Academic journal article Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship

Antecedents of Problem-Solving Cross-Cultural Negotiation Style: Some Preliminary Evidence

Academic journal article Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship

Antecedents of Problem-Solving Cross-Cultural Negotiation Style: Some Preliminary Evidence

Article excerpt


Negotiation is one of the most common human activities in business as well as in the normal activities of everyday life. We engage in negotiation on a daily basis for creating, maintaining, strengthening, and even terminating relationships. In fact, no business transaction can occur without being preceded by some form of negotiation. Because of its omnipresence in our everyday life, negotiation is one of the most widely studied human phenomena, as can be evidenced by the prevalence of a voluminous literature on negotiation.

Negotiation has been studied from various disciplinary perspectives such as business, communications, conflict resolution, diplomacy, global environment, law, world peace, etc. One common theme that we find in different genres of negotiation literature is that negotiation behavior can be broadly categorized in two principal forms: competitive or win-lose and cooperative or win-win negotiation, which is also known as problem-solving behavior (e.g., Lewicki et al., 2008). While we find a plethora of deductive and inductive work on these two types of negotiation behavior, there is hardly any empirical work that investigates what leads to, or influences, such behavior. This paper is an attempt to partially address this gap in the literature by identifying the antecedents to problem solving behavior in cross-cultural negotiations. In so doing, we focus on cultural intelligence and various individual characteristics.

Based on the premise that our negotiation behavior is influenced to a significant extent by our level of cultural intelligence and individual characteristics, this paper specifically attempts to:

1) present a conceptual model depicting the relationship among cultural intelligence, certain personality factors, and cooperative negotiation behavior;

2) empirically test the relationship depicted in the model by analyzing data from Turkey and the United States (US)- two countries that represent very different cultures; and.

3) examine the differences, if any, between US and Turkish negotiation behavior and what factors may cause such differences.

We draw from the literature on psychology, cross-cultural communication, conflict resolution, and management to develop the conceptual model that is explicated in the following section. Following the example of Hofstede (2001), we use the term "culture" in this paper in the sense of "national culture." It is well established that negotiation is, by nature, a very complex process as different negotiating parties have different priorities and they pursue different interests, objectives, and communication style. In a cross-national context, negotiation is even more difficult since the negotiators, in addition to all the complexities of domestic negotiations, encounter the added component of cultural diversity (Adler, 1997) that often make people to perceive and interpret the reality differently.

The impact of culture on negotiations is well documented (e.g., Hofstede & Usinier, 1989; Elahee, Kirby & Nasif, 2002; Adler & Graham, 1989). Culture has been found to have influenced our negotiation behavior in myriad ways such as the exercise of power (Brett, 2000), the pattern of concession making (Hendon, Roy & Ahmed, 2003), the propensity to engage in unethical behavior (Volkema, 1999), etc. While commenting on the influence of culture on negotiations, Janosik, (1987) identified four distinct possibilities. First, culture as a learned behavior affects negotiation in that it shapes one's notion of reciprocity and justice, attitude about acceptable outcomes, or concepts about the appropriate timing for certain bargaining behaviors. Second, culture as "shared values" produces a common bargaining style among the people of a particular culture. Third, culture, in addition to representing "shared values", also represents dialectic (i.e., the tensions that exist among values embedded in a given culture). …

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