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Human Behavior in Military Contexts Culture and Negotiations Michele J. Gelfand Social conflict—over resources, ideas, and interests—among people who are interdependent is ubiquitous. Understanding, predicting, and managing conflict are arguably among the most important challenges facing humans. Fortunately, over the last several decades, scholars across numerous disciplines—including economics, communication, social psychology, organizational behavior, and political science—have advanced important insights on the use of negotiation as one way to deal with social conflict (Pruitt and Carnevale, 1993). Research has made progress in understanding basic psychological processes in negotiation (e.g., cognition, motivation, and emotion), basic social processes in negotiation (e.g., communication, power and influence), and the effects of the social context (e.g., relationships, teams, technology) on negotiation dynamics. Arguably, few areas have developed as rapidly, and with as much depth and breadth, as negotiation (Kramer and Messick, 1995). Despite remarkable progress in negotiation research, however, there has been little attention to understanding the cultural context of negotiation. Historically, much of the knowledge of negotiation and conflict management has been generated in the United States and other Western cultures, which represent roughly 30 percent of humankind (Triandis, 1994). Integrating culture in negotiation research is critical for the science of negotiation, which must capture variation outside of the borders in which it thrives. Culture and negotiation research is also critical for practice. In today’s global marketplace, negotiations occur across, as well as within, cultural borders. Cultural knowledge in negotiation is critical for helping
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Human Behavior in Military Contexts to prepare managers, military personnel, diplomats, and even travelers to negotiate effectively across different cultural contexts. This paper reviews key findings in the area of culture and negotiation, broadly defined as conditions under which individuals have to manage their interdependence (Walton and McKersie, 1965). The review is mainly delimited to social-psychological research on culture and negotiation that has been published in the last decade; see Imai and Gelfand (in press) for an interdisciplinary review of culture and negotiation research. In what follows, I first review research that has examined culture in the context of deal-making negotiations or situations in which parties are seeking to form or manage an economic or social relationship. Next, I review research on culture as it relates to disputing, or conflict situations in which there has been a rejected claim, and relationships have become highly distressed (Brett, 2001). In each area, I discuss key findings and new promising research directions. In the final section, I highlight some additional research gaps and methodological challenges that warrant attention in future research. CULTURE AND DEAL-MAKING NEGOTIATIONS Following similar distinctions in mainstream negotiation research, cross-cultural research on negotiation has examined negotiator cognition, communication processes, and the role of the social context in negotiations across different national cultures. Culture and Negotiator Cognition Drawing heavily on behavioral decision theory, research in the United States has demonstrated that negotiators are susceptible to numerous judgment biases that interfere with the development of high-quality negotiation agreements. For example, negotiators are subject to framing, overconfidence, anchoring, availability, self-serving biases, reactive devaluation, fundamental attribution errors, among other biases, many of which lead to competitive processes and suboptimum agreements (see Thompson, Neale, and Sinaceur, 2004, for a review). Although such biases and their consequences have been consistently documented, the evidence comes almost exclusively from studies in the United States and other Western cultures. This finding naturally raises the question of cultural generalizability: Are the biases documented thus far merely local habits—characteristics Western or “individualistic” negotiators—rather than invariant, fundamental aspects of human nature? Has negotiation research overlooked other biases that are more prominent in other cultural settings? Research on culture and negotiation has begun to address these questions and has found that there is systematic variability in negotiator cog-
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Human Behavior in Military Contexts nition across cultures. For example, Gelfand, Nishii, Holcombe, Dyer, Ohbuchi et al. (2001) illustrated that culture influences cognitive representations of conflicts (or conflict frames), and that identical conflict episodes can be perceived differently across cultures. Using multidimensional scaling, they found that Americans perceived conflicts to be concerned with individual rights and autonomy, whereas Japanese perceived the same conflicts to be concerned with violations of duties and obligations (giri violations). Japanese students also perceived conflicts to be largely about compromise (having mutual blame), whereas U.S. students perceived the same conflicts to be more about winning (with one party to blame). Analyses of newspaper accounts of conflicts in the United States and Japan are also consistent with these findings. These findings empirically illustrated that the same conflicts may be perceived quite differently across cultures. From a practical point of view, Gelfand et al. (2001) concluded that in intercultural situations, metalevel conflicts—those that arise from very