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Conflict onion

PeerThink Standard Sheet: Input/Method/Exercise

Based on RealGeM & GemTrEx, with adaptations referring to Blickhäuser & Bargen1

Name of the Input/ Method/Exercise
Cross-cultural Onion: Solution in managing cross-cultural, cross sectional orpeer-group conflicts
1h30 – 2 hours

Target Group/Criteria for Access
Social workers, peer and Youth workers, teachers, community-workers and mental health workers
Flip chart, writing materials (papers, pencils, participants
(6-18 persons) and 1 facilitator/moderator, chairs, one case (conflict situation)
Learning Outcomes
 Knowledge Appropriate in resolving protracted conflict situation and when little or no time is available, participants get knowledge of cross-cultural and cross-sectional dynamics embedded in peer group Violence, it reduces complexity, hidden messages/wishes would be clear, widens participants focus, different points of view, it increases the possibility of reaching a decision.

Handles group dynamics effectively, saves time, solution based, every person is a participant, reduces tension, modifiable
 Skills Curiosity , ability to wait, good concentration,  Solution based interventions, systemic theories, group dynamics, reflections ability, cross cultural mediation  and conflict resolution, etc.
Method Instruction
Explain the method and the adaptation in cross-cultural and intersectional conflict resolution.
Step-by-Step Description
1 step: Case study: facilitator gives the guideline for the intervention: creating 3 groups, each group with a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 6 participants. G1. conflict narrator(s) , G2. hypothesis builders, G3. solution makers, and the silent observers. (10 minutes)

Step 2. Group 1 seats at inner circle (Group 1 is made up of the persons who are confronted with the problem or who feel affected. These persons should narrate every facet of the problem. The facilitator/conflict mediator asks questions to clear ambiguities. At the same time Group 2 listens to the problem narration and at the same time writes down whatever they think were the explanations, hypothesis /causes of the problem and why the troubles linger so long (here it is very important to note that hypothesis are assumptions and constructs for a particular situation. The third group listens at the same time and make notes for possible solutions to the problem. (20-25 minutes )

Step 3: Now G2 is sitting in the inner circle and exchanges their hypotheses together, and the counsellor asks questions for better understanding (20 minutes )

Step 4. Group 3 seats in the middle and exchanges their views/ ideas to conflict resolution, based on the information from the first and the second groups (20 minutes)

Step 5. Groups 1 to group 3 and observers: consider together the appropriateness of the solutions suggested. They are also allowed to make amends. The decision for putting the resolution into practice would be reached (20 minutes)
Application in a conflict situation, place of work, cross cultural settings, family conflicts, community conflicts
Frame Conditions
(Room, Space)
At least 25m2 room space, with good ventilation
  • group size
  • recommendation about point of time or process (e.g.“starter”)
  • Framework/Related Methods
6-18 participants

Towards the end: first explore the expectations and wishes of the conflict partners, understand the conflict dynamic, to reduce tension and give appreciable solutions
cross cultural mediation and conflict management, cross cultural contract “carousell“, conflict free communication (Marshall Rosenberg)
Possible difficulties
  • group situation
  • point of process
Knowledge of cross cultural dynamics, hypothesis, difficult for people with little or no knowledge of Migration dynamics/cross cultural competencies
Comments and Experiences/Evaluation
Participants tell their impressions, etc.

adopted from systemic interventions: architecture and designs for counsellors  and change managers from Roswita Königswieser and Alexander Exner, Klett-Cotta,  2006
modified for cross cultural conflict resolution (Liviuns Nwoha 2007)


1 Blickhäuser, Angelika / Bargen, Henning von (Hrsg.) (2006): Mehr Qualität durch Gender Kompetenz. Ein Wegweiser für Training und Beratung im Gender Mainstreaming. Königstein/Taunus.

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