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Mao, YupingDoes Culture Matter? Relating Intercultural Communication Sensitivity to Conflict Management Styles, Technology Use, and Organizational Communication Satisfaction in Multinationals in China
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Ohio University, 2010, Communication Studies (Communication)

Communication is very complex in multinational companies due to the diverse body of employees with different social, cultural, and educational backgrounds. Organizational communication among employees in China branches of multinational companies remains largely unexplored in previous literature. Taking an Asiacentric approach, this study examines the relationships among intercultural sensitivity, organizational communication satisfaction, organizational conflict management, and use of technologies in China branches of multinational companies. This study also compares the organizational communication experiences of Chinese employees with overseas experience and those without overseas experience.

An online survey was conducted with Chinese employees of multinational companies. Comparisons were made between those with some degree of overseas living experience and those without any overseas living experience. The survey included the Intercultural Communication Sensitivity Scale (ISS) (Chen & Starosta, 2000), a revised version of the Technology Usage Scale (TUS) (Scott & Timmerman, 2005), the Organizational Communication Conflict Instrument (OCCI) (Putnam & Wilson, 1982), and the Communication Satisfaction Questionnaire (CSQ) (Downs & Hazen, 1977).The following pairs of variables were analyzed using Pearson product moment correlations: intercultural sensitivity and organizational communication satisfaction, intercultural sensitivity and conflict management styles, intercultural sensitivity and use of technologies, organizational communication satisfaction and conflict management styles, organizational communication satisfaction and use of technologies, conflict management styles and use of technologies. Significant correlations were found in the above six pairs of variables and their factors. Overall no significant differences between Chinese employees with overseas experience and those without overseas experience were found in the following key variables: intercultural sensitivity, conflict management styles, organizational communication satisfaction level, and use of technology in organizational communication. Although minor differences existed between those two groups of participants, in general, the two groups revealed similar organizational communication behavior.

This study is one of very few extant studies that focus on organizational communication in the Chinese context. This study enriches the literature on Asian organizational communication studies, and contributes to the development of the Asiacentric approach. The correlations among the variables identified by this study build the empirical foundation for future research to further develop communication models that include those variables and which will have significant theoretical and practical implications.


Claudia Hale, PhD (Advisor); Andrew Ledbetter, PhD (Committee Member); Anita James, PhD (Committee Member); Gordon Brooks, PhD (Committee Member)


Communication; Organizational Behavior


Chinese employee; intercultural sensitivity; conflict management; organizational communication satisfaction; technology use; multinationals