different definitions of the conflict itself—may make it especially difficult to come to agreements. Several cross-cultural studies have also examined whether negotiators’ judgment biases, which have been consistently found in the West, are found in non-Western cultures. For example, the “fixed-pie bias” occurs when negotiators falsely assume that there is no room for integrative bargaining (i.e., that counterparts’ interests are diametrically opposed to their own) (Thompson and Hastie, 1990). In particular, this bias occurs when negotiations are framed as a game with a winner and loser, like sports, as opposed to a collaborative undertaking, like joint problem solving (Pinkley, 1990). Indeed, this bias is persistent and difficult to change. Pinkley and Northcraft (1994) found that U.S. negotiators apply a win/lose frame even after they have been provided full information that shows that the interests of the parties are not diametrically opposed. In a cross-cultural study of fixed-pie biases, Gelfand and Christakopoulou (1999) argued that the readiness with which U.S. negotiators apply fixed-pie perspectives may be reflective of the emphasis on win-lose competitions (and sports metaphors) that are emphasized in U.S. culture. They found that U.S. negotiators exhibited more fixed-pie biases (i.e., were less accurate in reporting the priorities of their counterparts) than Greeks in intercultural negotiations, even after the same priority information was exchanged within dyads. Yet the Americans, interestingly, were more (over)confident that they understood their counter-parts’ interests than the Greeks. Similar results were found with respect to egocentrism, or self-serving perceptions, in negotiation. Research in mainstream negotiation has illustrated that negotiators tend to view their own behaviors as more fair than others (Thompson and Loewenstein, 1992), which leads to more aggressive behavior, less concessions, and ultimately less positive outcomes (Babcock and Loewenstein, 1997). Gelfand, Higgins, Raver, Nishii, Dominguez et al.
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Human Behavior in Military Contexts (2002) theorized that egocentrism in negotiation would be consistent with ideals in individualistic cultures, in which the self is served by focusing on one’s positive attributes in order to “stand out” and be better than others, but it would be disruptive to ideals in collectivistic cultures, in which the self is served by focusing on one’s negative characteristics in order to “blend in” and maintain interdependence with others (Heine, Lehman, Markus, and Kitayama, 1999). Four studies in the United States and Japan supported this notion (see also Wade-Benzoni et al., 2002, for similar findings). Others have shown that people use different criteria in forming fairness judgments in negotiation across cultures. For example, Buchan, Croson, and Johnson (2004) found that U.S. negotiators based their fairness assessments on their BATNAs (best alternative to negotiated agreements), whereas Japanese based their fairness assessments on their obligations to others. In all, what is perceived as “fair” in negotiations varies across cultures. Another set of negotiation errors that result from bias in social judgment are misattributions of traits to one’s counterpart. Negotiators often have illusory impressions of each other’s characteristics (e.g., inflexibility, greed) because they fail to weigh situational influences in understanding each other’s behavior. Moreover, dispositionist attributional errors lead negotiators to interpret disagreement as being caused by personality traits, and not the situation, which leads to competitive processes (Morris, Larrick, and Su, 1999). Like other biases reviewed here, however, there is evidence that this bias is subject to cultural variability. The dispositionist bias, so robust among U.S. participants that it was designated the “fundamental attribution error,” is less dramatic among East Asians for whom the concept of the individual person as agentic is less absolute. The default conceptions of agency applied by East Asians enable them to understand the situationally contingent nature of an individual’s behavior (Morris and Peng, 1994). In negotiation contexts, research has indeed illustrated that Americans tend to make more internal attributions to their counterparts’ behavior than negotiators in other cultures, such as Korea and Hong Kong (Morris et al., 2004; Valenzuela, Srivastava, and Lee, 2005). More generally, these results indicate that fixed-pie, self-serving, and dispositional attributions may not be universal biases in negotiation; rather, those biases may reflect different cultural ideals that negotiators have internalized. Far less attention, however, has been given to judgment biases that might be more prevalent in negotiations in other cultures. For example, it seems reasonable to expect that group-serving biases and group fixed-pie biases, and subsequent hypercompetition between groups might be more prevalent in negotiations in collectivistic cultures. Similarly, attributions of group traits to dispositions, and subsequent misattributions and competition, might be more prevalent in collectivistic cultures. Some initial support for this notion can be found in Menon, Morris, Chiu, and Hong (1999),
