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Intercultural Conflict Styles and Facework

Stella Ting-Toomey

Subject Communication Studies » Intercultural Communication

Key-Topics conflict

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Competent intercultural conflict management depends on many factors. One of the key factors is to increase our awareness and knowledge concerning diverse conflict styles and facework issues. Intercultural conflict can be defined as any implicit or explicit antagonistic struggle between persons of different cultures due, in part, to cultural or ethnic group membership differences. Beyond cultural group membership differences and intergroup historical grievances, differences in situational expectations, goal orientations, conflict styles, facework tendencies, and perceived scarce resources (e.g., time, power currencies) may further complicate an already complex conflict situation. Some prominent sources of intercultural conflict include cultural/ethnic value clashes, communication decoding problems, and identity inattention issues. Cultural value clash issues can involve the clash of individualistic “I-identity” values with collectivistic “we-identity” values ( Triandis 1995 ), with one party emphasizing “self-face-saving” and the other party valuing “relational-face-compromising” (→  Intercultural and Intergroup Communication ). In connecting national cultures with face concerns, for example, research reveals that while individualists (e.g., US respondents) tend to use more direct, self-face concern conflict behaviors (e.g., dominating/competing style), collectivists (e.g., Taiwanese ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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