Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Conflicting Pressures of Conflict and Peace

Conflicting Pressures of Conflict and Peace
Whenever we are talking about international human relations we are also going to have to look at “conflict” in a variety of forms. As countries modernize, they experience change with varying degrees of conflict involved. Countries that have modernization occur rapidly are hotbeds for Fundamentalist movements. They are especially vulnerable if they are “Third World Nations” who lack a system of national education. There appears to be a strong correlation to technological/educational growth to religious abatement.

“A fundamental question about the determinants of civil conflict is the relative importance of political freedoms versus economic development. MacCulloch and Pezzini took a new approach to provide an answer by using micro-data based on surveys of revolutionary tastes of 130,000 people living in 61 nations between 1981 and 1997. Controlling for personal characteristics, country and year fixed effects, more freedom and economic growth both reduce revolutionary support. Losing one level of freedom, equivalent to a shift from the US to Turkey, increases support for revolt by 4 percentage points. To reduce support by the same amount requires adding 14 percentage points onto the GDP growth rate. Being Muslim in a free country has no effect on the probability of supporting revolt compared to a non-religious person. However being Muslim in a country that is not free increases it by 13 percentage points. Being Christian in a free country decreases the chance of supporting revolt by 4 percentage points, compared to a non-religious person, and in a not-free country by 1 percentage point.”
(MacCulloch, Pezzini, 2002). [Italics added]

Sometimes a Positive Tension Leads to Growth
For over 4 years I conducted an experiment in a traditional class I taught, called "Group and Organizational Management." I would darken the room of the class, and then shine a light on the wall. Sometimes I used a laser light from inside a box with a slit in it. I directed everyone to watch the wall, where the light would shine. I would shine the light directly in the center of the wall, always. There is an illusion when the lights go out that the light moves away from you if you see it at an angle. So, everyone on both sides of the perimeters would often say it moved about an inch to a quarter of an inch: if they sat on the right, they would say it moved left; if they sat on the left, they would say it moved right about the same distance. Everyone in the middle would say it did not move at all. Conflict over who has the right “perception” was inevitable. They then realized after talking to one another: Their perception was an illusion and that it did not move at all. However, they would not have been able to do that on their own, as individuals. It took a positive tension from their disagreement over whether it moved. It was not the tension that brought them to the realization; it was their “full participation.” Those that did not watch for the light often also did not come to the realization that their own thoughts unchallenged, are often wrong to the degree they delay examining them.

MacCulloch, R. and Pezzini, S., (2002), “The Role of Freedom, Growth and Religion in the Taste for Revolution,” [web pdf]

Online Resources
"Agreeing and Disagreeing in Love" Mennonite Church USA
Code of Ethics of the Unitarian Universalist Church
"United We Live ... Divided We Die"
"Love - Truth: A technique for achieving unity, that permits diversity"
Circle of Concern / Circle of Influence
Circle of Influence "Grant me the courage to change the things that I can control, the serenity to accept the things that I cannot control and the wisdom to know the difference"
Interpersonal Conflict: Dangers and Solutions
The Many Costs of Conflict
Ten Tips for Managing Conflict, Tension and Anger
The Purpose of Conflict
How to Fight Fair So That Everyone Wins
Peacemaking: Positive Peace in the Workplace and Teach Your Employees Conflict Management Skills
Barriers to Every Day Communication
Don't Let the Foozles Get the Best of Your Classroom!
A Conflict Resolution Protocol for Elementary Classrooms ( PDF file)
Win-Win Approach to Conflict Resolution
You add peace of mind by dividing your anxieties

An excerpt from the book: “International Human Relations, Interpersonal Work Skills” by Frank Mueller and Dena Mueller due out in May of 2010. © 2008 All rights Reserved

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Overseas Recruiting

Overseas Recruiting

Here is a web site that might give you some ideas on describing "techniques you may need to employ or have used when recruiting or filling a position with an organization overseas." You may want to see this concerning some "unique challenges"

Saturday, May 3, 2008

When borders are a Hindrance and a Competitive Advantage

When borders are a Hindrance and a Competitive Advantage
From Chapter 1
“Neither modern political theory nor international relations theory has an impressive record when it comes to theorizing the problems posed by borders, frontiers, and identity. In the case of Anglo-American liberal political theory, the dominant tendency is to regard political life as regulated by some kind of contract, and the bounded nature of the society that contains the “contractors” is generally uninvestigated. Non-liberal approaches, on the other hand, focus more explicitly on the community, which, in principle at least, involves a greater awareness of the importance of borders’ however, the impact of global social and economic change means that the notion of a bordered, self-contained community that is at the heart of these approaches has become difficult to sustain. The absence of either a liberal or a non-liberal theory of borders has become a major source of embarrassment for political theory.
What is interesting is that international relations theory is also underdeveloped in this area. Certainly, scholars of international relations have studied frontiers, but not in the context of borders and identity. Studying frontiers was the sort of thing that international lawyers did, or global bureaucrats, not international relations theorists.” Mathias. (Albert, 2001)

When we look at International Relations we must look at the borders that divide people. There are many ways to look at the divisions. There is the view that humans have control over those divisions and they are thus arbitrary or intentional. Then there is the view that these divisions or borders are natural and all we need is to “understand” them to in a partial way “control” them. I opt for a mix of them both and am partial to the latter view first. Humans act and react using specific processes. The first paradigm to understand in relation to borders is that of the “pecking order.” This idea was discovered by Thorleif Schjelderup-Ebbe in the early twentieth century. Borders are held by some form of power be it benign or malevolent. The power runs the course of a continuum that is perceived differently by people at different ends of the power grid. The understanding of the power grid is paramount to fully using it ethically to participate in a manner that empowers and sustains the nature of humanity. They become a hindrance when…

