Advertisement

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
Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

culture conflict avoiding Chinese guanxi 

Notes

Acknowledgements

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.

References

  1. Aiken, L.S. and West, S.G. (1991) Multiple Regression: Testing and Interpreting Interactions, Sage: Newbury Park, CA.Google Scholar
  2. Baker, W.E. (1994) Networking Smart: How to Build Relationships for Personal and Organizational Success, McGraw-Hill: New York.Google Scholar
  3. Baron, R.M. and Kenny, D.A. (1986) ‘The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 51 (5): 1173–1182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barry, B.M. (2001) Culture and Equality: An Egalitarian Critique of Multiculturalism, Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  5. Bond, M.H. and Hwang, K.K. (1986) ‘The Social Psychology of Chinese People’, in M.H. Bond (ed.) The Psychology of the Chinese People, Oxford University Press: Hong Kong, pp: 213–266.Google Scholar
  6. Brett, J.M., Tinsley, C.H., Janssens, M., Barsness, Z.I. and Lytle, A.L. (1997) ‘New Approaches to the Study of Culture in Industrial/Organizational Psychology’, in P.C. Earley and M. Erez (eds.) New Perspectives on International Industrial/organizational Psychology, New Lexington Press: San Francisco, pp: 75–129.Google Scholar
  7. Brislin, R.W., Lonner, W.J. and Thorndike, R.M. (1973) Cross-cultural Research Models, Wiley: New York.Google Scholar
  8. Child, J. and Tse, D.K. (2001) ‘China's transition and its implications for international business’, Journal of International Business Studies 32 (1): 5–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Confucius (Lau, D.C. trans.) (1998) Confucius: The Analects, Penguin: New York.Google Scholar
  10. Davidson, M. and Friedman, R. (1998) ‘When excuses don’t work: the persistent injustice effect among black managers’, Administrative Science Quarterly 43 (1): 154–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. DeVellis, R.F. (1991) Scale Development: Theory and Applications, Sage: Newbury Park, CA.Google Scholar
  12. Dutton, J.E. and Ashford, S.J. (1993) ‘Selling issues to top management’, Academy of Management Review 18 (3): 397–428.Google Scholar
  13. Dyer, B. and Song, X.M. (1997) ‘The impact of strategy on conflict: a cross-national comparative study of US and Japanese firms’, Journal of International Business Studies 28 (3): 467–493.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Edmonson, A. (1999) ‘Psychological safety and learning behavior in work teams’, Administrative Science Quarterly 44 (4): 350–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Everatt, D., Slaughter, K. and Jie, Z. (1999) Alpha Gearing Systems, Shanghai Co., Ltd, Ivey Case #9A99C014, Ivy Publishing, Richard Ivy School of Business, The University of Western Ontario: London, Ontario, Canada.Google Scholar
  16. Farh, J.L., Tsui, A.S., Xin, K. and Cheng, B.S. (1998) ‘The influence of relational demography and guanxi: the Chinese case’, Organization Science 9 (4): 471–488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Farwell, L. and Weiner, B. (1996) ‘Self-perceptions of fairness in individual and group contexts’, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 22 (9): 868–881.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Francis, J.N.P. (1991) ‘When in Rome? The effects of cultural adaptation on intercultural business negotiations’, Journal of International Business Studies 22 (3): 403–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hofstede, G. (1980) Culture's Consequences: International Differences in Work-related Values, Sage: Beverly Hills, CA.Google Scholar
  20. Hofstede, G. (1993) ‘Cultural constraints in management theories’, Academy of Management Executive 7 (1): 81–94.Google Scholar
  21. Hofstede, G. (2001) Culture's Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions, and Organizations Across Nations, Sage: Thousand Oaks, CA.Google Scholar
  22. Hsu, F.L.K. (1971) ‘A Hypothesis on Kinship and Culture’, in F.L.K. Hsu (ed.) Kinship and Culture, Aldine: Chicago, pp: 3–30.Google Scholar
  23. Hwang, K.K. (1987) ‘Face and favor: the Chinese power game’, American Journal of Sociology 92 (4): 944–974.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kennedy, P. (1998) A Guide to Econometrics, 4th edn., MIT Press: Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  25. Kirkman, B.L. and Shapiro, D.L. (2001) ‘The impact of cultural values on job satisfaction and organizational commitment in self-managing work teams: the mediating role of employee resistance’, Academy of Management Journal 44 (3): 557–569.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kotter, J.P. (1985) Power and Influence: Beyond Formal Authority, Free Press: New York.Google Scholar
  27. Kram, K.E. (1988) Mentoring at Work: Developmental Relationships in Organizational Life, University Press of America: Lanham, MD.Google Scholar
  28. Leung, K. (1987) ‘Some determinants of reactions to procedural models for conflict resolution: a cross-national study’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 53 (5): 898–908.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Leung, K. (1997) ‘Negotiation and Reward Allocations Across Cultures’, in P.C. Earley and M. Erez (eds.) New Perspectives on International Industrial/Organizational Psychology, The New Lexington Press/Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, pp: 640–675.Google Scholar
