How does the cultural communications conflict triangle help employees

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The communication conflict triangle, also known as the Karpman's triangle or the "drama" triangle is a communicative tool used in psychotherapy, psychodrama, and in other communication scenarios, where people are able to enact a conflict and experience it from the perspective of three different roles: the aggressor, the victim, and the rescuer.

In a workplace scenario, the three roles can change to: the speaker, the listener, and the interpreter. This particular set up is very helpful when dealing with cultural communication, and can help diffuse and avoid a lot of misunderstandings that occur as a result of language or non-verbal communication barriers.

With the increase of multicultural populations mainstreaming into the American workplace, it is imperative to train employees on multiculturalism, and on the similarities (not the differences) between one culture and another. To do this without fear of offending anybody, the best thing to do is to present different scenarios involving persons of different cultures and have them speak to one another.

The middle person who is doing the intervention, the "interpreter", would be the one atoning the differences between the speakers and bring them into a common perspective. This helps in the understanding that employees should expect hearing differences in intonation, syntax and pragmatics in the vocabulary usage of employees that come from different cultures, but that special attention should be paid to the message and not to the prosody, since it varies from culture to culture in an immense way.

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