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Human Behavior in Military Contexts who found that Asians make different attribution errors than Americans when the event being explained is an act by a group or organization. In this context, Asians exhibit a stronger dispositionist bias than do Americans. Nevertheless, there is a dearth of culture and negotiation research that has examined contexts in which competitive judgment biases become acute in other cultures; such work should be a priority in future research. Culture and Negotiation Processes Moving beyond the individual level of analysis, a number of studies have examined the dynamics of how parties communicate and sequence their actions when negotiating and how this varies across cultures. A key finding is that in low-context, individualistic cultures such as the United States, negotiators tend to share information directly (e.g., through direct questions about their preferences and priorities). By contrast, in high-context, collectivistic cultures such as Japan, Russia, Hong Kong, and Brazil, negotiators tend to share information indirectly (e.g., through the patterns of their offers) (Adair, Brett, Lempereur, Okumura, Shikhirev, Tinsley, and Lytle, 2004; Adair, Okumura, and Brett, 2001). Moreover, the path to obtaining joint gains in negotiation is culturally contingent. For example, U.S. negotiators achieve higher joint gains when they share information directly, whereas Japanese negotiators achieve higher joint gains when they share information indirectly (Adair et al., 2001). Communication sequences are also affected by culture. Negotiators from collectivistic cultures use more flexible complementary sequences and are better able to use direct and indirect forms of information exchange than are negotiators from individualistic cultures. In effect, collectivistic negotiators can master both direct and indirect information sharing (i.e., understanding both the meaning of words and the meaning of contexts), whereas individualistic negotiators are primarily skilled in direct information sharing (Adair et al., 2001; Adair and Brett, 2005). Apart from these studies on culture and information exchange, surprisingly very little cross-cultural research has been done on other negotiation processes, such as persuasion. Emotional appeals are theorized to be more common in collectivistic cultures, while rational appeals are theorized to be more common in individualistic cultures (Gelfand and Dyer, 2000). Future research needs to systematically examine cultural differences in persuasion processes in negotiation given this process is so central in negotiation. The discussion thus far has focused on intracultural comparisons of negotiation processes. Much less attention has been given to the dynamics of intercultural negotiations. What evidence does exist, however, suggests that there are a variety of challenges that negotiators face in intercultural negotiations. Graham (1985) found that intercultural dyads (American-Japanese)
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Human Behavior in Military Contexts used fewer problem-solving and cooperative tactics than intracultural dyads (American-American; Japanese-Japanese). Similarly, Natlandsmyr and Rognes (1995) found that intercultural groups of Mexicans and Norwegians achieved lower profits than intracultural groups of Norwegians. More recently, Brett and Okumura (1998) found that joint gains were lower in intercultural negotiations between U.S. and Japanese negotiators than in intracultural negotiations in both cultural groups. The outcomes resulted in part from less accuracy in understanding of others’ priorities, and conflicting styles of information exchange in intercultural negotiations (Adair et al., 2001). From a cognitive perspective, intercultural negotiations may also be more challenging because it takes much longer for negotiators to develop a shared understanding of the task. Gelfand and McCusker (2002) argued that different metaphoric mappings of negotiation (e.g., sports in the United States and the ie [“household”] metaphor in Japan) create different goals, scripts, and feelings in negotiation in intercultural contexts, making it difficult to organize social action (Weick, 1969) and arrive at a common understanding of the task. In a laboratory simulation, Gelfand, Nishii, Godfrey, and Raver (2003) found that metaphoric similarity in negotiation (i.e., agreement on the domain to which negotiation was mapped) was indeed an important predictor of joint gain. They suggested that in intercultural negotiations, negotiators need to “negotiate the negotiation”—or come to a common metaphor about the task—prior to negotiating. Others have theorized that cultural incongruence in negotiator scripts leads to high levels of negative affect (George, Jones, and Gonzalez, 1998; Kumar, 1999). Similarly, research suggests that conflicting goals might be a problem in intercultural negotiations. For example, Cai (1998) found that U.S. negotiators focused more on achieving short-term, instrumental goals, whereas Taiwanese focused on long-term, global goals. Clearly, there are hurdles that need to be managed in intercultural negotiations. Yet there is a dearth of research on the personal factors (personality, intelligence) and situational factors (e.g., training) that help negotiators to overcome culture biases and misunderstandings in intercultural negotiations. One promising approach is to select or train negotiators with “cultural intelligence (CQ).” Cultural intelligence refers to a “person’s capability for successful adaptation to new cultural settings” (Earley and Ang, 2003, p. 9). It is conceptualized as a four-faceted construct: (1) metacognitive CQ—an individual’s cultural mindfulness in adapting to a new culture, involving such skills as planning how to learn the new culture, monitoring one’s own culture-specific assumptions, and evaluating one’s progress of comprehending the new culture; (2) cognitive CQ—an individual’s specific knowledge about the new culture; (3) motivational CQ—an individual’s self-efficacy and persistence in adapting to the new culture; and (4) behav-
