Strategies for Intercultural Conflict Management in the Workplace

There are more than 80,000 multinational corporations operating in the world today.

obraz Strategies for Intercultural Conflict Management in the Workplace

With more cross-border interaction, different cultures are meeting in the workplace. When cultures with different approaches to doing business meet, intercultural conflict can occur.

For business leaders, knowing how to approach intercultural disagreement is important. A big part of conflict management is understanding where it comes from.

Keep reading to learn more about managing conflict in the workplace. 

What Is Intercultural Conflict?

Conflict is a dispute between two or more parties. It happens when values, goals, needs, interests, and opinions don’t meet.

Intercultural conflict happens between people from different cultures. It happens because people have their own beliefs about the right behaviour. When those beliefs about the right behaviour don’t meet, conflict occurs.

Understand Where Conflict Comes From

Different cultures have different languages, norms, values, and customs. These effect behaviour in the workplace.

For example, some cultures think personal relationships are important when doing business. They prefer to do business with people they get along well with. Other cultures don’t believe that those relationships are important for getting work done.

These ways of working can make it hard to overcome conflict. The first feels more comfortable talking about the conflict. The latter prefers an indirect approach. 

Why Is Intercultural Conflict Management Important?

Conflict is never good for business. Conflict causes disruptions, absenteeism, and termination. But it can also affect productivity and the success of projects.

Trust and support create a workplace where morale is high. When people from different backgrounds work together, the result is creativity. That means creative approaches and solutions to business objectives and better business overall.

How to Handle Intercultural Conflict

People from different cultures have different approaches to how to act. But they also have different beliefs about handling conflict. This is why conflict management has to come from leadership. 

Here are some steps to follow:

  • Know and understand the cultural background of employees.
  • Educate employees on multiculturalism and each other’s cultures.
  • Approach conflict from a multicultural frame of reference.
  • Never rank one cultural understanding over another.
  • Develop compassion, empathy, and self-awareness in management and employees.
  • Always aim to reconcile.

An important part of conflict management is education. Help your employees understand their differences. Do so with empathy and compassion.

Then, conflict is less likely to arise. And when it does, they will have tools for dealing with it.

Conflict From Language

As a leader, you need to understand what conflict is and where it comes from. That is the key to intercultural conflict management. Without this understanding, you can’t educate your team.

A lot of conflicts come from differences in value, beliefs, customs, and norms. But some conflicts arise as a result of differences in language. For that, we have the solution.

Contact us to learn more about our specialised translation services.

Esperanto – the international language

Esperanto – the international language

On the 26th July1887, under the pseudonym Doktoro Esperanto (one who hopes), the Polish-Jewish ophthalmologist Ludwik Zamenhof published Unua Libra, a book about a new auxiliary language – Esperanto, which he hoped would become a widely-adopted means of international communication.

In this book, he outlined his three goals for Esperanto:

  1. To render the study of the language so easy as to make its acquisition mere play to the learner.
  2. To enable the learner to make direct use of his knowledge with persons of any nationality, whether the language be universally accepted or not; in other words, the language is to be directly a means of international communication.
  3. To find some means of overcoming the natural indifference of mankind, and disposing them, in the quickest manner possible, and en masse, to learn and use the proposed language as a living one, and not only in last extremities, and with the key at hand.

41S4HyHCAiL. SL500 SY344 BO1204203200  Esperanto   the international language

Zamenhof’s aspirations for Esperanto were ambitious, but it is probably the most successful constructed language in the world. It is spoken by around 2 million people worldwide. Although it is a constructed or artificial language, some of these are native speakers, having learned it from birth. There are also a large number of organisations that support people interested in, involved with and learning Esperanto. The Universal Esperanto Association ( is probably the largest, with members in 120 countries. It has even been adopted by Google Translate. Facebook, always a good place to research trends, report 350,000 users declaring Esperanto as a spoken language.

And, despite the continuing popularity of English as a universal language, Esperanto is actively used, sought and studied to this day. The take-up of a recent Duolingo course ( highlights this – by November last year, over 600,000 users had signed up to study. Esperanto is clearly one to watch!