Folium: How Different Cultures Around the World Deal With Emotion and Conflict via BigThink

Folium: How Different Cultures Around the World Deal With Emotion and Conflict via BigThink

Folium: How Different Cultures Around the World Deal With Emotion and Conflict via BigThink

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Many different people make up this world with varying colors, genders, sizes, sexualities and races just to name a few. Something that distinguishes a group of humans more than anything else is the way their culture affects them. In this article written by Frank Jacobs points out specifically how different countries and cultures around the world affect the way professionals make business negotiations. There is a display of a diagram that shows differences in attitudes to business negotiations in a number of countries. We’re going to take a look at the graph done by Harvard Business and judge accordingly…

Expressive, Unexpressive, Confrontational, or Avoidance?

Expressive, Unexpressive, Confrontational, or Avoidance?

Think about what conflict typically means and ask yourself how to respond to conflict. Maybe you need to accept that your feelings are simply your own or you need to listen to the other person’s side or even to the extent to which you cold and emotionless. There are various ways that different cultures handle that kind of situation. If you take a look at the graph you will see that vertically, the map distinguishes between countries where it is highly taboo to show emotions during business proceedings. For example if you’re an American trying to do some serious business deal in Japan, you’ll need to be stone cold. To oppose those motives the horizontal axis differentiates countries with a very confrontational negotiating style such as Germany. If you could choose a country to have conflict with, who would you choose according to the graph?

“Negotiating with Filipinos? Be warm and personal, but stay polite. Cutting das Deal with Germans? Stay cool as ice, and be tough as nails. So what happens if you’re a German doing business in the Philippines?” – BigThink

If we look at conflict as a negotiation meaning that it is a conversation trying to reach an agreement I would want to have a conflict with a Latin American country where they are warm and much more open. But because culture has such a heavy influence on how their react to negotiations and conflict, their thoughts will usually fall back on what they’re most comfortable with. Cultures are embedded in every conflict because conflicts arise in human relationships, it’s almost inevitable. Cultures affect the ways we name, frame, blame, and attempt to tame conflicts. Whether a conflict exists at all is a cultural question.

Jacobs finishes up his article talking about what he’s most comfortable with, demonstrating according to the graph where the United States would fall. He says: “not too confrontational, not too conflict-averse…” He argues that the United States does a pretty good job of controlling their emotions and staying mainly neutral while in an argument thanks to the culture that we live here in America, and I would have to agree. It seems to me that we’ve gotten good at reading a situation and then acting on what we find accordingly. I think that a lot of Americans are born and raised in a country that demonstrates real self control in not being too friendly like the South Americans and not cold like the Asians. Just as there is no consensus across cultures or situations on what constitutes a conflict or how events in the interaction should be framed, so there are many different ways of thinking about how to tame it.

Julie Martin
LEAF Editor & Contributor

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