Holistic cultures are undergirded by three unique relationship features (Lim 2009; Lim and Giles 2007 pp. First, relations are prescriptive and people are not free to choose their relationships. 889-935) measure of five conflict management styles. 889-935) five styles—competing, collaborating, compromising, avoiding, and accommodating—has distinctive features based on a focus of self or other. Thus, society is the continuity of linked human beings (Tu 1991). Koreans were overall significantly more holistic in their worldviews than were U. Thus, the current study investigates the relationship between holistic tendencies and conflict management styles of S. A review of the conflict management style research reveals a variety of approaches and style labels (e.g., Blake and Mouton 1964; Rahim and Bonoma 1979 pp. One of the more prominent conflict style assessment tools founded on this set of conflict types is Thomas’ (1976 pp. In our fast-paced global organizational world, it may be difficult to manage conflicts in the more time-consuming collaborative format (which requires extensive problem-solving and solution-seeking). Based on previous research, the lack of preference for the competitive style among U. Future research should explore strategies used before conflict actually develops. Koreans may intentionally avoid difficult situations whenever possible, but once conflict explicitly erupts, they may switch to strategies such as compromising or collaborating to resolve the issues and maintain their relationship with the counterpart. Knowing more about how stages of conflict may evoke different strategies across the two cultures would add to our knowledge of the complexity of these situations. Both cultures indicated a strong preference for the compromising style, which may suggest a view of conflict management (across cultures) that more strongly favors efficiency and shorter-term results. employees preferred using the avoiding style significantly more than did the S. There was no difference in the reported use of the competing style across the two cultures with both cultures indicating little preference for this strategy. Thus, this study’s results may only indicate how individuals manage conflict once it explicitly erupts. employees may not intentionally evade potential conflicts, but once they find themselves in an unpleasant conflict situation, they may then turn to avoiding strategies. employees, and higher scores on a holism measure were positively related to ratings of the collaborative style (S. People tend to use this style when they want to withdraw from conflict and side-step confrontation. 287-301) investigated different uses of management styles between Chinese and British executives. Anglo-Australians rated assertive styles higher and non-confrontational styles lower than Chinese students. 114-133) found that Japanese tended to value a collaborative strategy whereas U. participants displayed a preference for competitive strategies. 181-199) investigated conflict management preferences of S. Koreans preferred collaborating, compromising, and accommodating styles, whereas U. Keywords: Increased globalization in the business environment is a motivating force behind many industries’ expansion of trading partners. Finally, the avoiding style arises when there is a low concern for both oneself and the other. 27-56) sampled Anglo-Australian and East Asian ethnic Chinese college students with work experience and found similar results. Third, we sought to examine relationships between culture and conflict management strategy preferences. Korean employees would prefer using conflict management strategies that show a high concern for others. H4: South Korean organizational employees will report a preference for using the compromising, collaborating, and accommodating styles over other styles. H6: South Korean organizational employees will report using the compromising, collaborating and accommodating styles significantly more than U. Survey respondents were randomly called to confirm their actual participation in the survey. Korean organizational employees would show more holistic tendencies than U. employees reported using an avoiding strategy significantly more often than did their S. Individuals’ conflict management strategies may vary depending on the types of organizations in which they work, their occupation, or their interpersonal relationship quality with colleagues. employees, and holism was positively correlated with a S. An examination of culture and strategy preferences showed that S.
Because team members must work together closely, employees may be more often adopting an avoidant style (instead of a competitive style) to maintain harmony and cohesion. Practically, the findings of this study provide useful guidelines for international business communication.
Our results appear to support and extend these latter findings. Finally, the current study asked participants to describe their behavior during a conflict situation (i.e., a conflict in which they recently participated).
participants reported preferences for the avoidant style as well. employees’ attitudes and values as globalization brings them into contact with cultures or situations where, we speculate, this confrontational strategy is viewed as inappropriate. Thus, a more complex model is needed in future research. Korean preferred style (collaborating) and negatively correlated with a U. Koreans’ most preferred conflict style was compromising, while for U. employees, avoiding or compromising were the most preferred styles.
Different communication patterns or value systems among team members, managers, superiors, and subordinates can lead to misinterpretation and divergent viewpoints (Beebe and Mottet 2010 pp. Moreover, cultural values can play a central role in how individuals perceive and manage conflicts (Tang and Kirkbride 1986 pp. Recently, a new cultural value, holism, was introduced as broadly encompassing and potentially foundational for investigating cultural differences (Lim 2009 pp. Individuals are more, or less, holistic in their worldviews. It is often used when opponents with equal power are committed to mutually exclusive goals (Thomas 1977 pp. The accommodating style is typically used when there is a low concern for oneself and a high concern for others. participants preferred a competitive style more than the S. Alternatively, the lower the holistic tendencies, the more the conflict management choices will reflect concern for self (competitive, avoidant). organizational employees will report using the competing and avoiding styles significantly more than South Korean employees. The next section of the survey included a 12 item holism measure (Kim et al. The complete survey is available from the first author. Korean employee sample was a convenience sample with organizations identified through contacts of the first author.
Despite many benefits to this global expansion, the resulting increased diversity may also engender more conflicts. Still, if conflicts are handled effectively, culturally diverse teams and organizations can be both highly efficient and productive (Humes and Reilly 2008 pp. To understand conflict management style variances across cultures, it is imperative to understand fundamental cultural differences. Holism is the tendency to see everything as a whole. Thus, this study aims to add to this initial research by employing holism as a cultural value framework for investigating differences and similarities in conflict management styles between S. Next, we report the methods used to collect information about holistic tendencies, as well as conflict management styles, from U. Building upon these frameworks, holism has recently been introduced as one of the primary cultural values distinguishing the East and the West (Kim et al. A person who uses this style seeks the middle ground of a problem-solving strategy and is willing to give up something to get other things. Based on past research and the tenets of holism, the first hypothesis posits that: H1: South Korean organizational employees will show more holistic tendencies than will U. We hypothesized that, regardless of culture, the greater the holistic tendencies, the more the conflict management choices will reflect concern for others (accommodating, collaborating, and compromising). Respondents were asked to think about the most recent conflict they had with a colleague at work and to answer the 30 TKI items based on how they behaved in the situation. The last section of the survey asked for participants’ demographic information. employees, the avoiding or compromising styles were the most preferred, followed by accommodating, collaborating or competing. MANOVA and follow-up univariate F tests were used to investigate H6 and H7 which examined the comparative style preferences of S.