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Human Behavior in Military Contexts ioral CQ—an individual’s repertoire of verbal and nonverbal behaviors necessary to adapt to a new culture. Imai and Gelfand (2006) recently examined the role of CQ, among other personality and intelligence constructs, in intercultural negotiations. They found that dyad-level CQ measured a week prior to negotiations predicted the extent to which negotiators reciprocated behavioral sequences, which in turn, predicted joint profit. For example, high CQ dyads engaged in sequencing of integrative information and cooperative behaviors more frequently than low CQ dyads. In effect, when dyad CQ was high, negotiators were able to gain a shared understanding of the negotiation as a cooperative, problem-solving activity, allowing the negotiators to create mutually beneficial outcomes. CQ also predicted processes and outcomes over and above other personality constructs (i.e., openness, extraversion), other forms of intelligence (e.g., IQ, emotional intelligence), and above international travel and living experience. Interestingly, the minimum CQ score in the dyad was enough to predict behavioral sequences, showing that it takes only one, not two high-CQ negotiators in order to increase beneficial outcomes. Furthermore, at the individual level, Americans with high CQ were found to engage in more culturally non-normative, indirect negotiation behaviors. I return to the importance of understanding additional factors that facilitate intercultural negotiation effectiveness in the last part of this paper. Role of Social Context Mainstream research in negotiation has long recognized that social contextual factors such as relationships, roles, teams, and constituencies have important effects on negotiation processes and outcomes (Kramer and Messick, 1995). By contrast, research on cross-cultural negotiation has tended to focus almost exclusively on dyadic negotiations and has only recently started to take this contextual complexity into account. What research has been done demonstrates that negotiation dynamics can change considerably in different cultures depending on nature of the social context. For example, research has shown that the nature of the relationship between individuals is a critical determinant of negotiations in collectivistic cultures. Chan (1992) found that negotiators in collectivistic cultures (e.g., Hong Kong) were much more attentive to the nature of the relationship between themselves and their negotiation counterparts than negotiators in individualistic cultures (e.g., the United States). Collectivists were much more competitive with strangers and much more cooperative with friends; individualists did not differentiate between strangers and friends as much. Consistent with this research, Probst, Carnevale, and Triandis (1999) found that collectivists were much more competitive in outgroup and intergroup
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Human Behavior in Military Contexts negotiations (see also Chen and Li, 2005). Across eight nations, Triandis, Carnevale et al. (2001) also found that, compared to people in individualist cultures, people in collectivistic cultures were much more likely to endorse using deception in negotiations with outgroup negotiators. Research has also shown that the effects of constituents on negotiations vary across cultures. Gelfand and Realo (1999) found that individualists react much differently to accountability pressures from their constituents. Individualists assume that their constituencies want them to be competitive (Benton and Druckman, 1973; Gruder, 1971), and not surprisingly, accountability activated competitive construals and behaviors and resulted in lower negotiation outcomes for individualistic samples than for other samples. By contrast, among collectivists, accountability activated cooperative construals and behaviors and resulted in higher negotiation outcomes. These effects were reversed in unaccountable negotiations, when, in effect, negotiators were released from normative pressures to do what was expected. In unaccountable conditions, collectivists were more competitive and achieved lower negotiation outcomes than individualists, who were more cooperative and achieved higher negotiation outcomes. These results indicate that the same “objective” condition (e.g., accountability) can produce very different dynamics in negotiations in different cultures. Surprisingly, there has been very little research on team negotiations in different cultures. A recent study by Gelfand, Brett, Imai, Tsai, and Huang (2006) compared teams and dyadic negotiations in the United States and Taiwan. Consistent with previous research (Thompson, Peterson, and Brodt, 1996), they found that teams in individualistic cultures outperform solos when making deals. By contrast, teams far underperformed solos in Taiwan. These results suggest a number of questions that are ripe for future research. For example, research is needed on how culture affects team processes and how these processes carry over to between-group negotiations (see, e.g., Keenan and Carnevale, 1989). Research is also needed on how culture influences decision rules in team negotiations. Collectivists are anecdotally thought to spend much more time trying to build a consensus within teams than individualists (Gelfand and Cai, 2004), suggesting that within-team negotiations might take much more time among the former than the latter. In intercultural team negotiation contexts, this added layer of cultural complexity could add to frustration among teams from individualistic cultures who have different expectations regarding decision rules in teams. Overall, the research to date suggests that the nature of the social context is a key priority in cross-cultural negotiation research, a point to which I return in the conclusion.
