For the purpose of this study, humanistic or existential will be the personality perspective in focus. The scenario will involve two parties of equal rank who will develop a conflict based on perceived socio-cultural differences. Both of them are associated to cultural groups, have had no significant histories of conflict with co-workers and are both being considered for promotion. Humanistic perspective will be applied to the analysis of the scenario with a particular focus on how personality affected the situation. In doing so, recommendations for the resolution of the existing conflict and preventing future ones can be determined.
The conflict develops between the Product Development Manager (PDM) and the Sales Manager (SM) of a company due to the former's proposition that the new product, a new type of breakfast cereal should acquire halal certification. The PDM believes that gaining such a certification, reflecting that the product conforms to Muslim religious conditions for food preparations will reflect the product's sensitivity to the Muslim community and follow the merchandising strategies being implemented by international retail companies (Patton, 2006). However, the SM believes that because of considering the existing delay in the launching of the product, the certification has to be foregone and furthermore, he believes that the certification will not impact significantly the sales performance of the product which he considered as his primary priority.
Interview of both managers reveal that though they often have had to work together, they have little knowledge of the other's private life. Upon further review, there seems to be also little common ground in their backgrounds. The PDM migrated to the country from Pakistan in his teens with his family because of threats of violence from extremist Muslims. His father supported their family by being through his professorship in one of the city's leading universities. He grew up in a traditional household and has had strong ties to the Muslim community particularly in the promoting cultural and social awareness. He believes strongly in social and religious tolerance and often deliberately avoids having to voice out personal opinions on sensitive socio-cultural issues. In contrast, the SM has been often described as and "all-American guy". He grew up in a predominantly Caucasian community and has strong ties with community through his involvement in local sports and recreation clubs. His interest in business was encouraged by his parents, both of whom had very successful business careers. He is very task-oriented, young in comparison to the other managers, has very strong opinions and does not hesitate to express himself.
In the case presented, the contrasting personalities of the PDM and SM contribute to their conflict. Since part of conflict is being attributed to race, ethnicity or culture, there is heightened sensitivity in the reaction of the parties involved (Kibria, 2000). Because these factors are considered intimately with identity and self-esteem, communication and interaction can be significantly impeded (Reeve, 2005). Current research show that personality interaction is greatly influenced by external factors, particular if such factors impact social perceptions or characterizations (Biesanz et al,