Openness Among Chinese in Conflict: Effects of Direct Discussion and Warmth on Integrative Decision Making1


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    The authors thank their research assistants from South China Normal University for their able assistance in conducting the study. This work has been supported by the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China, Project No: LC3004/98H.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Dean Tjosvold, Department of Management, Lingnan University, Tuen Mun, Hong Kong. E-mail:


Although not socially valued, open discussion may still be useful for integrating positions and people in conflict in China, especially when complemented with the nonverbal expression of interpersonal warmth. In an experiment with 80 participants in South China, open discussion compared to avoiding was found to develop a cooperative relationship and open-minded understanding of the opposing view. The communication of warmth, compared to coldness, developed a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship; exploration of the opposing view; integration of opposing ideas into one's reasoning and decision making; and confidence in future joint work. These results challenge traditional theorizing that open discussion of conflict disrupts relationships and conflict management in China.