Perceptions of Conflict Management Styles in Chinese Intergenerational Dyads
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.