Preparing to Negotiate in a Globally Diverse Environment: An Examination of Chinese and Jewish Perspectives on Truth and Lies

30 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2012

See all articles by David Allen Larson

David Allen Larson

Mitchell | Hamline School of Law

Chang Wang

Thomson Reuters

Date Written: September 1, 2012


What are a negotiator’s ethical and moral obligations during a negotiation? Should a negotiator be dedicated to achieving the greatest value possible for his or her client even though that goal may appear to require some degree of deception? Does it make a difference whether a culture has a strong religious foundation and identity?

Different ethnicities and cultures obviously do not always agree as to what is right or wrong, true or false, or the degree to which one’s behavior must conform to those norms. This article will identify differing cultural perspectives towards negotiation in the course of a general discussion about negotiation but, in particular, the article will focus on how truthfulness and lying during negotiations is perceived in Chinese and Jewish culture. The following comparison between a culture that continues to develop and evolve under Communist rule and a culture that embraces long established religious values admittedly does not exhaust this complex and fascinating topic. The authors hope that readers not only find the comparison interesting and revealing, but also are inspired to further explore this cultural comparison as well as others. There always is a danger when one attempts sweeping generalizations and some of the following descriptions may be controversial. Consequently, additional dialogue is strongly encouraged. The article concludes with a “Suggestions for Instructors” section that explores additional cultural differences that can have a significant impact on both negotiations and negotiation teaching.

Keywords: Negotiation,negotiate,contracts,cross-cultural,international,trade,business,China,Jewish,Chinese,Lie,Truth,Judaism,Talmud,Hebrew,communism,communist,ethics,religion,religious,moral,honest,ethical,ADR,alternative dispute resolution,Turkey,Confucius,Taoism.Buddhism,Confucianism,trust,Mishna,Gemara

JEL Classification: D74, F10, J52, K12, K40, M14, N75, O53, P30, P52, K39, K20, L14, M20

Suggested Citation

Larson, David Allen and Wang, Chang, Preparing to Negotiate in a Globally Diverse Environment: An Examination of Chinese and Jewish Perspectives on Truth and Lies (September 1, 2012). Hamline Journal of Public Law and Policy, Vol. 33, No. 2, 2012, Available at SSRN:

David Allen Larson (Contact Author)

Mitchell | Hamline School of Law ( email )

875 Summit Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55105
United States
651-290-6388 (Phone)


Chang Wang

Thomson Reuters ( email )

610 Opperman Drive
Eagan, MN 55123
United States

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