A Cultural Conflict Resolution

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The world is made up of several communities that follow various cultural norms. For instance, Asian cultures carry out cultural activities from a totally different standpoint than communities from Africa. Another great example is the Hindus, who are infamous for burning their dead whereas Muslims bury them. From the same vantage point, society cohesion is vulnerable to conflict situations anytime people collide over divergent viewpoints or attitudes on various issues (Fry & Bjorkqvist, 2013). As a result, each society has its own ways of resolving disputes, which may involve abiding by laws and regulations or using one's natural inclinations. I have been studying the Korinda community for the past six months and had an opportunity to experience an ethical conflict involving two community elders, their perception of the situation, and ethical factors used by other members to solve the issues.

It all began on a lazy Saturday afternoon after a heavy midday meal. Dando and Kendis were out in the field grazing their fathers’ cattle when a quarrel suddenly arose between the boys. Dando then challenged Kendis to a fight in front of other younger boys. According to the community’s traditions, a fight challenge is never taken lightly, worse still, if one is challenged in the presence of their juniors. Therefore, the boys set the match to be on a full moon during the community’s cultural dance night. This arrangement postponed an away-from-home duel. In case they fought in the fields, it would be an entertaining event considering that there would be no rules to follow. The opponents would engage each other by using any equipment at their disposal. However, the news were met differently back at home due to the rules governing the Korinda community. The father of Kendis held a senior position in the clan comparing to Dando’s father. Therefore, Dando’s father and his household were not allowed to cross Kendis’ father and his household. In general, it was a standstill because carrying out one activity would ultimately break the other rule.

Considering his position in the clan, Kendis’ father was too proud to allow the fight because it would be a disrespect to his family. However, he has always disliked Dando’s father and would use any opportunity to harm him. Dando’s father, on the other hand, was too excited that his family was finally going to engage in the community’s traditions and thus he readily allowed the fight. The boys were thrilled and eager to show that they were mature enough for initiation to the next level. A council of elders was then arranged to discuss the matter because a higher-ranked elder was indirectly involved and his title was at stake. The council of elders ended up letting boys fight but not make the battle an official event. Otherwise, it would be disrespectful to Kendi’s father.

By viewing the conflict from another perspective, there is an ongoing conflict between the two elders. In fact, the fight between the two boys would happen if the two men had their way. However, both should understand alternatives to solving the conflict assuming that the council of elders had not intervened. The best way to solve the conflict comprises of three virtues: desire to solve the conflict, understanding any barriers to the conflict, and choice of resolution method (Wallensteen, 2015).

In this scenario, the council of elders acted as commendably as community social workers do to solve the conflict and avoid any societal problems. This act is acknowledged by a scripture in the Bible. Mathew 18:16 says “But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses” (Bible, 2014). The other elders acted as witnesses to the resolution thus promoting peace.

Secondly, the two elders should learn from the council about appropriate mechanisms of solving conflicts. In any conflict scenario, there is always some aspect of resistance such as recognizing the problem at hand or problem-solving methods (Barsky, 2017). Such resistance may arise in various forms. For instance, they may fail to recognise their values, as shown in the case between the two elders, and failure to acknowledge personal, cultural bias, or stereotypes. Another resistance may arise when the parties involved deny the existence of the conflict. There is also a tendency among conflicting parties to wait for an appropriate time to solve the disagreement.

Finally, people may accept different conflict resolution methods. However, the most suitable way is the one that accommodates the views of both parties (Kelman, Fisher & ProQuest, 2016). In this scenario, the council of elders analysed the cultural rules and regulations to make an informed decision based on the personal differences between the two elders. Even though the decision seemed to be taken in favor of Kendi’s father, it was meant to benefit the whole society. The solution amended any future problems that may have occured between the two elders in future. For instance, if Kendi’s father had lost his title to a junior elder after the boys' battle, that would have triggered hatred and animosity between the two families.

In conclusion, conflicts arise in the community due to varying perspectives of its members. However, these differences should not be allowed to develop into arguments. Instead, people should learn to apply various conflict resolution startegies such as engaging third parties to resolve disagreements and promote peace.


Barsky, A. E. (2017). Conflict resolution for the helping professions: Negotiation, mediation, advocacy, facilitation, and restorative justice.

Bible, H. (2014). King James version online.

Fry, D. P., & Bjorkqvist, K. (Eds.). (2013). Cultural variation in conflict resolution: Alternatives to violence. Psychology Press.

Kelman, H. C., In Fisher, R. J., & ProQuest (Firm). (2016). Herbert C. Kelman: A pioneer in the social psychology of conflict analysis and resolution.

Wallensteen, P. (2015). Understanding conflict resolution. Sage.

March 10, 2023


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