Open-minded discussion between departments : goal interdependence and social motives

Antonia Jiewei LU, Dean TJOSVOLD, Alfred WONG

Research output: Book Chapters | Papers in Conference ProceedingsConference (Extended Abstracts)


To aid effective collaboration between departments, organizations need ways to help employees from diverse departments manage their conflicts constructively. Integrating theories of goal interdependence and social motives, this study examined a model in which open-minded discussion mediates and social motives moderate between interdepartmental goal interdependence and conflict outcomes. A sample of 133 employees from different business organizations in China were interviewed to recall a critical incident when they had a conflict with their coworker from another department. Results support the hypotheses that goal interdependence is an important foundation for open-minded discussion between departments that in turn impact the outcomes of conflict. Results suggest that pro-self motive employees very much discussed open-mindedly when goals were cooperative. Pro-social motive employees discussed issues open-mindedly even when their goals are competitive. Findings suggest that developing cooperative goals and open-minded discussion skills can help managers and employees manage their conflicts between departments and collaborate effectively. Key words: Open-minded discussion, interdepartmental goal interdependence, social motives, conflict management
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcademy of Management Proceedings
PublisherAcademy of Management Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Event2015 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management - Vancouver, British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 7 Aug 201511 Aug 2015


Conference2015 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
OtherThe 75th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management will be held August 7-11, 2015 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The program theme is Opening Governance. The 2015 theme invites members to consider opportunities to improve the effectiveness and creativity of organizations by restructuring systems at the highest organizational levels, and to try to answer the many questions organizational governance faces in today's digital and informational climate.
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