Cross-cultural researchers have recently argued the need to develop frameworks that can help a diversity of individuals overcome obstacles to work together productively. This study proposes that a co-operative, compared to a competitive and an avoidance, approach to managing conflict can strengthen relationships between foreign managers and Chinese employees. These relationships in turn facilitate trust and job commitment. Using the critical incident technique, Chinese employees in mainland China were interviewed on their interactions with their American and Japanese managers. Results support the hypotheses that co-operative, but not competitive or avoidance, conflict management helps employees and their managers develop quality relationships and strengthen trust and commitment. Co-operative conflict management may be an important way to overcome obstacles and develop effective relationships within and across cultural boundaries.
- Co-operative conflict management