Sookmyung Institute for Multicultural Studies

Current Issue

OMNES: The Journal of Multicultural Society - Vol. 8 , No. 2

[ Article ]
OMNES: The Journal of Multicultural Society - Vol. 8, No. 2, pp.1-36
ISSN: 2093-5498 (Print)
Print publication date 31 Jan 2017
Received 29 Jun 2017 Reviewed 16 Jul 2017 Accepted 24 Aug 2017

Cultural Conflict Resolution Styles of Marriage-Migrant Women in Korea: From the Perspectives of Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian and Filipino Women
Ahnlee Jang* ; Young-Lan Kim
Hongik University, School of Advertising and Public Relations (
professor in the Department of Social Psychology at Sookmyung Women’s University (womyn@sookmyung)

Correspondence to : *Email:
Contributed by footnote: First and corresponding author


Interviews with 22 marriage-migrant women from China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Philippines revealed that power distance in conjunction with individualism/collectivism influence their conflict styles. Moreover, women were more likely to engage in compromising style with their spouses; obliging with their in-laws; and avoiding with their spouse and in-law when they had emotionally given up on resolving the conflict. Furthermore, they were using avoiding when dealing with conflict outside the home with strangers and acquaintances. Though inconclusive, the findings suggest that women’s educational level, work experiences, and financial status influence their conflict style. While these were cultural and social factors that influence the participants conflict style, their goal, namely, providing a better life for their children, was also found to be a major drive in resolving conflicts and in the process they empowered themselves to out-win (surmount) the conflicting situations rather than being compliant. Suggestions for future studies as well as a scale for Cambodia’s power distance and individualism/collectivism are suggested.

Keywords: conflict style, marriage-migrant women, multiculturalism, power distance, individualism/collectivism

