How Do Coworkers "Make the Place"? Examining Coworker Conflict and the Value of Harmony in China and the United States
The goal of this study was to test cross-cultural/cross-national differences in the association between coworker interpersonal justice and coworker conflict and the implications of such differences for employee effectiveness. Harmony is a central value in China but is less important in the United States, and the individual value of harmony may influence Chinese and US employees differently in their response to low levels of coworker interpersonal justice. We collected data from employees and their coworkers in China (214 dyads) and the US (301 dyads). There were three major findings. First, coworker interpersonal justice was negatively related to coworker conflict. Second, coworker conflict significantly mediated coworker interpersonal justice in relation to the employee effectiveness variables of task performance, organisational citizenship behaviours, and counterproductive work behaviours. Finally, in the Chinese sample, harmony significantly buffered the indirect effect of coworker interpersonal justice on employee effectiveness via coworker conflict, whereas in the US sample, harmony significantly intensified the indirect effect of coworker interpersonal justice on employee effectiveness via coworker conflict.
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Liu, C., Nauta, M. M., Yang, L., & Spector, P. E. (2017). How Do Coworkers “Make the Place”? Examining Coworker Conflict and the Value of Harmony in China and the United States. Applied Psychology, 67(1):30-60.