Walking the Talk: Collaborating and Thriving in an Adversarial Culture, 5(2)


  • John P. Glaser


Years of cultural conditioning have trained us to respond to conflict from a "closed" perspective in which we are either competitive or self-protective against the possibility that others will exploit us. This habit can be problematical for transformational leaders who recognize that it is easier to get their own needs met when someone is not actively opposing their efforts. It is possible to nurture habits of collaboration in a traditionally adversarial world by finding ways for the system and its key actors to foster an "open flow of information" that encourages more productive responses to conflict and a reframing of customary organizational interactions and functions. There are specific habits and behaviors that can be mindfully cultivated by organizational leaders in order to ensure that they are maximizing their ability to collaborate without worsening the risks of exploitation by those who are more inclined to compete.