Responses to a Normative Conflict Among American and Chinese Managers

27 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2003

See all articles by Catherine H. Tinsley

Catherine H. Tinsley

Georgetown University - Department of Management

Elizabeth Weldon

IMD International

Date Written: August 2002


In this study, we test the impact of national origin on intentions to shame and to seek revenge in response to a normative conflict. As expected, Chinese managers showed a stronger desire to shame and teach a moral lesson compared to American managers. Contrary to expectations, Americans were no more likely than the Chinese to express a desire for revenge. Results also showed that Americans were more likely to choose a direct approach in response to the conflict, compared to the Chinese managers, and the Chinese managers were more likely to use an indirect approach. These data are consistent with previous research suggesting that shaming is a more common form of social control in more collectivistic compared to more individualistic societies (Creighton, 1990; Demos, 1996), but inconsistent with cross-cultural theories which suggest that interpersonal harmony is more important in a collectivistic culture (Leung, 1997; Markus & Kitayama, 1991; Triandis, 1988).

Keywords: Shaming, Revenge, Conflict, American, Chinese, Culture

Suggested Citation

Tinsley, Catherine H. and Weldon, Elizabeth, Responses to a Normative Conflict Among American and Chinese Managers (August 2002). Available at SSRN: or

Catherine H. Tinsley (Contact Author)

Georgetown University - Department of Management ( email )

Rafik B Hariri Building
McDonough School of Business
Washington, DC 20057
United States
202-687-2524 (Phone)


Elizabeth Weldon

IMD International ( email )

Ch. de Bellerive 23
P.O. Box 915
CH-1001 Lausanne

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