The sources of conflict inter-play a very critical role in determining suitable ways to manage conflict. Studies made from time to time do indicate various dimensions of conflict. The major identified sources are;
The communication process
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As has been enlisted above, most of the sources are common as Mayer used in his wheel of conflict. Mayer (2000) enumerates six major sources of conflict include methods of communication, emotions, history, values, structures, and needs. In Mayer (2000) opinion “Culture affects conflict because it is embedded in individuals’ communication styles, history, and way of dealing with emotions, values, and structures.” Some of the most identified sources of conflict are communication, emotions, and personal values.
Psychologists Art Bell and Brett Hart identified eight causes of conflict in the early 2000s.
“The eight causes are:
1. Conflicting resources.
2. Conflicting styles.
3. Conflicting perceptions.
4. Conflicting goals.
5. Conflicting pressures.
6. Conflicting roles.
7. Different personal values.
8. Unpredictable policies.”
Language facilitates communication. Coleman (1995) realized the role of language causing conflict when workforce consists of cultural diversity. Where on the positive side, language is a strong source to understand and feel other cultures but as Steyn (1994) observes that the un-favoring attitude which people make an approach to other languages breeds intolerable problems resulting in conflict ultimately for which the language diversity is responsible in multicultural organizations. As Mayer (2000) experienced and expressed that people find some language elements of another culture to be amusing or disgusting. The y further added that “The most basic constant is that everyone fundamentally wants to be understood…”. Lupi & Tong (2001) stated that languages have enough strength to cause immediate communication barriers. Ewert (2000) and Finley (2000) sought solution to this problem adding that it is highly significant to make a conscious decision to respect people comprising conditions even when their differences produce discomfort. Hermann et al (1997) and Robbins (2001) are of the view that language conflicts are often flared up by someone attributing negative intentions to another person of other culture. Having viewed, the potential role of language causing communication can be better understood and handled at pre-mature stages.
Perception is how one looks at one particular information or situation. Ormrod (1995) defines perception as referring to the meaning that people attach to information received. Perception is described as a cognitive process which helps one organize and interpret any stimuli received from the internal or external environment (Swanepoel, Erasmus, Van Wyk & Schenk, 2001). Perceptions are subjective experience and while passing through this people interpret meaning through their own field of experience whether sweet or bitter. However, perception one may suffer from an inaccurate interpretation to a information or situation. The nature of perception is indefinite making it a critical issue in cross-cultural communication set because most of the times the meaning of perception is determined by ones cultural orientation and as a result it naturally happens to be easier to make a premature judgment than to delay it to grasp it fully. Supporting the concept Steyn (1994) further stated that multicultural interactions require people to consult each other for differing perceptions which may cause conflict.