An excerpt from the book: “International Human Relations, Interpersonal Work Skills” by Frank Mueller and Dena Mueller due out in May of 2010. © 2008 All rights Reserved

Albert, Mathias. (2001). Identities, Borders, Orders: Rethinking International Relations Theory.
Minneapolis, MN, USA: University of Minnesota Press.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands

From Library Journal "Written by executives who prepare other executives for international travel and one Fulbright scholar in cross-cultural communication, this work is a godsend for rapidly growing international collections. It is affordable, to-the-point, and easily understood book by those who as yet have no stamps on their passports. The introduction discusses cognitive styles, value systems, and negotiation strategies in different cultures, explaining how delicate they make the process of intercultural relations. Sixty countries are examined in terms of background, cultural orientation, business practices (e.g., negotiating, entertaining), and protocol (e.g., gestures, dress). Morrison and cohorts cover some countries not included by more costly "Doing Business In" publications by Business International and Price Waterhouse. The average entry length is five pages-more than Brigham Young University's Culturgrams" (Garrett Park Pr., 1993. 2d ed.). Recommended for all business and international studies collections.Lisa K. Miller, Paradise Valley Community Coll. Lib., PhoenixCopyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

This is an excellent book for themoney. It covers some very pragmatic information about cultures, and activities that most people will find themselves in on many occasions. It covers such things as the gestures you should not do in countries such as giving the "thumbs up" sign in Australia, even color combinations that could offend.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Challenges of International Human Resource Management

The Challenges of International Human Resource Management

Imagine working in a company where you have one person from every nationality, every culture, every religion, and every race. What kind of a place would it be? Would you need to walk around with a Star Trek Communicator? There would be conflict. Would the conflict always be a bad thing? No, conflict is not always a bad thing. There is a strong difference between the colloquialism of not “having a conscience” and those expressions that convey some sort of sociopathic tendency. A person suffering from the tendencies of sociopathic thinking will consider themselves right when and where most would consider themselves truly wrong or mistaken for sound reason. For instance; taking others lives to benefit and promote their beliefs about “that which is right.” All healthy humans consider kindness, love, charity, seeking of truth, meekness, goodness, and real humility characteristics of what is “right.” This view of health predates our religions.[i] Basically anything that builds the growth of human character and sustains the totality of human life is good and right. Anything that does not build the growth of human character and sustain the totality of human life is bad and wrong. These criterions are very simple and when anyone hears it or reads it I have yet to see or hear anyone disagree with it with any form of sound thinking. When we do not have a clear answer in our organizations as to what is "right" we usually seek to promote our own agenda and get rather scared because we know that there are others who are doing what they are doing and they will have to compete with them. When we are looking at this process from the view of an “Internal Organization” it magnifies the problems. If one believes they can only live in a "dog eat dog" world then there is a "scarcity mentality[ii]" that is created by the very way in which one thinks about what is right and what is wrong. The next level is where we attempt to negotiate our existence: We promise anything to "our perception of God" or "the universe" anything so long as we will get what we expect to get...we negotiate without siblings, our parents, our peers. We set up rules and normative values; we make laws and use contracts to make our lives predictable and safe. The next level of life is those who live for some sort of a cause. They are at times if they are healthy willing to use some sort of "civil disobedience" (not revolution) as did Dr Martin Luther King and Gandhi but they are not willing to lie, cheat, and steal in order to do good and be right. Those who live for a cause are seen as fakes to those who are the first level. They are seen as fakes because if they are seen as real people doing the right thing then it is too much of a challenge to them. The best way for anyone to go from any of the levels is through empathy. Empathy is the ability to identify with and feel what another person is feeling and probably thinking. Empathy is not in the sociopath’s tool kit. However, all of us at some point in time blocked our conscience or the goodness in ourselves in order not to deal with the fears we have of finding truth and doing right. We are going to look at what works in International Human Relations. We are going to examine the process in detail and seek a shared understanding of their pragmatic applications across boundaries so as to as to…

An excerpt from the book:International Human Relations, Interpersonal Work Skills” by Frank Mueller and Dena Mueller due out in May of 2010.

[i] The ideas supporting healthy humans considering kindness, love, charity, seeking of truth, meekness, goodness, and real humility characteristics of what is “right” concepts can be found in one of the oldest known writings in the world: The Epic of Gilgamesh
[ii] See the article by Tyson Yunkaporta concerning “Aboriginal Poverty Mindset” influenced and at times induced by “Western Scarcity Mentality” mindsets. also see materiel written by Stephen R. Covey concerning the topic:

Friday, April 25, 2008

Best Practices of Overseas Recruiting and Finding Expatriates

Best Practices of Overseas Recruiting and Finding Expatriates

Here is a web site that might give you some ideas on describing "techniques you may need to employ or have used when recruiting or filling a position with an organization overseas." It has a large group of white papers that covers many aspects of recruiting in general.

You may want to see this concerning some "unique challenges" This is from the United States General Accounting Office . They are looking for people who have language skills in hard-to-learn languages to fill critical positions.

The “ Workforce best practice library ” Has a great section on Recruiting and Retention at