The role of culture and relational context in interpersonal conflict: Do Turks and Canadians use different conflict management strategies?

2007-07-01
Cingöz Ulu, Banu
Lalonde, Richard N.
This study explored cultural differences in conflict management strategies within the context of same-sex friendships, opposite-sex friendships, and romantic relationships. About 114 Turkish and 135 Canadian university students completed a conflict management measure. Results showed that overall, romantic relationships involved a more extensive use of conflict management strategies than did opposite-sex friendships, with same-sex friendships falling in-between the two. Cultural differences emerged, however, in the types of conflict management strategies chosen: Turks reported refraining from conflict, postponing conflict, and employing persuasion to a greater extent than did Canadians, whereas Canadians were more likely to compromise, appeal to third-party assistance, and give priority to the other party in the conflict. Moreover, Canadians tended to vary their strategies depending on the type of relationship, whereas Turks did not. Regardless of culture, men were more likely to refrain, give priority to, and give in to their same-sex friends than romantic partners, whereas women were more likely to use persuasion with their romantic partners compared to their same-sex friends. Although cultural and gender influences on conflict management within different types of relationships is provided, the type of relationship seems to be a more promising indicator of preferred conflict management strategies.