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Intervening in Employee Disputes: How and When Will Managers from China, Japan and the USA Act Differently?

  • Jeanne M. Brett (a1), Catherine H. Tinsley (a2), Debra L. Shapiro (a3) and Tetsushi Okumura (a4)

We investigated how third party managers from China, Japan and the USA intervened in employees' disputes. Consistent with predictions, we found (using non-linear HLM analysis) that managers who were superiors to the disputants behaved autocratically and/or decided on conservative (e.g., contract adhering) outcomes; but managers who were peers (especially in China and the USA), generally involved disputants in decision-making and obtained integrative outcomes that went beyond initial contract related mandates. Our results extend prior research and theorizing using the dispositional and constructivist perspectives on culture by introducing norm complexity as an explanation for variations in third party conflict intervention behaviour within one culture.

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