Chinese Conflict Management

 Like other situation, the way to handle problems is different according to a particular culture. It is largely based on the context of the culture. “The concept of context has to do with how much information a person in a culture overtly states, and how much is encoded in the context of the situation.”

 We can classify two kind of context cultures; low-context culture and high context culture. First, low-context cultures directly say what they are thinking. People in these cultures believe that it is the best way to directly tell the specific person who caused the problem in order to solve the conflict. Low-context cultures contain England, Germany, Sweden, and the United States and the like. Second, high-context cultures like Asian countries, Latin America and Africa try to solve the conflict through the context of the situation. The communication is indirect. Therefore, when people from each context culture meet, sometimes people cannot understand the counterparts and may feel that their partners are really rude and impolite. The best way to handle this kind of problem is to understand how the host or other party deals with conflict. I am going to look over Chinese conflict management.


When a subordinate is forced to follow a senior, he or she normally choose endurance and give up the personal goal. Tolerance is also used very commonly by couples. For example, A wife has suffered from her abusive husband, her parents and parents-in-laws usually suggested that women should put up with it. Therefore, most Chinese wives follow “opening one eye, with another eye closed.”


In every conflict, both sides cannot meet their goals and purposes fully, so each side makes concessions. “Chinese people are very willing to make short-term concessions in order to make long-term gains.” Thus, when contradiction provokes, both parties concern the major aspects of the conflict than minor issues.


“Conforming and agreeing most resembles the original definition of avoidance.” If both parties have contradictory goals and don’t want to give them up, they use conforming and agreeing to evade an emotional contradiction and damaging the relationship. For example, if both party fail to compromise successfully, they may decided to delay the problem for a later date. By doing so, they can avoid unnecessary contradiction and protect face. Another method is “outflanking which means that one will outwardly conform but will collect information and actively attempt to change the other’s decision using indirect methods.” For instance, one tries to get more powerful supervisor to accept his or her opinion. “Outflanking results in more effective solutions to a conflict and stronger relationships than conforming and agreeing.”

 Third Party Involvement

 Sometimes, a third person is involved for conflict management. Usually “the third party is a higher ranking member of both people’s guanxi, social networks, who is trusted by both parties.” When it comes to conflict related to business, unlike the United States, going to court is the last option for Chinese people because it means that both parties are unable to manage their problem in a civilized manner. On top of that, both sides would lose face and would miss the chances to form a joint venture in the future.


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