Article

Preferences for Third‐Party Help in Workplace Conflict: A Cross‐Cultural Comparison of Chinese and Dutch Employees

Authors
  • Ellen Giebels
  • Huadong Yang

Abstract

This study examines conflict parties’ preferences for different types of third‐party help and how this may be influenced by cultural differences in terms of individualism/collectivism. We focus our analysis on process‐related nonsubstantive help and identify three types of third‐party help in interpersonal conflict situations: relational help, procedural help, and emotional help. In a pilot study with Chinese and Dutch students (N = 93), we first developed and validated three new scales to measure preferences for the three types of third‐party help. To further test specific hypotheses we used another sample of Dutch and Hong Kong Chinese bank employees (N = 71). In line with our expectations, Chinese employees report a higher preference for relational help, while Dutch employees report a higher preference for emotional help. In terms of procedural help, there was no significant difference between Dutch and Chinese employees. Furthermore, additional analyses revealed a gender effect on the preference for emotional help, showing that—regardless of their cultural background—females prefer this type of third‐party help more, presumably because they experience more conflict stress.

Keywords: individualism/collectivism, cultural differences, third‐party intervention, conflict management

How to Cite:

Giebels, E. & Yang, H., (2009) “Preferences for Third‐Party Help in Workplace Conflict: A Cross‐Cultural Comparison of Chinese and Dutch Employees”, Negotiation and Conflict Management Research 2(4), 344-362. doi: https://doi.org/10.34891/2v8h-7704

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Published on
08 Oct 2009
Peer Reviewed