Types of Intercultural Conflicts – Term Paper

What Is a Conflict?

Conflict occurs where there are threats, perceived or real, and or interference in performing any activity. Conflict is a result of others passing judgments on other people and their actions. People judge others because of their beliefs, values, and assumptions that are from one’s life experiences thus the influence of how one makes decisions and behaves (Fisher-Yoshida, 2005). Conflict can also be defined as the competition over scarce resources or the tools and power needed to acquire the limited resources and incompatible goals. The competition is because of factors such as individual’s idea of power, resources, and goals (Avruch, 1998). The two types of intercultural conflicts in this essay are relationship conflicts and task conflicts.;

The task conflict can also be referred to as substantive or cognitive conflict. This kind of conflict is concerned with disagreements about tasks, which arise from the perspectives about a particular task or views of perceived incompatibilities. Scholars believe that task conflicts are beneficial to groups as the conflict promotes the exchange of information among the group members, hence resulting in effective decision-making and team performance. However, the conflicts can also affect the groups negatively. The disagreements that are task-oriented may only happen once and can be easily resolved as they are mainly disputes over material resources such as money and time (Zhang ; Zhang, 2012). An example can be seen among the astronauts in space, and those in The International Space Station usually have disagreements amongst themselves due to issues related to the tasks. The scientific project involves 16 nations (Hammer, 2005).

Relationship conflicts are also known as affective or emotional conflicts. These conflicts arise from relationship-oriented or individual-oriented disagreements that are unrelated to task and are mostly involved with emotional tension or issues that are related to respect, esteem, power, personality, honesty, and trust. Relationship conflicts mainly result to hostility and tension that hinders group members from effectively performing their tasks. These disagreements are primarily due to intangible issues or resources such as distrust, rational transgressions, and spiritual faith (Zhang ; Zhang, 2012). An example is that between Africans and their colonizers. The whites introduced Christianity to the early Africans who already had their gods. The Africans did not welcome the idea of the new God, and for a long time fought back and held on to their gods.

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Benefits and Challenges of Intercultural Relationships


The benefits of intercultural relationships are healthier communities, increased commerce, reduced conflicts, and personal growth through tolerance. With people from different areas, there is an availability of diverse skills, information, and talents. When these people accept each other, the communities will have safe environments for all the occupants. Besides, when the members of this community merge and work together, there will be all benefit, and each will achieve their goals. There will be economic benefits locally, nationally, and internationally. With the tolerance of new and different people, each will have personal growth (Esbard, n.d.).;;


Intercultural relationship faces several challenges. One of them is the lack of mutual reassurance hence groups may fear to negotiate or make any concessions. They think the negotiations may result in more costly concessions that will put their security and national identity at risk. Another challenge is uneasy coalition where the parties may have trouble in trusting each other thus difficult to build effective collaboration. The parties involved also have rust issues while working together. Those involved trust the others only when they believe they have an interest in making peace. For example, the working trust between Rabin and Arafat named as the Oslo agreement that was ended after the assassination of Rabin. Also, for trust to exist between the parties, there must begin the process even without the trust (Kelman, 2005). Another challenge concerns the third party who is needed to assure bridge the gap between the conflicting parties. The third party must therefore prove trustworthy and must never violate the confidentiality. He or she may end up being called in even after peaceful meetings (Kelman, 2005).;;

Variations in Host Attitudes towards Tourism

Hosts have perceptions of tourism after weighing the benefits. The key factors that allow the hosts to participate in exchange depend on the cultural, social, economic, and environmental benefits. The quality of the host’s lives will automatically be influenced when the community becomes a tourist’s destination. There will be consequences such as an increase in the population of people, rise in the costs of goods and services, traffic jams, and some employment and economic-based effects.

Therefore, for the tourism initiatives and project to be successful the hosts must support the tourism plans. The reason being tourism will require the hospitability and knowledge from the residents. The social contact between tourists and the residents depends on the cultural background, whether it is similar, different but slightly similar, or different and with a significant difference.

When the cultural difference is wide, the hosts and the tourists will have high chances of misunderstandings due to distorting each other;s behavior and its meaning. For example, the Middle East countries receiving tourism brings about different perceptions of the socio-culture between the tourists and the hosts. This will mainly be because the dominant religion in the Middle East countries is Islam (Zaidan, 2015).;

Influence of Work Values on Intercultural Business

;The human resource management views intercultural skills as valuable and beneficial. The highly valued skill is respect for other people and it leads to high productivity in teams and the business in general.

Individualism vs. Collectivism

Individuals from individualist cultures highly value development, regarding freedom and one’s right is essential. Such people will portray high competition in business, challenge the authority, and settle conflicts according to the rules. However, those in collectivist cultures emphasize on the community’s wellbeing. They avoid conflicts, and if any, it is settled traditionally and not according to the rules of the business. These individuals also protect the society such as the workmates, unquestioningly. Both groups add value to the firm (Avruch, 1998).

Quality vs. Efficiency

For a business, it would be better if employees were producing quality work no matter the time taken. The business managers will always know there will be good results. Besides, efficiency is also required for a business to operate effectively and under meet the set objectives.

Task vs. Relationship Priority

Individuals from task-oriented cultures have the drive to finish the tasks given. In business, this will ensure that the duties assigned to such employees will always be completed. However, those considering relationship priorities in workplaces do not produce good results (Eidam and Partners, n.d.).;



Avruch, K. (1998). Culture and Conflict Resolution. Washington: Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS).

Eidam and Partners. (n.d.). Cross-cultural Values of Germany/Germans. Retrieved from Eidam and Partner: www.eidam-und-partner.de

Esbard, P. (n.d.). Chapter 1: The Necessity of Intercultural Communication Objectives, Overview, and Outline CHAPTER OBJECTIVES. Retrieved from Academia: www.academia.edu/737113

Fisher-Yoshida, B. (2005). Reframing Conict: Intercultural Conict as Potential Transformation. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 1-16.

Hammer, M. (2005). The Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory: A Conceptual Framework and Measure of Intercultural Conflicts Resolution Approaches. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 675-695.

Kelman, H. (2005). Building Trust among Enemies: The Central Challenge for International Conflict Resolution. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 639-650.

Van, M. B., Pieter, J. v., ; Gerritsen, M. (2015). Developing a High-Quality Intercultural Relationship: Expatriates and their Local Host. Journal of Global Mobility, 25-45.

Zaidan, E. (2015). The impact of cultural distance on residents perception of tourism development: The case of Dubai in UAE. Tourism, 109-126.

Zhang, Q., ; Zhang, J. (2012). Conflict Types, Resolution, and Relational Satisfaction: A U.S.-China Investigation. Intercultural Communication Studies, 41-52.