Negotiation Ethics Across Cultures: An Examination of the Influence of Law and Codes of Ethics

Cheryl Rivers
University of the Sunshine Coast

IACM 23rd Annual Conference Paper


Foreign companies negotiating in China need to tread a wavy and often blurry line that separates building relationships from paying or accepting bribes. The recent arrest and ongoing detention of commercial negotiators on bribe charges in China highlights this challenge. The arrest also highlights the lack of robust theoretical explanations about cultural differences in negotiation ethics in countries where the law is changing and arbitrarily enforced. In this paper I seek to extend our understanding of ethical decision making in negotiation by presenting an exploratory cross-cultural study that investigates if there are differences in how negotiators think about laws in China and how they view corporate codes of ethics. The two cultures investigated are Australia and China. From my interpretation of interview data, I propose hypotheses for future testing. I discuss the managerial implications of my findings that a) neither Australia nor Chinese negotiators are concerned about Chinese laws and b) that there are cultural differences in how negotiators view codes of ethics.

Negotiation Ethics Across Cultures- An Examination of the Influence of Law and Codes of Ethics

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