  30. Leung, K. and Bond, M.H. (1984) ‘The impact of cultural collectivism on reward allocation’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 47 (4): 793–804.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Morris, M.W., Leung, K. and Iyengar, S.S. (2004) ‘Person perception in the heat of the conflict: negative trait attributions affect procedural preferences and account for situational and cultural differences’, Asian Journal of Social Psychology 7 (2): 127–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Morris, M.W., Williams, K.Y., Leung, K., Larrick, R., Mendoza, M.T., Bhatnagar, D., Li, J., Kondo, M., Luo, J.L. and Hu, J.C. (1998) ‘Conflict management style: accounting for cross-national differences’, Journal of International Business Studies 29 (4): 729–748.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Morrison, E.W. and Phelps, C.C. (1999) ‘Taking charge at work: extrarole efforts to initiative workplace change’, Academy of Management Journal 42 (4): 403–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Nemeth, C.J. and Staw, B.M. (1989) ‘The Tradeoffs of Social Control and Innovation in Groups and Organizations’, in L. Berkowitz (ed.) Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 22, Academic Press: New York, pp: 175–210.Google Scholar
  35. Ohbuchi, K.Y. and Takahashi, Y. (1994) ‘Cultural styles of conflict management in Japanese and Americans: passivity, covertness, and effectiveness of strategies’, Journal of Applied Social Psychology 24 (15): 1345–1366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Peng, K., Nisbett, R. and Wong, N. (1997) ‘Validity problems comparing values across cultures and possible solutions’, Psychological Methods 2 (4): 329–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Pornpitakpan, C. (1999) ‘The effects of cultural adaptation on business relationships: Americans selling to Japanese and Thais’, Journal of International Business Studies 30 (2): 317–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Porter, L.W. and Lawler, E.E. (1968) Managerial Attitudes and Performance, Irwin-Dorsey: Homewood, IL.Google Scholar
  39. Quanyu, H., Leonard, J. and Tong, C. (1997) Business Decision Making in China, International Business Press: New York.Google Scholar
  40. Rahim, M.A. (2000) Managing Conflict in Organizations, 3rd edn., Quorum: Westport, CT.Google Scholar
  41. Schwartz, S. (1992) ‘Universals in the Content and Structure of Values: Theoretical Advances and Empirical Tests in 20 Countries’, in M.P. Zanna (ed.) Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 25, pp: 1–65, NY: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  42. Shenkar, O. and Ronen, S. (1987) ‘The cultural context of negotiations: the implications of Chinese interpersonal norms’, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 23 (2): 263–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Siegel, S. and Castellan Jr, N.J. (1988) Nonparametric Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edn., McGraw-Hill: Boston.Google Scholar
  44. Tajfel, H. (1978) Differentiation Between Social Groups: Studies in the Social Psychology of Intergroup Relations, Academic Press: London.Google Scholar
  45. Tinsley, C.H. and Brett, J.M. (2001) ‘Managing workplace conflict in the United States and Hong Kong’, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 85 (2): 360–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Tjosvold, D. and Sun, H. (2002) ‘Understanding conflict avoidance: relationship, motivations, actions, and consequences’, International Journal of Conflict Management 13 (2): 142–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Tjosvold, D., Law, K.S. and Sun, H. (2003) ‘Collectivistic and individualistic values: their effects on group dynamics and productivity in China’, Group Decision and Negotiation 12 (3): 243–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Triandis, H.C. (1995) Individualism and Collectivism, Westview Press: Boulder, CO.Google Scholar
  49. Trubinsky, P., Ting-Toomey, S. and Lin, S-L. (1991) ‘The influence of individualism–collectivism and self-monitoring on conflict styles’, International Journal of Intercultural Relations 15 (1): 65–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Van Dyne, L. and Lepine, J.A. (1998) ‘Helping and voice extra-role behaviors: evidence of construct and predictive validity’, Academy of Management Journal 41 (1): 108–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Vollbrecht, J.L., Roloff, M.E. and Paulson, G.D. (1997) ‘Coercive potential and face-sensitivity: the effects of authority and directives in social confrontation’, International Journal of Conflict Management 8 (3): 235–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Vroom, V.H. (1964) Work and Motivation, Wiley: New York.Google Scholar
  53. Yang, K-S. (1981) ‘Social orientation and individual modernity among Chinese students in Taiwan’, Journal of Social Psychology 113 (2): 159–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Zhou, J. and Martocchio, J.J. (2001) ‘Chinese and American managers. Compensation award decisions: a comparative policy-capturing study’, Personnel Psychology 54 (1): 115–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations