Common Causes of Conflict
EXAMPLE: Differences in Values and Beliefs
One day in 1983, a young worker and an older worker were discussing the state of the country's economy over lunch. The subject turned to automobile production, and the young worker stated that he had just bought an automobile manufactured in Japan. He said that the quality of Japanese cars was far higher than that of American cars, and proceeded to quote some data to prove it.
The older worker was visibly angered by this and began to defend American cars and the need to "Buy American." He argued that to buy foreign cars was anti-American, and, "besides, Americans always made good products." They continued arguing until the older worker couldn't take the discussion any longer. His hand was shaking as he said "Look, I lived through World War II, and I would never buy anything made in Japan!"
The young worker, however, didn't pick up on the signal and continued citing facts that supported his argument. The discussion led to some hard feelings between the two, and it was some time before they could resume their relationship.
What the young worker failed to recognize was that there were significant events (perhaps the bombing of Pearl Harbor) that had shaped the older worker's values and beliefs. The older worker wasn't hearing the young worker's argument because he was filtering the entire conversation through his "anti-Japanese" filter. Finally, this deeply held belief erupted in an emotional outburst and the beginning of a conflict.
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