Managing Workplace Conflict in the United States and Hong Kong

Catherine H. Tinsley, Jeanne Brett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

78 Scopus citations

Abstract

We propose that managers have norms (standards of appropriate behavior) for resolving conflict, that these norms are culturally based, and that they explain cultural differences in conflict management outcomes. We confirm that the traditionally American norms of discussing parties' interests and synthesizing multiple issues were exhibited more strongly by American managers than by their Hong Kong Chinese counterparts. In addition, we confirm that the traditionally Chinese norms of concern for collective interests and concern for authority appeared more strongly among Hong Kong Chinese managers than among their American counterparts. American managers were more likely than Hong Kong Chinese managers, to resolve a greater number of issues and reach more integrative outcomes, while Hong Kong Chinese managers were more likely to involve higher management in conflict resolution. Culture had a significant effect on whether parties selected an integrative outcome rather than an outcome that involved distribution, compromise, higher management, or no resolution at all. Conflict norms explained the cultural differences that existed between reaching an integrative outcome and reaching an outcome involving distribution, compromise, or higher management; however, conflict norms did not fully explain the cultural differences that existed between reaching an integrative outcome and reaching no resolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)360-381
Number of pages22
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Volume85
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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