The purpose of this article is to examine the leadership characteristics and skills essential for managing cross-cultural conflict in global and multicultural organizations and the necessary possible skills leaders need to be successful in mitigating the conflicts, which is conducted in a master list format.
As organizations continue to expand globally, culture has added even more complexity to the organization, and, as a result, firms are making teams and groups increasingly more important in solving complex issues (Stewart & Barrick, 2000; West, 2002). Cross-cultural negotiations between individuals in the same organization or from different organizations have the potential to be more complex and confusing than in-culture negotiations (Godfrey, 1995; Puffer & McCarthy, 1995). In the 1970s, Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann identified five main styles of dealing with conflict that vary in their degrees of cooperativeness and assertiveness. They argued that people typically have a preferred conflict resolution style. However, they note that different styles are most useful in different situations. They developed the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI) which helps you to identify which style you tend towards when conflict arises. The leadership styles identified are as follows:
Competitive: People who tend towards a competitive style take a firm stand, and know what they want.
Collaborative: People tending towards a collaborative style try to meet the needs of all people involved.
Compromising: People who prefer a compromising style try to find a solution that will at least partially satisfy everyone.
Accommodating: This style indicates a willingness to meet the needs of others at the expense of the person’s own needs.
Avoiding: People tending towards this style seek to evade the conflict entirely. This style is typified by delegating controversial decisions, accepting default decisions, and not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings.
These leadership skills and characteristics are valuable and should be followed not just multinational organizations but from the local organizations as well.
Successful Leaders and Teams
Alaina Love (2010) states “As organizations embrace the power of diversity to drive business results, it clearly positions them for growth in a flatter world economy, where the composition and complexion of the workforce and customer base is increasingly shifting”. Many organizations would agree that an important key to success is by valuing the differences and experiences that each individual on your team represents. That’s what good team building and performance is all about. Many global organizations value this as an advantage to their success. Successful organizations know that developing individuals who can truly lead in the global economy gives them a competitive advantage. An organization that implements diversity should definitely value and show respect to all individuals and their differences. A group of people with different perspectives usually makes better decisions and finds more creative solutions than those who have largely similar views, backgrounds, and skill sets. Companies to capitalize successfully on diversity, they must develop different training programs and have strategic framework that not only considers how to attract and retain diverse employees but also is anchored in a culture of inclusion. Organizations should be accountable to diversity and measure the success by recognizing and rewarding the employees.
A leader must communicate formal goals and plans, especially in global business. In order to become more successful in global arena, leaders and their followers have to understand the cultural differences and respect these differences. This article examined different skills and characteristics that are relevant to the essential for managing cross-cultural conflict in global and multicultural organizations and the necessary possible skills leaders need to be successful in mitigating the conflicts. The best advice to the managers is to research cultural traditions in that particular area where conducting business and adapt to them, if necessary.