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Human Behavior in Military Contexts CULTURE AND DISPUTING Disputes are a universal phenomenon, yet the antecedents of disputes and the ways in which they are resolved can vary dramatically across cultures. Shteynberg, Gelfand, and Kim (2006) argued that disputes likely emerge when cultural focal concerns are violated. They found that violations to rights were perceived to be much more harmful and caused more anger and intentions to seek revenge in the United States than in Korea, whereas violations to face were much more harmful and caused more shame and intentions to seek revenge in Korea than in the United States. Gelfand, Bell, and Shteynberg (2005) also argued that shame is more contagious in collectivistic cultures, causing disputes between individuals to carry over to unrelated parties. They found that vicarious shame (i.e., witnessing another person’ experiencing shame) was a much more powerful motivator of revenge intentions among people who endorsed collectivistic values as compared with people who endorsed individualistic values. Related research in the United States on the culture of honor (Cohen, 1996; Cohen and Nisbett, 1997) has shown that honor-related affront induces anger, and even increases cortisol and testosterone, particularly among men in the U.S. South, an important finding for the U.S. military, which draws many recruits and officers from that region. Despite this handful of studies, there has been a dearth of attention to the types of events that cause perceptions of harm in different national cultures. To the extent that culture affects the very definition of what is harmful, it is possible that in intercultural contexts, one party may view that a serious violation has occurred, whereas another party may not even appreciate the possibility of psychological harm. Understanding cultural triggers to conflict could be helpful for developing training programs on preventing cross-cultural conflict. Other research has focused on preferred strategies to resolve disputes across cultures. Kozan (1997) differentiated three models of conflict resolution: a direct confrontational model, a regulative model, and a harmony model. Consistent with a direct, confrontational model, people in individualistic nations prefer to resolve conflicts using their own expertise and training (Smith, Dugan, Peterson, and Leung, 1998), prefer forcing conflict resolution styles (Holt and DeVore, 2005), and tend to focus on integrating interests (Tinsley, 1998, 2001). Germans endorse a regulative model (e.g., relying on existing rules), in part due to values for explicit contracting (Tinsley 1998, 2001). By contrast, people in collectivistic cultures prefer styles of avoidance and withdrawal (Holt and DeVore, 2005), which has been explained in part by differential endorsement of the interdependent self and concerns for others’ face (Oetzel et al., 2001), conservation values
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Human Behavior in Military Contexts (i.e., Morris et al., 1998), or expectations that avoidance leads to better outcomes (Friedman, Chi, and Liu, 2006). The situational context also affects preferences for conflict resolution styles. For example, avoidance is particularly preferred in collectivistic cultures in disputes of high intensity (Leung, 1997), with in-group members (Chan and Goto, 2003; Pearson and Stephan, 1998), and with superiors (Brew and Cairns, 2004; Friedman et al., 2006). However, it is also important to note that avoidance in Asian cultures does not necessarily have the same meaning as it does in individualistic cultures (Brett and Gelfand, 2006). Whereas avoidance reflects a lack of concern for others (as proposed in the dual concern model) and is viewed negatively in the West, it can reflect a concern for others and is viewed positively in collectivistic cultures (Gabrielidis, Stephan, Ybarra, Pearson, and Villareal, 1997). For example, Tsjovold and Sun (2002) showed that in collectivistic cultures, avoidance can include passive, nonconfrontational strategies, as well as highly proactive strategies that often involve working through third parties. Surprisingly, there is little research on the types of strategies that help mitigate conflict in intercultural disputes. For example, research is needed on the types of accounts (e.g., apologies, excuses, justifications) that might mitigate intercultural conflicts. The effectiveness of apologies in mitigating conflict is well documented: apologies have been shown to decrease feelings of aggression (Ohbuchi, Kameda, and Agarie, 1989), repair trust (Kim, Ferrin, Cooper, and Dirks, 2004), and foster forgiveness (McCullough, Worthington, and Rachal, 1997). Yet there has been a lack of systematic attention to how apologies are given, processed, and received in different cultures. In one of the most prominent texts on apology, Tavuchis (1991) notes this omission: “A more comprehensive account of this phenomenon [apology] … would entail its investigation in different cultural contexts and historical settings. This remains to be done” (p. viii). This area of research also has important practical implications. For example, how should President Bush explain the Abu Ghraib situation to Iraqi civilians, and how do such explanations affect the likelihood of conflict escalation or of forgiveness? Do situations that “demand” apologies in Western cultures call for the same or dramatically different explanations in other cultures? Do apologies need to contain different elements (e.g., compensation, expressions of sympathy and remorse, accepting moral responsibility) in different cultures in order to foster forgiveness? OTHER GAPS AND PROMISING RESEARCH DIRECTIONS Cross-cultural research in negotiation is arguably still in its infancy, and there is much territory that has yet to be explored. In this section I elaborate on some additional promising research areas and also discuss important
