A culturally sensitive approach to tribal governance issue management

Benjamin J. Broome, Alexander N. Christakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


There are a number of obstacles to stronger tribal governments, including the prevailing cultural attitude toward Indian groups and the historical lack of support for efforts of Native Americans to build their own governmental systems. However, there is a growing realization among Indian tribes of the need to take firm control of many governmental functions. In working to resolve this situation, careful consideration must be given to the appropriateness of the approach utilized. The cultural traditions of the Indian community, based on consensus, often collide with the dispute resolution approaches imposed by non-Indian law and tradition. Utilizing a culturally sensitive approach to complex problem-solving, twelve tribal leaders participated in a problem-solving session designed to focus on the tribal governance problematique. (The term "problematique" is used here to connote that the tribes are faced with a system of interlocking issues.) The participants identified the significant tribal governace issues for the next decade, organized these issues for appropriate action, and developed a preliminary field representation of options/initiatives for leaders in the Indian community to consider for action. Participants' structuring of tribal governance issues resulted in a strongly coupled problematique, with a complexity metric significantly larger than problematic situations faced by most large organizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-123
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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