1. Baringer, S. E. (2009). ca. 2006. The Philippines". In Countries and Their Cultures. Advameg Inc. Retrieved, 12-20.
2. Blake, R. R., Mouton, J. S. (1964). The managerial grid. Gulf.
3. Cai, D. A. & Fink, E. L. (2002). “Conflict style differences between individualists and collectivists.” Communication Monographs, 69 (1), 67-87.
4. Choi, Y-S. (2007). “Research on socio-cultural adaptation of immigrant women.” Asian Women, 46, 141-181.
5. Chua, F. G. & Gudykunst, W. B. (1987). “Conflict resolution styles in low-and high-context cultures.” Communication Research Reports, 4, 32-37.
6. Constantino, C. A., & Merchant, C S. (1996). Designing conflict management systems, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
7. Corbin, J., & Strauss, A. (2008). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
8. Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. L. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies of qualitative research. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.
9. Goodman, R., White, G., & Kwon, H-J. (1998). The East Asian welfare model: Welfare Orientalism and the State. Routledge.
10. Gudykunst, W. B., Matsumoto, Y., Ting-Toomey, S., Nishida, T., Kim, K., & Heymann, P. B. (1996). “Cultural variability of communication in personal relationships.” Human Communication Research, 22, 510-543.
11. Gudykunst, W. B., & Nishida, T. (1986). “Attributional confidence in low-and high-context cultures.” Human Communication Research, 12, 525-549.
12. Guest, G., & MacQueen, K. (2008). Handbook for team-based qualitative research. New York: Altamira.
13. Guzley, R. M., Ariki, F., & Chalmers, L. E., (1998). “Cross-cultural perspectives of commitment: Individualism and collectivism as a framework for conceptualization.” Southern Communication Journal, 64, 1-19.
14. Hammer, M. R. (2001). Conflict negotiation under crisis conditions. In W. F. N. P. E. Eadie (Ed.). The language of conflict resolution. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
15. Hammer, M. R. (2002). The intercultural conflict style inventory: Increasing competence across the cultural divide. Ocean Pines, MD: Hammer Consulting.
16. Han G-S. (2006). “Research report: lifestyle, family conflict and adaptation of marriage migrant women in rural area.” Korean Cultural Anthropology, 39 (1), 195-219.
17. Han J-Y. (2002). Research on marriage satisfaction in Korea-Japan international families. Sunmoon University Master’s Thesis.
18. Hofstede, G. (1984). Culture's consequences: International differences in work-related values (2nd Edition). Beverly Hills CA: SAGE Publications.
19. Hofstede, G. (1991). Cultures and organizations. London: McGraw-Hill.
20. Hofstede, M., & Hofstede, G. J., (2015). Cultures and Organizations (3rd ed.). Seoul: Hakgisa.
21. Israel-Sobritchea, C. (1990). “The ideology of female domesticity: Its impact on the status of Filipino women.” Review of Women’s Studies, 1 (1), 26-41.
22. Jung, J-Y. (2008). “Factors that influence life satisfaction for Vietnam immigrant women.” Social Welfare Student Research Collection, 1, 228-262.
23. Kang, H-W. (2006). “Factors that lead to multicultural society in Korea and integration policy.” Government Policy Research, 20 (2), 5-34.
24. Kim, J-H., & Park, O-I. (2008). “Family conflict and life satisfaction comparison of multicultural families in rural and urban areas.” Rural Society, 18, 213-259.
25. Kim, J-Y., Kang, C-K., & Lee, E-C. (2014). Issue Brief 2014-04. Seoul:The Asan Institute for Policy Studies.
26. Kim, M. S. (1994). “Cross-cultural comparisons of perceived importance of conversational constraints.” Human Communication Research, 21, 128-151.
27. Kim, Y-S., Hwang, J-I., Choi, Y-J., & Shin, H-O. (2013). A study on the reorganization of the early immigrants settled the marriage assistance program. Korean Women’s Development Institute. Seoul: Ministry of Gender Equality.
28. Kim, Y- S., Kim, M-J., & Han, G-S. (2006). Policy Report on marriage migrant women’s cultural conflict experiences and ways to promote communication. Seoul: Korean Women’s Development Institute.
29. Kong, E-S. (2009). “Case study of mother-in-law and daughter-in-law in multicultural families: From the perspective of Korean mother- in-law.” Korea Journal of Research in Gerontology, 18, 123-134.
30. Korea, Republic of. Ministry of Gender Equality & Family (2006). Families together in 2010; 1st Healthy family plan. [hamkke ganeun gajog 2010, je1cha geongang-gajeong-gibongyehoeg].
31. Korea, Republic of. Ministry of Justice. (2016). Monthly Immigration Statistics, July 2015: Korea Immigration Service.
32. Korea, Republic of. Ministry Service. (2016). Monthly Immigration Statistics, July 2016: Korea Immigration Service.
33. Korea, Republic of. National Institute of Public Health, National Institute of Statistics and ORC Macro, 2006.
34. Lee, H-K. (2005). “Marriage migration and problems and response of marriage migration families.” Korean Population Research, 28 (1), 73-106.
35. Leung, K. (1988). “Some determinants of conflicts avoidance.” Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 19, 35-49.
36. Marshall, C. & Rossman, G. B. (1995). Designing qualitative research (2rd ed.). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
37. _____. (1999). Designing qualitative research (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage..
38. Mendoza-Guazon, M. P.(1928). The development and progress of the Filipino women. Manila: Kiko Printing Press.
39. Nghe, L. T., Mahalik, J. R., & Lowe, S. M. (2003). “Examining traditional gender roles, the refugee experience, acculturation, and racism in the United States.” Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 31 (4), p. 245-261.
40. Park, J-Y. (2009). “Difficulties of cultural adaptation and education participation experiences of migrant women,” Lifelong Educational Studies, 15, 77-104.
41. Patton, M. Q. (1980). Qualitative evaluation methods. Beverley Hills, CA: Sage.
