A Leadership Program for Duke Students with A Global Mindset

Category: Intercultural Journal Page 2 of 9

TKI-Conflict Profile Journal Entry

Pick one of the conflict-handling modes from your TKI-conflict profile (Competing, Collaborating, Compromising, Avoiding, Accommodating) that you use infrequently. Why don’t you use this mode as frequently as others? Do you think that you underutilize this mode? Are there situations in which this mode might be useful to you and/or others? How might you use this mode in intercultural settings?

I have rarely used the Avoiding mode, but after looking in-depth into the pros and cons of each mode of conflict resolution, I realised that there are many merits to using the mode, especially in terms of using the modes that I have hardly used before.

In the case of the avoiding mode, it can take the form of “diplomatically sidestepping an issue, postponing an issue until a better time, or simply withdrawing from a threatening situation.” I have not been using this mode much because I have often been quite an assertive person, always directly speaking my thought rather than circumventing a conversation. However, I realised that this mode would be very helpful in situations where the opposite side is very threatening or dedicated to upholding their opinions. Rather than directly confronting the other side, avoiding would help us maintain peace and also build social capital that we can use in later stages to articulate our priorities and concerns.

In an intercultural setting, the avoiding mode would be particularly helpful in cases of significant disparities between the two parties. For example, avoiding to talk about sensitive topics for particular cultural groups would ensure that nobody is hurt, while other conflict resolution styles would unavoidably touch upon the soft spots. Avoiding is also helpful when there is a lot of tension in the room, which often happens in cross-cultural negotiations. It can reduce tensions to a productive level and allow us to reconsider the problem at hand with composure.

Journal Entry #3

According to my TKI conflict profile, collaboration is by far my most infrequent conflict handling mode, with a raw score of 4. I was initially very surprised at this result, but after looking at the other modes, I was less surprised at the raw score for this attribute being so low.

I think while I do ultimately lean on collaboration as an initial mode of conflict handling in a given situation, if I feel that situation is still not getting any better, I tend to either take hold or give in to propel the progress of the project/task that we are working on. I think in the past this has been a useful tactic for me, especially because I believe I have a pretty good understanding of how quickly a situation is going to progress based on a decision made (i.e. handling a situation with collaboration or accommodation etc.). Therefore, once I realize that a situation is not moving ahead with one particular type of conflict handling mode (collaboration, in this case), I tend to quickly move on to another mode.

However, regardless of my tendency to not fully rely on collaboration in certain situations, it will always be my go-to mode when in a new environment or new project. This is because, in a new situation, you are unaware of the people around you and their working styles and thus the only way to create a sense of community and sense of trust would be to rely on collaboration. Similarly, when in an intercultural setting, especially when you are not too aware of the other cultures involved, collaboration would undoubtedly be the best mode of conflict handling to create a sense of warmth. Furthermore, I think everyone is naturally collaborative to at least a small extent and thus relies on it to some degree.

Journal Entry #3

With a score of 6%, avoiding was my least frequently used mode of conflict-handling. I believe I avoid (haha pun intended) this technique because it directly contradicts my beliefs and values. When faced with conflict, I find the best approach is to face the problem head on. This is evidenced by one of my most frequently used means of conflict resolution, collaborating. Simply avoiding discussion of conflict is almost never the solution; at least, not a permanent one. If an individual takes actions to avoid discussing conflict, the initial problem is left unaddressed. This indicates the problem will arise again another day and the time spent “avoiding” will allow it to grow worse. Whether the problem at hand is as large as political tensions between warring nations or as small as a disagreement between peers, choosing to disregard conflict simply allows feelings such as anger and frustration to fester. 

However, I do understand that there may be certain situations where avoiding conflict might be the best option. For example, in situations where the stakes are low and the outcome of the conflict is inconsequential, avoiding the conflict may allow all parties to maintain relationships and prevent any damage that may occur as a result of a heated debate. Additionally, avoiding conflict may also be a useful technique in intercultural settings, particularly in cultures where direct confrontation, especially with elders, is viewed as impolite or disrespectful. In these cases, avoiding the conflict might help to preserve cultural norms and relationships, even if it means temporarily sidestepping the issue. Nevertheless, I believe that overall, the benefits of avoiding conflict are limited and that it should only be used in specific and carefully considered circumstances. 

