Cooperation in Multicultural Negotiations: How the Cultures of People with Low and High Power Interact


This study examined whether the cultures of low- and high-power negotiators interact to influence cooperative behavior of low-power negotiators. Managers from 4 different cultural groups (Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, and the United States) negotiated face-to-face in a simulated power-asymmetric commons dilemma. Results supported an interaction effect in which cooperation of people with lower power was influenced by both their culture and the culture of the person with higher power. In particular, in a multicultural setting, low-power managers from Hong Kong, a vertical-collectivist culture emphasizing power differences and group alignment, adjusted their cooperation depending on the culture of the high-power manager with whom they interacted. This study contributes to understanding how culture shapes behavior of people with relatively low power, illustrates how a logic of appropriateness informs cooperation, and highlights the importance of studying multicultural social interactions in the context of negotiations, work teams, and global leadership.

Journal of Applied Psychology

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