Cultural Diversity In Conflict Resolution

7751 words - 32 pages

Cultural diversity in effective work place conflict resolutionJirga in Afghanistan vs. Canadian court system A case based approach introduction:Conflicts of various kinds are as old as the human civilization. Humans on an individual level or collectively in the form of a tribe, nation or ethnic group have had mild to severe conflict over scarce, yet much needed, resources such as - land, money, political power, and ideology. History is full of examples of conflicts over intangibles such as ideological and religious positions that have been severe enough for involved parties to attempt to completely eliminate the opponent from the face of the planet for example crusader wars, Holocaust e ...view middle of the document...

The importance of recognizing how our differences are different has become even more important these days because despite our unprecedented closeness as a result of globalization, we appear to be even further apart with an ever-growing sense of insecurity that is underpinned by a 'politics of fear' and suspicion for those who are not like 'us'. Central to promoting respect for cultural diversity in conflict resolution is the recognition of the relationship between the individual and his or her place within the local, national and global communities and that diversity is a natural phenomenon that needs to be respected whether it is cultural, civilisational or ideological.To this end this paper compares Jirga in Afghanistan, an informal tribal conflict resolution system with the more formalized dispute resolution system of Canadian Courts within the context of common workplace related conflicts. The intent of this paper is to argue that both systems are representative of the culture, atmosphere, expectations ad mindset of the society and its constituents and therefore are effective in there own right, for example, substance abuse in the form of alcohol consumption while on duty is not an acceptable behavior in any work place. Employer whether a Canadian one or an Afghani is completely within its rights to expect that the employee be sober and not engage in such an irresponsible activity while on paid time. Both dispute resolution system would therefore lead to a penalty for the employee, if found guilty. However within the religious and cultural context of Afghanistan which is predominantly a Muslim country, imbibing alcohol is a violation of the religious code of conduct. Alcohol is considered haram (Forbidden) in Islam and all Muslims consider it to be an abhorrent act and a breaking of one's faith. Immediately the dispute takes on a different context, now it is not just a violation of employer policy or expectations as it would be in Canada where alcohol consumption is perfectly acceptable when off duty, but also a violation of religious rules. Another facet to this issue is that in the Canadian multicultural and multiethnic society the violation of the rules of a particular religion though important are not as serious a social issue as in Afghanistan where religious affiliation and rules are held very close to the general populations' hearts. In Afghanistan if such an event is not dealt as a serious and severe violation, it may lead to public outcry and wide spread discontent, which in turn could cause a worse conflict. As is evident from this example a commonly occurring conflict such as above between an employer and an employee is defined in severity by the place and the people and all that represents them the tangibles such as money and resources as well as the intangibles such as religion, culture and code of ethics. Therefore the resolution to this conflict has to incorporate all these factors for it to be effective. To this en...


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