In contrast, employing collaboration can solve almost any problem and uplift the individuals involved to places they would have never been able to reach alone. For this reason, collaboration is a mode of conflict resolution that I use much more frequently and feel much more comfortable with. It ensures all parties involved in the conflict come together to find a mutually beneficial solution. By working together and actively listening to each other’s perspectives, individuals are able to identify and address the root causes of the conflict and find creative solutions that work for everyone. The act of collaborating can also help to build stronger relationships between individuals and foster a sense of mutual respect and understanding. Furthermore, by combining the strengths and ideas of each person involved, the result of collaboration can often be greater than what any single person could have accomplished alone. For these reasons, I believe that collaboration is a powerful tool for solving almost any problem and has the potential to uplift individuals to new heights.

Journal Entry #3

Collaborating is the conflict-handling model that I use the least often. According to the TKI profile, collaborating is a style that combines assertiveness and cooperativeness, meaning that the individual tries to work with others to find a mutually beneficial solution. However, I have found that it can be challenging to find the ideal solution that takes into account the concerns of all parties involved. This may be one of the reasons why I do not often use the collaborating style.

It is important to note that just because I have had difficulties with collaboration in the past, it does not mean that it always results in a complicated and compromising solution. In fact, sometimes collaboration can lead to clear and direct solutions. When faced with a group assignment or a large coding project that requires significant collaboration, I often set the expectation that someone may need to make a compromise for the benefit of the team. This can lead me to give up on finding the best solution that meets everyone’s interests. Nevertheless, the possibility does exist and my weakness in collaborating encourages me to try to utilize collaborating more in my daily and academic life.

In intercultural settings, collaboration can be a valuable tool for resolving conflicts and promoting understanding and respect between people from different cultural backgrounds. Collaborating involves working together with others to find a solution that takes into account everyone’s needs and concerns. In this way, it helps to foster a sense of shared responsibility and teamwork, which can be particularly important in intercultural settings where cultural differences can sometimes lead to misunderstandings and conflicts.

It is also important to be mindful of cultural differences in communication styles, as well as in approaches to decision-making and problem-solving. For example, some cultures may place a greater emphasis on individualism, while others may place a higher value on collectivism. Understanding these differences can help to facilitate more effective collaboration in intercultural settings.

Overall, collaborating can be a useful conflict-handling style in intercultural settings because it promotes active and respectful engagement between people from different backgrounds. By working together to find solutions that meet everyone’s needs, it helps to build trust and understanding, and to foster a sense of shared responsibility and teamwork.

Journal Entry #3


Compromising.  I feel as though I don’t use this mode as frequently as others because I often struggle to find a middle ground.  I often feel as though I am either ALL in, in which case that would be my competing, or I don’t really feel as though I have a horse in the race, in which case I would rather maximize group happiness and that would be my accommodating.  I don’t want to be so black and white, but finding the middle ground is hard for me because I feel like I either care about my own opinions A LOT and will push my ideas really hard, or not at all.  I don’t really feel like I underutilize this mode because I feel like my accommodating is my way of compromising – it is my way of saying that I do not feel as though I need to see my ideas through and I am happy to follow the group’s decision.  I don’t believe compromise is always 50/50, there are many numbers in between that still count as compromise.  There are definitely situations in which this mode might be useful to me and to others around me, but I feel like regardless of what the profile showed I feel comfortable compromising in my own way and collaborating with others in these situations.  This mode is definitely useful in intercultural settings in order to show my own culture, but let others show theirs as well.  Intercultural settings are always best when it is a mix of cultures, such as a mix of ideas in a compromise.  Sharing culture and creating this blend of heritage is an amazing way to be proud of where you came from, but learn from the others around you as well.