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Human Behavior in Military Contexts methodological issues that warrant consideration in future cross-cultural negotiation research. Predicting Success in Intercultural Negotiations As noted above, much more research is needed on the ways in which culture clashes become manifest in intercultural negotiations, and how they can be overcome. Future research should continue to examine cultural intelligence, among other personality factors, as well as compare the effectiveness of different types of cultural training and their impact on intercultural negotiation effectiveness. It is unclear, for example, as to which dimensions of CQ are most critical for intercultural negotiation effectiveness and how to best train people to increase their ability to negotiate effectively in intercultural contexts. It would also be useful to integrate research on CQ with negotiation research more generally. For example, does CQ buffer individuals from the cognitive biases found in the literature? Are high-CQ Americans less prone to fixed-pie biases, dispositional attributions, and self-serving assessments of fairness? How does CQ affect strictly distributive tasks? Do high-CQ individuals take advantage of their extensive cultural knowledge and behavioral flexibility to deceive low-CQ individuals? Or does having a high CQ necessarily imply a certain cooperative, global-minded value system that serves as a disadvantage in distributive tasks? Similarly, how does CQ affect disputing and intergroup conflict contexts? Are high-CQ individuals less prone to in-group biases and escalation? In addressing these questions, it is critical that new measures of cultural intelligence be developed that do not rely exclusively on self-reports. Culture and Emotions There is a dearth of attention to how emotions are experienced and expressed in negotiations in different cultures, and the implications these differences have for intercultural negotiations. Although Ekman’s (1989) early pioneering work illustrated that the expressions used to convey emotions tend to be universal, there is ample evidence for cultural differences in display rules, or ways in which emotions are suppressed, attenuated, or enhanced. For example, dating back to Benedict’s ethnographic observations (1946), Asians have been characterized as being “expressionless.” More recent research has shown that it is normative in Japanese contexts to mask both positive emotions (Matsumoto, Takeuchi, Kouznetsova, and Krupp, 1998) and negative emotions (Friesen, 1972; Lebra, 1976). Others have shown that people in different cultures focus on different parts of the face to decode others’ emotions. For example, Yuki, Maddux, and Masuda (2006) showed that because Asians normally subdue their emotional ex-
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Human Behavior in Military Contexts pressions, they tend to focus on people’s eyes, the most uncontrollable part of the face in terms of displaying emotion, in interpreting others’ emotions. In contrast, they found that Americans, who normally express their emotions, tend to focus on people’s mouths, the most expressive part of the facial expression in interpreting others’ emotions. With such cultural variation in emotional display rules, it stands to reason that in intercultural settings, negotiators’ mismatched ways of expressing and interpreting emotion likely create faulty attributions and communication breakdowns. Indeed, Triandis (1994) anecdotally argued that one of the major problems in the intercultural negotiation between Tariq Aziz and James Baker in the early 1990s was that Baker’s emotional style (e.g., being very low key and not raising his voice) was misattributed by Aziz to mean that the United States was not serious about the consequences if Iraq did not withdraw its troops from Kuwait. This hypothesis is consistent with recent work that suggests that people are better able to decode emotional expressions by members of their own cultural group than those of other groups (e.g., Elfenbein and Ambady, 2002a, 2002b). Yet little research has been done on this phenomenon in intercultural negotiation contexts. Critical questions regarding culture and emotional decoding in negotiation need to be addressed. For example, how accurate are individuals at decoding others’ emotions in intercultural negotiations? Which emotional displays cause the most difficulty in intercultural