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The Dynamics Consensus Building in Intracultural and Intercultural Negotiations

Leigh Anne Liu, Ray Friedman, Bruce Barry, Michele J. Gelfand and Zhi-Xue Zhang
Administrative Science Quarterly
Vol. 57, No. 2 (June 2012), pp. 269-304
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43548319
Page Count: 36
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Abstract

This research examines the dynamics of consensus building in intracultural and intercultural negotiations achieved through the convergence of mental models between negotiators. Working from a dynamic constructivist view, according to which the effects of culture are socially and contextually contingent, we theorize and show in two studies of U.S. and Chinese negotiators that while consensus might be generally easier to achieve in intracultural negotiation settings than intercultural settings, the effects of culture depend on the epistemic and social motives of the parties. As hypothesized, we find that movement toward consensus (in the form of mental model convergence) is more likely among intracultural than intercultural negotiating dyads and that negotiators' epistemic and social motives moderated these effects: need for closure inhibited consensus more for intercultural than intracultural dyads, while concern for face fostered consensus more for intercultural than intracultural dyads. Our theory and findings suggest that consensus building is not necessarily more challenging in cross-cultural negotiations but depends on the epistemic and social motivations of the individuals negotiating.

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