Journal of International Business Studies

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 76–91 | Cite as

An expectancy model of Chinese–American differences in conflict-avoiding

  • Ray Friedman
  • Shu-Cheng Chi
  • Leigh Anne Liu


This paper develops an expectancy model for Chinese–American differences in conflict-avoiding, and tests this model using a scenario study with respondents from Taiwan and the US. Our results show that a higher Chinese tendency to avoid conflict is explained by higher Chinese expectations that direct conflict will hurt the relationship with the other party, and by greater concern for the other party among Chinese. It is not, however, explained by differences in the expected career costs/benefits of good/bad relations with others. Also, Chinese are more sensitive to hierarchy than Americans, so that avoiding is heightened more for Chinese than for Americans when the other party is of higher status. Qualitative results suggest that Chinese–American differences in time frames may also explain differences in avoiding. Implications for businesses and management are suggested.


culture conflict avoiding Chinese guanxi 



This project was funded by a grant from the National Science Council in Taiwan (NSC-89-2416-H-002-088) and support from the Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University. We thank the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions, and Kwok Leung, who helped us tremendously to sharpen and focus the paper.


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Copyright information

© Academy of International Business 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Business AdministrationNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  3. 3.Robinson College of Business, Georgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA

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