Conflict management among American and Chinese employees in multinational organizations in China

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Purpose - This study aims to examine how American and Chinese employees of multinational organizations deal with conflict between them. Design/methodology/approach - In-depth interviews were conducted with 42 employees from 28 multinational organizations operating in China. A constant comparative method was used to analyze the data. Findings - The paper finds that both American and Chinese employees used various strategies to deal with conflict, such as integrating, insisting on one's own solution, compromising, yielding to authority, avoiding, passive resistance, dissolving the relationship, and a third-party approach. In general, American participants were more likely to confront a conflict than Chinese participants. Findings of this study also indicate that differing motivations lead to the utilization of a common conflict management strategy. Research limitations/implications - The validity of this study might be compromised due to selfreported responses. Future researchers need to further clarify definitions of conflict management styles and pay more attention to adaptation during the process of intercultural conflict resolution. Practical implications - The findings of this study will help practitioners become more cognizant of conflict behaviors in multinational organizations, and thus be able to prepare more effective strategies to manage conflict. Originality/value -This is one of few studies that examine conflict in multinational organizations from an intercultural perspective. This study is also one of few that utilize a qualitative approach to examine intercultural conflict management in a workplace. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

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Cross Cultural Management

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