Cultural tendeces

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Cultural tendencies in negotiation: A comparison of Finland,
India, Mexico, Turkey, and the United States

Lynn E. Metcalf a Allan Bird b Jorma Larimo d
b

Mahesh Shankarmahesh b Zeynep Aycan c ´ Dıdimo Dewar Valdelamar e

a California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407, United States
University of Missouri, 1 University Blvd., Saint Louis, MO 63121-4499, UnitedStates
c Department of Psychology, Rumelifeneri Yolu, Koc University, 34450 Sariyer Istanbul, Turkey
¸ d Faculty of Business Studies, University of Vaasa, P.O. Box 700/Wolffintie 34, 65101 Vaasa/65200 Vaasa, Finland
e ´ School of Business and Social Sciences, Tecnologico de Monterrey, Campus Cuernavaca, Avenida Paseo de la Reforma 182-A,
Col. Lomas de Cuernavaca, C.P. 62589, Temixco, Morelos,Mexico

Abstract In this era of increased global cooperation, a growing number of negotiators conduct business in multiple countries and, therefore, need access to a systematic comparison of negotiating tendencies across a wide range of countries. Empirical work systematically comparing variations across a range of cultures is scarce. A comparative analysis of negotiating tendencies in fivecountries is presented. This study establishes the utility of the [Salacuse, J. (1998) Ten ways that culture affects negotiating style: Some survey results. Negotiation Journal, 14(3): 221–235] framework in identifying country differences across five countries, representing five cultural clusters. Significant differences in negotiation orientations both between and within cultures were revealed at alevel of complexity not found in previous empirical studies.

In an era characterized by enormous proliferation of trade and professional ties across borders (cf. Berton, Kimura, & Zartman, 1999; Brett, 2001; Cellich & Jain, 2004; Cohen, 1997; Foster, 1992), international negotiation has received increasing attention. While

international negotiations used to be limited to a skilled corps ofdiplomats, the ease of international travel, communication and transportation has widened the circle of international actors to include individuals from all walks of life—businesspeople, engineers, scientists, and people engaged in humanitarian aid. This unpre­ cedented level of cooperation across borders increases possibilities for misunderstanding caused by variations in negotiating behaviors thatare grounded in cultural differences (Cohen, 1997; Faure, 1999). The effects of cross-cultural differences on interna­ tional negotiation are widely acknowledged. Cohen (1997) notes that cultural factors can complicate, prolong, and frustrate negotiations. While there is substantial empirical evidence that negotiating tenden­ cies differ by culture (cf. Adair, Okumura, & Brett,

2001; Graham,Mintu, & Rodgers, 1994), much of the information that is available to an expanding corps of international negotiators about negotiating behaviors in countries around the world is descriptive (Elashmawi, 2001; Foster, 1992; Gesteland, 1999; Moran & Stripp, 1991; Morrison, Conaway, & Borden, 1994; Salacuse, 2003). Negotiators may find themselves relying on very basic lists of do’s and don’ts (cf.CultureGrams, 2005; Morrison et al., 1994), which may or may not contain tips relevant to negotiating. Moreover, the items included in the lists are generally not comparable across countries. Empirical work that systematically compares variations across a range of cultures is scarce (Metcalf & Bird, 2004). An example of what is available for the five countries that are the subject of this study ispresented in Table 1. What the data in this table makes clear is the lack of information on countries, the

stereotypical nature of what is available, and the contradictions that exist – without explanation – between widely available sources. In this era of increased global cooperation, it is imperative that negotiators be equipped with a better understanding of the behaviors they might expect at...
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