negotiations? Does emotional ambiguity hinder intercultural negotiation effectiveness? If so, what is the best way to train people to be more accurate in decoding in intercultural negotiations? Culture and Social Context in Negotiation As noted above, much research on culture and negotiation has focused on dyadic negotiations without regard to the broader context in which negotiations are embedded. Future research needs to examine negotiation processes and outcomes in both deal-making and disputing contexts as they are influenced by roles, teams, constituents, the communication form (e.g., email or face-to-face), third parties, and the like. As well, the temporal context of negotiations deserves much more attention in cross-cultural negotiation research. For example, how does trust develop in negotiations, and how might this differ across cultures? Are there cross-cultural differences in the initial stages of negotiation that influence early levels of trust, which provide a foundation for building trust in later stages? One would suspect, for example, that early relationship development is particularly important for trust-building in collectivistic cultures to signal good will. This strategy, however, might be dismissed as not task related and therefore inefficient in individualistic cultures (Sanchez-Burks, Nisbett, and Ybarra, 2000).
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Human Behavior in Military Contexts Other critical questions regarding culture, time, and negotiation remain largely unexplored. For example, are there cultural differences in the preferred timing of concessions in negotiation (cf. Hendon, Roy, and Ahmed, 2003)? Are there cultural differences in time-based cognitive biases that interfere with intercultural negotiations? For example, do negotiators from cultures that emphasize a short-term time horizon fail to take into account the future consequences of their actions? How does culture influence the perception of deadlines in negotiation? Integrating theories of culture, time, and negotiation will be a fruitful area for future research. Enlarging the Methodological Toolbox As with mainstream negotiation research, cross-cultural research on negotiation is often based on laboratory experimentation that is highly decontextualized. Laboratory research has a number of notable strengths, including its high degree of control and ability to draw causal inferences. Yet when doing research cross-culturally, the use of decontextualized roles plays presents a number of problems (Gelfand, Raver, and Ehrhart, 2002). At a minimum, future research needs to develop cross-cultural simulations that have a have a high degree of relevance in other cultural contexts. Investment is also needed in the development of cross-culturally relevant coding manuals that are used to assess behaviors in negotiation. For example, are there different behaviors that illustrate cooperation in non-U.S. cultural contexts? Do the same codes that are indicative of competition in one culture apply in other cultures? New measures are needed to capture dimensions of performance that may be important in negotiations in non-U.S. cultures. For example, current negotiation tasks focus almost exclusively on economic capital. Measures of relational capital (Gelfand, Major, Raver, Nishii, and O’Brien, 2006) need to be developed, validated, and used in cross-cultural negotiation research. In addition to improving the use of laboratory methods, cross-cultural negotiation research needs to draw on a much broader array of methods that allow for greater contextual complexity, such as ethnographies, field studies, archival analyses, social network analyses, etc. Full-cycle research (Chatman and Flynn, 2005), which travels back and forth between natural observation and experimentation, is sorely needed in the field of culture and negotiation. Interdisciplinary Research Teams Cross-cultural research on negotiation would benefit from multidisciplinary research teams that span different theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches. For example, the emerging area of social neuroscience (Heatherton, Macrae, and Kelley, 2004) and neuroeconomics
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Human Behavior in Military Contexts (Sanfey, Rilling, Aronson, Nystrom, and Cohen, 2003; Zak, 2004), which focuses on the use of neuroscience methods to understand human behavior, is ripe for integration with cross-cultural theory and research. Such a field, which might be referred to as cross-cultural neuroeconomics, would by necessity involve collaborations among cross-cultural psychologists, economists, neuroscientists, and anthropologists, among others, to work together across levels of analysis to understand cultural variation in basic processes, such as trust, reciprocity, cooperation and competition, fairness, revenge, and forgiveness. There is currently very little research in this area, but there is some new research that shows some promise to this approach. For example, Zak and colleagues (Zak and Fakhar, in press; Zak, Kurzban, and Matzner, 2005) found that cultural differences in interpersonal trust and cooperation can be explained in part by differences in