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Motivation for conflict among Chinese university students : effects of others' expertise and one's own confidence on engaging in conflict
Journal of Social Psychology
  • Dean William TJOSVOLD, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
  • Roger NIBLER, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
  • Man Kei, Paulina WAN, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
Document Type
Journal article
Publication Date
  • Chinese university students,
  • Confidence,
  • Conflict,
  • Controversy,
  • Disagreement,
  • Expertise

Researchers (A. C. Amason, 1996; D. H. Gruenfeld, 1995; K. A. Jehn, 1995, 1997; M. A. Rahim, 1989; M. A. Rahim & A. A. Blum, 1994; D. M. Schweiger, W. R. Sandberg, & P. L. Rechner, 1989; P. E. Tetlock, D. Armor, & R. S. Peterson, 1994) have documented the value of conflictual discussions for solving problems, but few have explored the conditions under which people are motivated to engage in controversy (K. A. Jehn, C. Chadwick, & S. M. B. Thatcher, 1997). Some (M. Van Berklom & D. Tjosvold, 1981) have hypothesized that high expertise and a competitive social context arouse concerns about defending one's position and challenging the opposing one. In the present study, Chinese university students in Hong Kong who expected to disagree with an expert, compared with those who did not expect to disagree with an expert, had less confidence, felt less knowledgeable about their position, and selected an agreeable discussant. Consistent with the idea of maintaining distance from those in power, the participants were reluctant to disagree directly with someone with greater expertise.

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Copyright © 2001 Taylor & Francis

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Citation Information
Tjosvold, D., Nibler, R., & Wan, P. (2001). Motivation for conflict among Chinese university students: Effects of others' expertise and one's own confidence on engaging in conflict. Journal of Social Psychology, 141(3), 353-363. doi: 10.1080/00224540109600557