42. _____. (1987). How to use qualitative methods in evaluation. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
43. Pruitt, D. G, & Carnevale, P. J. (1993). Negotiation in social conflicts. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.
44. Pruitt, D. G., & Rubin, J. Z. (1986). Social conflicts. New York: McGraw-Hill.
45. Rahim, M.A. (1983). “A measure of styles of handling interpersonal conflicts.” Academy of Management Journal, 26, 368-376.
46. Reischauer, E. O. (1974). “The Sinic world in perspective.” Foreign Affairs, 52 (2), 341-348.
47. Rubin, J. Z., Pruitt, D. G,, & Kim, S. H. (1994). Social conflicts; Escalation, stalemate, and settlement. New York: McGraw-Hill.
48. Rubin, H. J. & Rubin, I. S. (2005). Qualitative interviewing: The art of hearing data. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
49. Santillan, D., Schuler, S., Hoang, T., Trang, H. and Bui, T. (2002) “Limited equality: contradictory ideas about gender and the implications for reproductive health in rural Vietnam.” Journal of Health Management, 4, (Special Issue on Gender and Health 2), 251–267.
50. Schuler S. R. et al., (2006). “Constructions of gender in Vietnam: In pursuit of the ‘Three Criteria’.” Culture, Health & Sexuality, 8 (5), 383-394.
51. Seol, D-H., Kim, Y-T., Kim, H-M., & Yoon, H-S. (Eds). (2005). Foreign wives’ life in Korea: Focusing on the policy of welfare and health. Ministry of Health and Welfare.
52. Seol, D. H. & Yoon, H. S. (2005). Socio-economic adaptation and social welfare policy on marriage migrant women in Korea [gugnae geoju yeoseong gyeolhon-iminjaui sahoegyeongjejeog jeog-eung-gwa sahoebogjijeongchaeg]. Paper presented for Korean Social Welfare Association.
53. Smith-Hefner, N. J. (1999). Khmer American: Identity and moral education in a diasporic community. University of California Press.
54. Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
55. Sue, D. W., & Sue. D. (1999). Counseling the culturally different: Theory and practice. New York: Wiley.
56. Tiefenthaler, Jill (1997) “Fertility and family time allocation in the Philippines,” Population and Development Review, 23 (2), 377-397.
57. Ting-Toomey, S. (1986). Conflict styles in black and white subjective cultures. In Y. Y. Kim (Ed.), Current research in interethnic communication (pp. 75-89). Beverly Hills, CA:Sage.
58. Ting-Toomey, S. (1994). Managing intercultural conflicts effectively. In L. Samovar & R. Porter (Eds.), Intercultural communication: A reader (pp. 360-372). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
59. Ting-Toomey, S., Gao, G., Trubisky,, P., Yang, Z., Kim, H.S., Lin, S. L., & Nishida, T. (1991). “Culture, face maintenance, and styles of handling interpersonal conflicts; A study of five cultures.” International Journal of Conflict Management, 2, 275-292.
60. Ting-Toomey, S., Yee-Jung, K. K., Shapiro, R. B., Garcia, W., Wright, T. J., & Oetzel, J. G. (2000). Ethnic/cultural identity salience and conflict styles in four US ethnic groups. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 24 (1), 47-81.
61. Triandis, H. (1988). Collectivism vs. individualism: A reconceptualization of a basic concept in cross-cultural psychology. In G. Verma & C. Bagley (Eds.), Cross-cultural studies of personality, attitudes and cognition. (pp. 60-95). London: MacMillan.
62. Trubisky, P., Ting-Toomey, S., & Lin, S. L. (1991). “The influence of individualism-collectivism and self-monitoring on conflict styles.” International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 15, 65-84.
63. Tung, T. M. (1985) Psychiatric care for Southeast Asians: How different is different? In T. Owan (Ed.), Vietnamese mental health: Treatment, prevention, services, training and research (pp. 5-40). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
64. Uba, L. (1994). Asian Americans: Personality patterns, identity and mental health. New York: The Guilford Press.
65. UNESCO. (2010). UNESCO World Reports: Cultural Diversity and dialogue between Culture. Korean National Commission for UNESCO.
66. Williams, L., & Domingo, L. (1993). “The social status of elderly women and men within the Filipino family,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 55 (2), 415-426.
67. Yang, J-H. (2005). Current situation and research on discrimination and abuse experience of migrant women: Centering on Kyungnam province. Kyungnam University Master’s Thesis.
68. Yoon, H-S. (2004). Conflicts and adaptation of intermarriage spouses. In H. Choi, S-G Kim, K-S Jung, and M-K Yoo (Eds). Korean minority, its current situation and prospects (pp.321-349). Seoul: Hanwool Academy.
69. Yukl, G.A., Malone, M.P., Hayslip, B., & Pamin, T.A.(1976). “The effects of time pressure and issue settlement order on integrative bargaining,” Sociometry, 39, 277-281.
70. Yum, J. (1988). “The impact of Confucianism on interpersonal relationships and communication patterns in East Asia.” Communication Monographs, 5, 374-388.

Biographical Note

Jang, Ahnlee received her M.A. from the University of Southern California in East Asian Languages and Cultures and Ph.D. in Public Relations from the University of Maryland. Her research interests include social capital, multiculturalism, cultural identity, and civic engagement of ethnically diverse publics. Her works have been published in the Journal of Public Relations Research, Korea Observer, and Studies of Koreans Abroad. She is currently teaching at Hongik University, School of Advertising and Public Relations. Email: (

Kim, Young-Lan received her M.A. from Korea University and Ph.D. in Sociology from Korea University. Her research interests include multiculturalism, social integration, cultural diversity, co-existence, social risks and risk society. Some of her works have been published in the Journal of Korean Society, Family and Culture, and Asian Women. She is a professor in the Department of Social Psychology at Sookmyung Women’s University. Email: (