consumption of estrogen-like molecules that are linked to oxytocin. Using fMRI techniques, Zhu, Zhang, Fan, and Han (in press) measured brain activity of Western and Chinese participants and provided neuroimaging evidence that culture shapes the way the self is represented in the human brain. When judging self-relevant items, both Western and Chinese participants showed activation in the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC). Furthermore, supporting the notion that the self is merged with close others in collectivistic cultures, they found that the MPFC was activated when judging close others among Chinese but not among Western participants. These examples aside, there is very little cross-cultural research using such techniques. The development of this field would be useful for testing the neural basis of cultural differences and for exploring fundamental processes of cognition and emotion. Logistically, however, there are a number of hurdles to the development of such a field. Neuroscience techniques, as discussed by Heatherton and his colleagues (see Heatherton et al., 2004), are not without controversy and are also very expensive. Comparing fMRIs across groups also presents problems with reliability, necessitating studies that are done at the same location. Nevertheless, integrating cultural theory with neuroscience is an exciting and important frontier. Another promising interdisciplinary approach would involve collaborations among dynamical systems theorists and cross-cultural psychologists. The work of Coleman and his colleagues (Coleman, Vallacher, Nowak, and Ngoc, 2005; Coleman, Schneider, Adams, Everett, Gameros, Hammons et al., 2005) on a dynamical systems model of conflict conceptualizes intractable conflict as strong attractors—a stable form of self-organization of multiple elements of conflict systems (psychological, social, community-level factors). Yet little work has examined cultural factors that contribute to these multiple elements and that promote the stability (and intractability) of conflicts. For example, despite evidence that collectivists
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Human Behavior in Military Contexts tend to act cooperatively in order to maintain relationships, dynamical systems theory might suggest that in intergroup or intercultural contexts, collectivists are more prone to the escalation of conflict. Many elements of dynamical systems that maintain conflict—such as contagion of collective beliefs and attitudes; norms amongst group members that serve to support the in-group and distance the outgroup; intragroup socialization; sanctioning of feelings, thoughts, behaviors, collective memory and rumination of insults and injustices inflicted by outgroups (Coleman et al., 2005)—are particularly likely to be cultivated in collectivistic cultures. Dense social ties and networks should also make it relatively easy for positive feedback loops to emerge. Research on culture and dynamical systems that examines such processes and ways to change such attractors should be a key priority in future research and would invariably involve research teams of cross-cultural psychologists and dynamical systems theorists. Moving Beyond Hofstede Cross-cultural research needs to broaden its focus beyond East-West comparisons and the use of Hofstede’s (1980) dimensions of culture to explain all cultural differences. To date, the field has been highly restricted in its cultural scope—focusing almost exclusively on individualism versus collectivism to the neglect of other dimensions of culture. In the preface to the Handbook of Cross-Cultural Psychology, Segall and Kagitçibasi (1997) stated: “In case anyone failed to notice, this volume makes very clear that individualism/collectivism is currently the favorite heuristic of many cross-cultural psychologists” (p. xxvii). Likewise, Earley and Gibson (1990) remarked: “After all of the studies conducted on individualism-collectivism are reviewed, one wonders what other aspects of culture are important for understanding organizational phenomena in a cultural context” (p. 298). The use of individualism-collectivism as a catchall dimension is a serious limitation in the field, for a single dimension of culture is clearly insufficient to capture cross-cultural variation in its entirety. Accordingly, efforts are needed to develop comprehensive theories on other dimensions of cultural variation to broaden the scope of the field. There is emerging research that has begun to map countries on other cultural dimensions—cultural fatalism (Aycan, Kanungo, Mendonca, Yu et al., 2000), cultural tightness-looseness (Gelfand, 2006; Gelfand, Nishii, and Raver, in press), cultural cynicism (Bond, Leung et al., 2004), among others— that may prove useful in understanding cultural variation in negotiation and disputing. Yet even these large-scale studies often do not include many samples from the Middle East, which is a key priority for future research. Access to samples is a key logistical hurdle, yet there are a number of international organizations (e.g., the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology) that can help
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