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Developing a Cultural Hermeneutic to Conflict Resolution

In dealing with conflict, leaders should develop a cultural hermeneutics that assist the leader and organization to function successfully within a given culture (Branch, 2012). The essence of the hermeneutic should be to develop processes whereby the source of conflict is understood and where possible avoided. To develop a cultural hermeneutic we must first understand the nature of conflict in what Eisenberg and Goodall (2004) define “as the interaction of interdependent people who perceive opposition of goals, aims, and values, and who see the other parties as potentially interfering with the realization of these goals” (p 288).

Literature argues that conflicts should be understood as a portion of a broader network of interdependencies that produce wider and wider impact within the culture (Eisenberg and Goodall, 2004, p 169). Language is used to frame and work through the context of conflict is often invaluable in assisting individuals understanding of dealing with disputes (Eisenberg and Goodall, 2004, p 169).

While conflict avoidance is typically preferred, some recognize the benefits of conflict and its role in generating different ideas and perspectives as well as facilitating the sharing of information (Eisenberg and Goodall, 2004, p 288). Therefore, some degree of conflict is essential to achieving higher levels of productivity and effective communication (Eisenberg and Goodall, 2004, p 288).

It can be argued that developing a cultural hermeneutic should include an understanding of cultural context and language as well as the impact of conflict within the culture and its use as a lubricant to information sharing and productivity.


Branch, Chester (2012). Retrieved from his posting: Blackboard Dialogues for Doctorate in Strategic Leadership, Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA.

Eisenberg, Eric M. and Goodall, Jr., H.L. (2004). Organizational Communication. Fourth Edition. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin.


Philip A Foster, MA is Founder/CEO of Maximum Change Inc. Elevating leaders and their organizations to the next level since 2005. Master Certified Coach, Philip A Foster, MA and his associates facilitate effective positive change by helping organizations, leaders and individuals in high demand — design and implement strategies that maximize focus and deliver results. Specializing in Organization and Strategic Leadership.

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