Many change agents, OD consultants and coaches roam the corporate world peddling wares to solve conflicts expediently, as in : we all need to see the “value” both in conflict and its ready resolution.
Yet many folks come from cultures which do not place as high a value on expedient conflict resolution.
Following is a list of attitudes which characterizes cultures which do not seek to “move ahead, move on, compromise, and put the conflict all behind us”.
1) These cultures tend to have more principles and less preferences. These principles are non negotiable, for the very reason that they are principles.
2) These cultures are not in a hurry. They believe that time is on their side, and if the conflict can wait for a year, a decade or a thousand years, they will get a better deal.
3) Compromise equals a loss of dignity. Better to die standing up than remain alive crawling like insect, goes the argument.
4) Meeting somewhere is the middle is a perceived disgrace to both sides. In a compromise/solution mode, “both sides look bad”.
5) There is an expectation from leadership/management that they be strong, not “solve” issues with other parties.” That makes followers “look good”.
6) Leadership perceives that solving a crisis will weaken them and set up an alternative power structure. There is no perception of “ we all get a bigger piece of a larger pie”.
Change agents who work with such populations need to
a-understand the basic assumptions of the protagonists
b-set realistic expectations about what can/cannot be achieved
c-use “temporary” resolution instead of final status resolution
d-avoid having protagonists meet, preferring an imposed solution.