George Xun WANG (University of Wisconsin Parkside), CHAN Kwok Bun, (Hong Kong Baptist University), and Vivienne LUK (Hong Kong Baptist University), Conflict and its Management in Sino-Foreign Joint Ventures: A Review, English/34 pages, March 2003.
Drawing on existing literature on international joint ventures (IJVs), this paper provides a critical and thorough review of previous studies of conflict in Sino-foreign joint ventures. The contributions of selected major studies are organized into four areas: types of conflict, antecedents and correlates of conflict, relationship between conflict and performance/satisfaction, and conflict resolution strategies. The current literature is fragmented. Most of the empirical studies are theory-testing rather than theory-building, frequently focused on Sino-American firms; ironically, conflicts are found more common among American managers themselves than between American and Chinese managers. Conflict is often treated as a simple business issue, while ignoring its multi-faceted nature and broader cultural and social implications. Nevertheless, when conflicts are properly managed, they may contribute to the success of the venture. In moving forward, this paper suggests that new ways of conceptualizing conflicts and conflict management in IJVs are needed. For example, cultural explanations, supplemented by structural approaches, would be beneficial for managing conflicts that emerge in these enterprises. A paradigmatic shift away from fearing conflict to seeing conflict as a precondition for problem-solving, creativity and innovation would signal the beginning of a search for a new management culture in transnational enterprises.