Cultural influences on cognitive representations of conflict: Interpretations of conflict episodes in the United States and Japan

Michele J. Gelfand, Lisa H. Nishii, Karen M. Holcombe, Naomi Dyer, Ken Ichi Ohbuchi, Mitsuteru Fukuno

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    136 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This article integrates theory from the cognitive tradition in negotiation with theory on culture and examines cultural influences on cognitive representations of conflict. The authors precicted that although there may be universal (etic) dimensions of conflict construals, there also may be culture-specific (emic) representations of conflict in the United States and Japan. Results of multidimensional scaling analyses of U.S. and Japanese conflict episodes supported this view. Japanese and Americans construed conflicts through a compromise versus win frame (R. L. Pinkley, 1990), providing evidence of a universal dimension of conflict construal. As the authors predicted, Japanese perceived conflicts to be more compromise-focused, as compared with Americans. There were also unique dimensions of construal among Americans and Japanese (infringements to self and giri violations, respectively), suggesting that identical conflict episodes are perceived differently across cultures.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1059-1074
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
    Volume86
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2001 Dec

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Applied Psychology

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