I find that being Turkish, coming from a bi-continental upbringing, and having a global perspective as a dual citizen influences the way I view the world and contextualize culture and identity. To me, culture is a complex and nuanced construct that has a profound impact on human experience. At its core, culture encompasses the shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviors, and artifacts that characterize a particular group or society. It is a dynamic entity that is shaped by the actions and beliefs of individuals, as well as by historical events, economic forces, and other factors.
I firmly believe that one way to view culture is as a means of unifying individuals within a particular community. Culture can provide a sense of identity and belonging, as well as a shared history and set of traditions that help to bring people together. For example, a defining aspect of Turkish culture is its hospitality and warmth. Turkish people are known for their generosity and kindness, and they often go out of their way to make visitors feel welcome. This is particularly true when it comes to food, with Turkish cuisine being a true celebration of flavor and hospitality. From the hearty stews of Anatolia to the sweet pastries of Istanbul, Turkish food is a reflection of the country’s diverse cultural heritage.
In addition to its rich history and hospitality, Turkish culture is also known for its love of life and its passion for celebration. From the bustling bazaars of Istanbul to the vibrant nightlife of the Aegean Coast, Turkish people have a zest for life that is contagious. Whether it’s dancing to the rhythm of traditional music or participating in one of the many festivals and events that are held throughout the year, Turkish culture is a celebration of life and community.
At the same time, culture can also be seen as a means of promoting diversity and inclusiveness. This perspective recognizes that different cultures can offer unique perspectives and ways of thinking that can enrich our understanding of the world. By appreciating and celebrating the cultural differences of others, individuals and communities can foster greater empathy and understanding, as well as cultivate a more inclusive and diverse society. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to experience this first hand, when I moved to Italy at a young age, started attending a German high school later on, and moved to the U.S. at 16. All of these places had differences in terms of culture, but realizing that culture is not static but rather is shaped and reshaped by the actions and beliefs of individuals, making it unifying and not divisive has made my experiences a lot more fulfilling growing up.
To me, the meaning of culture is complex and multifaceted, and can vary widely depending on one’s personal experiences, beliefs, and values. Despite this, it is clear that culture plays a critical role in shaping our individual and collective identities, and in promoting greater understanding and empathy between people and communities. Whether viewed as a means of unifying individuals, promoting diversity and inclusiveness, or as a dynamic and evolving entity, culture remains a powerful and inescapable aspect of human experience.

Journal Entry #3

According to my TKI-conflict profile, one of the methods of conflict handling I do not use often is collaborating. Collaborating, as defined by TKI, is working to understand our differences and seeing them as opportunities for joint gain, learning, and problem-solving. I feel that I do not use this mode as frequently as others because I often like to solve problems by addressing issues at the core rather than focusing too much on emotions or feelings. In order to solve a conflict at hand, at times, I think it is necessary to accept a mistake or wrong (whether that be myself or the other individual) and find a way to avoid such conflicts in the future. This approach to conflict resolution most likely makes it difficult to attribute conflict to our differences because to me, it seems like the conflict is not being solved.


Although I approach conflict resolution in this way, I do feel like at times seeking a more collaborative mode of conflict resolution, particularly in intercultural settings may be important. Sometimes it is difficult to understand that what may seem like common sense to me is not to someone else. This can be particularly apparent when our backgrounds begin to cross different cultures and traditions. Especially in such situations, where two individuals may have acted according to their culture, no one is at fault, and a problem-solving approach to conflict resolution may not work.


In such intercultural settings, I hope to first take a step back and think about how differences in the background may have resulted in conflict rather than immediately trying to think about a solution. As I look to develop my global competence and understanding, I think this will be extremely important to me, especially in different environments. I know that if I add collaboration to my conflict resolution toolbelt, I will better be able to understand those around me and work with them in times of conflict.


Spring Journal Entry #1


According to my TKI-conflict profile, one of the conflict-handling modes I use less is the Competing approach. Frankly, I believe this is fairly accurate. The Competing mode entails the enforcement of unpopular rules and discipline. As to why I’m less inclined to utilize this mode, I suspect it, in part, stems from the conditions under which I was raised. Nigerian society places a lot of emphasis on the respect of the opinions and ideas of older individuals, even in situations that do not warrant such. We’re often taught to cater to the egos of those that came before us, a ridiculous premise if I’m being entirely honest. As a result, Nigerian kids are taught to listen and avoid rocking the boat. The last thing we want to do is what would be perceived as “unpopular”. I’ve actively worked to dismantle this viewpoint but it often sneaks into the decisions I make. I wish to protect the feelings of others, often at the expense of my comfort. I suppose I must concede that I do underutilize the Competing mode. 


