The Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory (ICS) improves Communication and Conflict Resolution across Cultures

A critical difficulty we face in our organizations and schools is that communication misunderstandings, conflicts, and problems across cultures are often grounded in very different approaches people take for resolving difficulties with one another. The ability to recognize and effectively respond to cultural differences in communication and conflict styles is critically important. ICS Inventory, LLC provides the Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory® (ICS®), developed by Mitchell R. Hammer, Ph.D., for resolving conflicts and solving problems across cultural boundaries. By completing the Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory, individuals will:

  • Increase cultural self-understanding of their own communication and conflict resolution approach

  • Increase cultural other-understanding—of diverse approaches others use to communicate ideas and resolve conflict

  • Better manage stress and anxiety that is often present in conflict situations

  • Use culturally responsive strategies in communicating your goals and interests to others

  • More accurately interpret the statements and actions of the other party

The ICS Inventory

The Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory is an 18-item questionnaire that is available online (in multiple languages) and in print (English language) versions. The ICS Inventory is an easy to use, cross-culturally validated assessment of an individual’s approach to communicating, resolving conflicts and solving problems. The ICS Inventory takes 15 minutes to complete. The online ICS Inventory has been professionally “back translated” into multiple languages using rigorous, scientific protocols to insure each of the items possess both linguistic and conceptual equivalency. This ensures that the various language versions of the online ICS Inventory have similar meaning across cultures. We recommend the ICS Inventory be used with individuals 15 years of age or higher. 

The ICS Interpretive Guide

Accompanying the ICS Inventory is the Profile Report, also known as the ICS Interpretive Guide. This guide is available online (in multiple languages) and in print (English language) versions. The ICS Interpretive Guide provides respondents with their results from completing the ICS Inventory along with in-depth information about their own communication and conflict resolution style across cultures. Respondents also learn about the four cross-cultural conflict resolution styles assessed by the ICS Inventory, strengths and weaknesses of each intercultural conflict style, and how their own communication and conflict resolution approach compares to the preferred style within their own and other cultural groups.

The ICS Facilitator Manual

The ICS Facilitator Manual is an invaluable tool for trainers and educators who are using the ICS Inventory and is available online (in multiple languages). While not required to take or use the ICS Inventory, the manual provides practical guidelines for using the ICS Inventory, a summary of intercultural and inter-ethnic research that supports the four-quadrant intercultural conflict style model developed by Dr. Mitchell Hammer, cross-cultural validation of the ICS Inventory, and effective training and educational program designs for using the ICS Inventory. The ICS Facilitator Manual is free to download for individuals who order the ICS for others.  

The Intercultural Conflict Style Model








Emotional Restraint

Emotional Expressiveness

The innovative, four-quadrant intercultural conflict style model, developed by Dr. Hammer, provides a roadmap to how people use specific culturally grounded strategies for communicating ideas, resolving disagreements, and dealing with emotional upset. The Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory® (ICS®) provides a cross-culturally valid and reliable assessment of an individual’s core approach for solving problems and resolving disputes with others. The ICS Inventory assesses culturally learned approaches for communicating information and resolving conflict in terms of Direct or Indirect strategies for “working through” substantive disagreements and emotionally Restrained or Expressive approaches for dealing with emotional upset. Combining these approaches results in four cross-cultural conflict resolution styles: Discussion, Engagement, Accommodation, and Dynamic.