Skip to main content
Social face in conflict : effects of affronts to person and position in China
Group Dynamics
  • Dean William TJOSVOLD, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
  • Haifa F. SUN, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
Document Type
Journal article
Publication Date

Social face concerns have been theorized as greatly affecting management of conflict and as likely to lead to conflict avoidance, especially among collectivist people. However, this study proposed that confirmation of personal face, even with strong negative evaluations of position, can facilitate the effective use of open disagreement to make decisions. Experimental findings obtained in China indicated that confirmation of personal face, compared with affronts, developed a cooperative context for conflict management; specifically, it promoted uncertainty about one's original position, exploration and understanding of the opposing view, efforts to integrate positions, and confidence in the relationship. Affronts to position had very modest effects on the dynamics and outcomes of conflict. Results were interpreted as suggesting that group members can manage their conflicts constructively when they communicate a direct confirmation of face.

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2000 American Psychological Association

Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version
Publisher’s Version
Citation Information
Tjosvold, D., & Sun, H. (2000). Social face in conflict: Effects of affronts to person and position in China. Group Dynamics, 4(3), 259-271. doi: 10.1037//1089-2699.4.3.259