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Perceptions of Conflict Management Styles in Chinese Intergenerational Dyads

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Abstract:

We examined intergenerational communication and conflict management styles in China. Older and younger Chinese adults were randomly assigned to evaluate one of four conversation transcripts in which an older worker criticizes a young co-worker. The young worker's communication was varied across the transcripts to reflect four conflict management styles: competing, avoiding, accommodating, and problem-solving. As expected, older participants favored the accommodating style over the problem-solving style. Young adults either preferred the problem-solving style to the accommodating style, as predicted, or judged the two styles as equally positive. The results illustrate the juxtaposition of tradition and modernization/globalization in the changing Chinese cultural context, and demonstrate how such cultural changes are reflected in interpersonal communication between the generations.

Keywords: China; Conflict; Filial Piety; Globalization; Intergenerational Communication

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0363775052000342535

Publication date: March 1, 2005

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