Cultural Differences in Conflict Management Styles in East and West Organizations Employing Holism as a Cultural Theoretical Frame to Investigate South Korean and U.S. Employee Conflict Management Styles

Jihyun Kim (1), Renée A. Meyers (2)
(1) Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, USA, United States,
(2) University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee - USA, United States


This study employed a new theoretical frame, holism, to distinguish cultural differences in conflict management strategy preference. Results indicated that S. Koreans showed more holistic tendencies than U.S. employees, and higher scores on a holism measure were positively related to ratings of the collaborative style (S. Korean preferred style) and negatively related to ratings of the avoidant style (U.S. preferred style). In comparisons across the two cultures, S. Koreans preferred collaborating, compromising, and accommodating styles, whereas U.S. participants preferred the avoiding style. Although additional investigation is needed to further explore how holism can be used to explain cultural differences, these results point to the richness of this new cultural value as a theoretical framework and suggest its potential for future investigations.

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Jihyun Kim
Renée A. Meyers
(Primary Contact)
Author Biographies

Jihyun Kim, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, USA

Jihyun Kim (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2012) is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Her primary research interests include the intersection of new media/communication technology and health communication with additional interests in cross-cultural comparisons. Her work has been published in a variety of journals.

Renée A. Meyers, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee - USA

Renee A. Meyers (Ph.D., University of Illinois, Deceased) was a Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her research interests included small group decision-making and argument, and the role of communication in organizational and learning groups. Published widely, she also served on the editorial boards of several Communication journals, and on the board of the Interdisciplinary Network for Group Research (INGRoup).

Kim, J., & Meyers, R. A. (2012). Cultural Differences in Conflict Management Styles in East and West Organizations Employing Holism as a Cultural Theoretical Frame to Investigate South Korean and U.S. Employee Conflict Management Styles. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 12(2), 1–14.

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