A growing body of research has started to examine how individuals from different countries may differ in their use of ethically questionable tactics during business negotiations. Whereas prior research focused on the main effect of the national culture or nationality of the negotiator, we add a new factor, which is the nationality of the counterpart. Looking at both these variables allows us to examine whether and how people may change their likelihood of using ethically questionable tactics in inter-cultural negotiations as opposed to intra-cultural ones. Results of an experiment (N = 810) show that overall, American participants were less likely than Chinese participants to use ethically questionable tactics in negotiations. However, American participants were more likely to use ethically questionable tactics, particularly those related to false promises and inappropriate information gathering, in inter-cultural negotiations with Chinese counterparts, than in intra-cultural negotiations with American counterparts. By contrast, Chinese participants were less likely to use ethically questionable tactics, particularly those related to false promises and attacking opponent’s network, in inter-cultural negotiations with American counterparts, than in intra-cultural negotiations with Chinese counterparts. Implications and future directions are discussed.
Negotiation requires communication, but not necessarily verbal exchanges. Adjustments can be achieved incrementally by other means. This article will examine how some parties have managed to strike a deal in situations characterized by total distrust and even hostility, asymmetric power relations, major cultural differences, extreme logistical difficulties in reaching the place in which the trade is to be made, and several additional process risks by employing a type of bargaining known as "dumb barter."
This process presents a distinct paradigm with a specific and unique rationale. Sometimes called "silent trade," it has been observed in many places (especially West Africa) for more than two millennia. It may well be the oldest form of trade negotiation and is still practiced in some parts of the world. An examination of this unlikely but real and effective process can also provide negotiation theorists with some useful insights into the fundamental nature of negotiation.