Nonverbal Cues Associated with Negotiation 'Styles' Across Cultures
Posted: 27 Jun 2011 Last revised: 9 Jun 2013
Date Written: June 24, 2011
The current study examines possible miscommunications in cross-cultural negotiation, from a nonverbal communication perspective. We examined cultural variation in nonverbal cues connoting four negotiation styles, associated with the cooperative/competitive dichotomy (Pruitt & Carnevale, 1993; Raiffa, 1982). Canadian and Chinese negotiators were primed with positive or negative evaluation (liking or disliking partner), and dominant or submissive negotiation styles. We found main effects of negotiation approach, where negotiators with a negative and dominant stance, tend to display negative emotion, gesture, occupy space, and engage in high visual dominance. In contrast, negotiators primed with liking or a more submissive negotiation stance were more likely to lean forward, smile, gesture, and exhibit silence. Significant interactions illustrate that Canadian negotiators communicate liking with eye contact, while this same behaviour is associated with dislike for Chinese negotiators. Interestingly, an erect and straight back posture was associated with dominance for Canadian negotiators, while this posture was affiliated with submissiveness amongst Chinese negotiators. Theoretical and practical implications for cross-cultural negotiation and communication are discussed.
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