Explaining and Predicting Cultural Differences in Negotiation

Michele J. Gelfand, Laura Severance, C. Ashley Fulmer and May Al-Dabbagh

in The Oxford Handbook of Economic Conflict Resolution

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199730858
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Explaining and Predicting Cultural Differences in Negotiation

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  • Economics
  • Microeconomics
  • Econometrics and Mathematical Economics


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This article reviews the current thinking about cultural differences in bargaining behavior and outcomes. It also considers the future directions needed in this area. It specifically describes the nature of how unique Americans might be in the domain of negotiation as compared to other samples. There is a clear link between the expectation of competition and self-interest and Americans' own strategies. Negotiation data from American samples generally shows an Individuals Asserting and Maximizing Self-Interest strategy (IAMS) that is rational in the particular ecological niche of these samples. Judgment biases in negotiation should reflect different strategies that negotiators have internalized as adaptations to particular ecological niches. It is shown that cultural differences in negotiation can be seen as ecologically rational default negotiation strategies that are adaptive in particular social niches and that can change dynamically depending on the context.

Keywords: cultural differences; bargaining; Americans; negotiation; competition; ecological niche; judgment biases; social niches

Article.  11706 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Microeconomics ; Econometrics and Mathematical Economics

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