The impact of relational holism on conflict management styles in colleagueship and friendship: A cross-cultural study

Sang-Yeon Kim, Jihyun Kim, Tae-Seop Lim


This study investigates cultural differences in conflict management styles between the U.S. and South Korea (nUS = 157, nKOR = 146). Predictions deduced from the theory of relational holism were consistent with the data. In managing conflicts, Americans preferred styles associated with low concern for others (i.e., competing, avoiding), whereas Koreans preferred styles requiring high concern for others (i.e., collaborating, accommodating). This pattern remained consistent among friends and colleagues, except that Americans tended to accommodate much less with colleagues than with friends. The current evidence enhances the internal/external validity of the theory of relational holism.


Holism; Conflict management; Cross-cultural communication; Organizational communication


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Studies in Communication Sciences | ISSN: 1424-4896