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Can absent leadership be positive in team conflicts? An examination of leaders' avoidance behavior in China

Yang, Inju; Li, Ming


Inju Yang

Ming Li


Purpose – Although conflict avoidance is one of the most commonly used conflict resolution styles in China, there has surprisingly been no explicit investigation of the effects of leaders’ avoidance. This paper therefore examines how leaders’ avoidance influences followers’ attitudes and well-being in China. Design/methodology/approach – Data was collected from 245 subordinates in three large companies in the People’s Republic of China through an online survey. Multiple regression analysis was adopted to test three sets of competing hypotheses. Findings – Leaders’ avoidance behaviour is positively related to followers’ perception of justice, supervisory trust and emotional well-being in Chinese organizations. Originality/value - Our paper joins growing attempts to consider conflict management in the context of leadership. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to examine empirically the relationships between a team leader’s avoidance behaviour and his or her subordinates’ perceptions of justice, supervisory trust, and emotional well-being in a single study. The findings are provoking by illustrating positive effect of leader's conflict avoidance behaviour in China. Our paper supports that conflict avoidance could be a sustainable rather than one-off strategy by a leader, and that identifying conditions (e.g. culture) that affect the outcomes of conflict avoidance is important.


Yang, I., & Li, M. (2017). Can absent leadership be positive in team conflicts? An examination of leaders' avoidance behavior in China. International Journal of Conflict Management, 28(2), 146-165 .

Acceptance Date Jun 1, 2016
Publication Date Apr 10, 2017
Deposit Date Jul 1, 2016
Publicly Available Date Apr 10, 2017
Journal International journal of conflict management
Print ISSN 1044-4068
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 28
Issue 2
Pages 146-165
Keywords Leadership, Avoidance, Justice, Trust, Well-being, China
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is the author's accepted manuscript of an article published in: International journal of conflict management, 2017, v.28, issue 2.


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