Researchers (A. C. Amason, 1996; D. H. Gruenfeld, 1995; K. A. Jehn, 1995, 1997; M. A. Rahim, 1989; M. A. Rahim and A. A. Blum, 1994; D. M. Schweiger, W. R. Sandberg, and P. L. Rechner, 1989; P. E. Tetlock, D. Armor, and R. S. Peterson, 1994) have documented the value of conflictual discussions for solving problems, but few have explored the conditions under which people are motivated to engage in controversy (K. A. Jehn, C. Chadwick, and S. M. B. Thatcher, 1997). Some (M. Van Berklom and D. Tjosvold, 1981) have hypothesized that high expertise and a competitive social context arouse concerns about defending one's position and challenging the opposing one. In the present study, Chinese university students in Hong Kong who expected to disagree with an expert, compared with those who did not expect to disagree with an expert, had less confidence, felt less knowledgeable about their position, and selected an agreeable discussant. Consistent with the idea of maintaining distance from those in power, the participants were reluctant to disagree directly with someone with greater expertise.
- Chinese university students