Cooperation and Trust for Americans, Power and Relationship for Chinese: In Search of More Culturally Relevant Features of Negotiator Mentality
34 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2011
Date Written: 2011
We define negotiation mentality as a negotiator’s general understanding and belief about the nature, context, and effective approaches of negotiation. In a comprehensive cross-cultural study, we investigate the etic and emic features of negotiators’ mentality. We theorize that how an individual perceives and understands a negotiation is both etic (universal) and emic (culture-specific). We developed a scale to measure negotiators’ mentality (Study 1), and examined the effects of its specific dimensions on negotiation outcomes (Study 2). In Study 1, we found three etic or universal dimensions across both Chinese and American negotiators, in addition, two emic dimensions are found among the U.S. negotiators and three emic dimensions among Chinese negotiators. In Study 2, we validated the developed scale and examined the relationships between the etic and emic dimensions and negotiation outcomes. We found that although the etic factors of cooperation and trust are relevant in predicting negotiation behaviors for both American and Chinese negotiators, their effects are much stronger for the Americans. For Chinese negotiators, the emic factors of power, relational concern, and open discussion are more powerful predictors of negotiation outcome than the etic factors of cooperation and trust. Our research contributes to cross-cultural negotiation research by establishing both etic and emic constructs and scales of negotiation mentality and shedding light on the necessity of investigating the proximal factors influencing negotiation processes and outcomes, especially the potential of emic factors in non-U.S. contexts.
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