenton, A.L, & Driskill, G.W. (2010). Organizational culture in action: A cultural analysis workbook. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE.
Cloke, K., & Goldsmith, J. (2005). Resolving conflicts at work: Eight strategies for everyone on the job. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
Ellis, D., & Anderson, D. (2005). Conflict resolution: An introductory text. Ontario, Canada: Emond Montgomery Publication.
Masters, M. F., & Albright, R. R. (2002). The complete guide to conflict resolution in the workplace. New York: AMACOM.