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Effective and appropriate communication and conflict management in global organization

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posted on 02.03.2017, 00:41 by Khor, Aik Cheow
Purpose. The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences, challenges faced and perceived confidence of leaders positioned in a culturally diverse organization in managing communication and conflict with other diverse cultural groups. Methodology. Qualitative methodology with qualitative description was used in this study. A total of 15 senior manager participants working for the same organization were being interviewed using critical incident technique. These participants were holding managerial positions and came from 9 countries of America, China, India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Thailand. Qualitative content analysis was used for data analysis. Findings. The findings showed that building trust through personal relationships and showing respect were the two major issues when participants were managing communication and conflict with other culturally diverse groups. A personal relationship could facilitate effective and appropriate communication management with more accurate interpretation of others’ behaviors, and higher tolerance towards others’ occasional misbehaviors. In the absence of personal relationship, participants were more vulnerable to miscommunication and conflict escalation was most likely to happen under such distrusting circumstances. Participants often felt disrespected in situations of conflict when they perceived others had doubt in their capabilities to perform at the workplace. Showing respect had a depersonalizing effect on conflict. It was needed to sustain the process of cooperation and problem solving. The findings also showed that building trust and showing respect were perceived to be the main challenges of managing communication and conflict with other culturally diverse groups respectively. Other communication-related and conflict-related challenges were possible manifestation of mistrust and disrespect, and might be similarly dealt with successfully when there were more trust and respect. The perception of confidence in managing communication and conflict with other culturally diverse groups was about having trust at work and getting respect at work. Trust was perceived as confidence that others would have good intentions to cooperate together for mutual beneficial outcomes; respect was perceived as being capable to apply confidently the acquired competence learned from working experiences. Confidence with respect and trust might further thrive in a supportive working environment that was made up of trust, respect, cooperation and active learning. Research limitations. The nature of the organization under study and the selection of 15 participants limit the generalizability of the study to other organizations of different nationalities, job functions and/or other organizations operating in different markets. Practical implications. This study provides a very informative and educational guide for anyone working for a global organization who aspires to better manage communication and conflict with their culturally diverse teams. Value. This study provides new insights to effective and appropriate communication and conflict management in culturally diverse organization, by exploring common fundamentals of trust and respect and holding top management accountable for a more supportive company culture, as most current strategies and studies are often based on cultural differences, and they focuses mainly on middle/lower management.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Leonard Cairns

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Department, School or Centre


Degree Type



Faculty of Education