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2019 International Association for Conflict Management Conference

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An Examination of Cross-Cultural Preference for Apology Moderated by Locus of Control

Keywords: Culture Apology Conflict

Abstract: Culture is composed of shared knowledge structures that transmit norms and values, prescribing the ways people perceive and react to their environments (Triandis, 1972). Businesses are interacting internationally and require sustained cross cultural relationships. A mismatch in information delivery style (direct or indirect) can exacerbate cross cultural conflict (Brett et al, 2014). Theory by Ren and Gray (2009) proposes that effective relationship restoration is a product of culture, the type of violation, and the restoration mechanism used. We extend their theory by proposing that the relationship between culture and effective apology is moderated by perceptions of locus of control. Locus of control is the perceptions of individual vs. environmental agency in determining outcomes (Maddux & Kim, 2011; Rotter, 1966). We propose that higher perceptions of situational attributes in conflict events signal the appropriateness of less direct apology, whereas higher perceptions of individual responsibility signal the appropriateness of more direct apology.

Alexa Dewhirst, University of Waterloo

Wendi Adair, University of Waterloo


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