I believe the Competing approach is essential when quick decision-making is crucial. This can vary from times of crisis within a family to internal disputes within a firm. It’s occasionally necessary to put one’s foot down on certain subjects, especially when you’re certain in your stance. Furthermore, if elements of the Competing mode are not used, people may attempt to take advantage of your passive behavior. This is where I find myself struggling quite a bit. As I said earlier, the thought of being the cause of someone else’s discomfort makes me cringe. Hence, I find myself bending over backward to appease people who don’t have the same commitment to me, overanalyzing the comments and cracks I make. Regardless, I’m making efforts to insulate myself from my need to protect others before myself.


Interculturally speaking, the Competing mode allows one to defend their opinions about their heritage, within reason of course. It gives one the tools to discourage others from trampling the aspects of your customs they may not understand or appreciate. Moreover, when making decisions that affect multiple peoples, it’s of the utmost importance to speak up and contribute to the discussion. Those decisions will have lasting effects and the regret generated by not taking a stand will linger. To conclude, the Competing mode is a valuable tool in the arsenal of any individual, useful within day-to-day life and on larger, more formal scales. It’s one I hope to master to the best of my ability.

Gender and Age

For me, gender serves as one of the most fundamental influences upon my social identity. Growing up in a Girls’ School, I never felt that my gender “mattered”. I did not feel like my gender would constrict me from pursuing any particular industry or field, nor would it impact how I speak, act, or dress.

However, when I moved to Duke, I sensed the pervasive influences of gender. I noticed that there is a set of implicit behavioural codes and expectations on women. I noticed that women tend to speak quieter than men in classrooms, meetings, and conversations, whereas men in general seemed to be more confident, assured, and loud. Even though I was not intentionally changing myself, I evolved to fit the gender stereotype — such as precipitating my questions with a disclaimer “this may be a dumb question but…”. I felt more constricted by the social stereotype of girls, sometimes fearing that “I am not good at this” because women are not traditionally dominant in the selected industries.

I also felt that my age is a shaping determinant on my social identity. At Duke, we are constantly reminded of our class years, beginning our self-introduction as “I am a freshman/sophomore/junior/senior”. When entering my junior year, I felt a change in my attitude to class selection: instead of trying to find “easy A” classes, I prioritized “how much I can learn”.

Journal Entry #2

In the social identity wheel activity we did during our workshop as Global Fellows, I was grateful to have the opportunity to reflect on my values and identity while also getting the chance to explore the beauty of the identity of those I spoke with. As we shared which parts of our identities feel especially meaningful to us, gender and ethnicity stood out for me. As a Turkish-American woman, these aspects of my identity shape most of my world views while also influencing my experiences. Therefore, when reflecting on who I am and what matters to me, I often consider these elements somewhat important. When someone initially meets me, they can visibly tell that I am a woman. Perhaps as our conversation goes on, they will get curious about where my family is from given my darker skin complexion and not-so-common name. Hence, being a woman and later on, the unique name I carry with me as part of my culture and background will often shape how my daily experiences and interactions process. Even though being a woman appears to be a strong part of my identity regardless of where in the world I go, I find that being Turkish has a more significant impact when I am not in Turkey. Here at Duke, for instance, I am very tight-knit with the Turkish community and find great pleasure in being involved with the activities organized by the Turkish Student Association while also spending personal time with other Turkish students. Since we are minorities here, I find that there is a special tie connecting us, and I value this part of my identity and reflect on it so much more than how it would have been if I was living in Turkey.
In addition to there being some parts of my identity that are meaningful to me, I find that sexuality and being able-bodied are not factors I focus on as much whatsoever most of the time. As a straight, able-bodied woman, I usually do not have to think about all the elements that come with being queer or disabled, despite being an ally. These parts of my identity just…exist, and I am encouraged to think about them often when someone points them out. As a straight woman my romantic experiences are likely to be easier than those of someone who might be trying to come out to their parents. Similarly, in so many areas of daily life, ableism is a prevalent issue, and I am sure I would realize these areas so much more had I been more significantly impacted by them. With that being said, workshops and activities like we have with Global Fellows are incredibly impactful as they aid us in learning more about the identities of others, and I think they make us more aware of our own privileges and thus encourage us to work towards amplifying the voices of those who may not have the same privileges.

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