Honors Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Noetzel, J. (2020). The Role of Self-Construal and the Parties’ Relationship in Dispute-Resolution Preferences. Undergraduate Honors Thesis.


Copyright Jared Noetzel 2020.


Culture acts as a lens that can influence many aspects of an individual’s life, such as their health perceptions, cognition, and even their preferred style of conflict resolution (Hong et al., 2000). We predict that an individual’s self-construal affects their preference for resolving a conflict. Dimensions of individualism-collectivism and self-construal are tightly linked (Cross, Hardin, Gercek-Swing, 2011). Furthermore, individual differences in self-construal have been found to predict conflict style (Oetzel, 1998). It was hypothesized that participants high in interdependent self-construal will prefer more authoritative styles of conflict resolution (i.e., litigation) while participants high in interdependent self-construal will prefer more mediative styles of conflict resolution (i.e., mediation). In this study, we manipulated the relationship between the conflicting parties and expected to find that people high in interdependent self construal would prefer the same dispute resolution features and mechanisms regardless of their relationship with the conflicting party. We also expected individuals high in independent self construal would prefer more mediative styles of conflict when they were conflicting with a family member. Additionally, with relationship being manipulated, it was hypothesized that those high in interdependent self-construal would have similar preferences for dispute-resolution across different relationships while those high in independent self-construal will prefer more mediative styles of conflict with higher relational familiarity. Results showed that negotiation was the most preferred dispute-resolution mechanism across those either high in independent or interdependent self-construal. However, the relationship manipulation had significant effects for litigation preference, with a stronger preference for litigation in the stranger condition. Results of this study show the importance of educating the public about Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms.