Social face concerns and conflict avoidance of Chinese employees with their Western or Chinese managers

Ann Chunyan PENG, Dean William TJOSVOLD

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study explores behavioral strategies in conflict avoidance and how they are related to social face concerns. One hundred and thirty-two Chinese employees recalled an incident where they avoided a conflict with their supervisors. Confirmatory factor analysis supported the categorization of yielding, outflanking, delay, and passive aggression as alternative approaches to avoiding conflict. Overall, other-face was positively associated with yielding and delay, whereas self-face was positively associated with passive aggression. The associations of social face concerns and avoidance were stronger among employees who interacted with Chinese managers compared with those working for Western managers. In conjunction with recent studies, findings challenge the traditional theorizing that the Chinese value of social face leads to passive avoidance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1031-1050
Number of pages20
JournalHuman Relations
Volume64
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

Keywords

  • conflict avoidance
  • cross-cultural interaction
  • face negotiation theory
  • social face concerns

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