New Manager Socialization and Conflict Management in China: Effects of Relationship and Open Conflict Values


  • The authors thank their research assistants from the Chinese Academy of Sciences for their able assistance in conducting this study. They also appreciate the financial support of the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong, RGC Grant Project No. LU3404/05H, to the second author.

Nancy Yifeng Chen, Management Department, Lingnan University, Hong Kong, Hong Kong. E-mail:


How newcomers interact with experienced employees has been thought to affect their socialization and performance. This study complements previous newcomer research by examining the role of organizational values on this interaction. Middle managers newly recruited into a large telecom company in China were randomly assigned to discuss a conflict with an existing employee where the organization either valued relationships or not, and either valued open discussion of diverse ideas or not. As expected, valuing relationship and open discussion, compared to not valuing relationship and avoiding discussion, facilitated new managers' socialization and helped them develop cooperative goals and quality leader–member exchange. Results were interpreted that by embracing values of relationships and open discussion, organizations can more effectively socialize newcomers.