The Emergence of Conflict in a Multicultural Training Group: The Anatomy of a Disorienting Dilemma
Bourjolly, Sands, Finley, and Arnold examine conflict in a multicultural training group for mental health practitioners. They used qualitative research methods to track the process as it unfolded. In this paper, they describe a critical case that elicited conflict and use transformative learning theory and postmodernism as lenses for understanding the event. A succession of comments perceived as insults or microaggressions served as predecessors to a disorienting dilemma that sparked strong emotional reactions and set the group on a course of transformative learning. They also discuss problematic cross-cultural communication styles and group dynamics related to the microaggression and describe the instructors’ reflections. The paper concludes with implications for dealing with the emergence of conflict related to microaggressions in the classroom and the challenges of intense affect in relation to race, gender, and class. Although our critical case took place in a continuing education training class in multicultural practice, situations like this also occur in university courses and other educational settings.
All published works remain the copyright of the author, and are published under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 License. Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attributions-ShareAlike 4.0 License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) following the journal's published version of the work, as it can lead to productive exchanges and greater citation of published work.