The Role of Culture in the Negotiation Process

Marc-Antoine Vachon

University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) – Department of Business Strategy

Terri R. Lituchy

Concordia University, Quebec – John Molson School of Business

IACM 2006 Meetings Paper


This paper proposes a framework where the role of culture is examined throughout the negotiation process. The outcomes of cross-cultural negotiation tend to be distributive. Culture is a source of this problem. To be examined, the negotiation has to be separated in three phases: antecedent, concurrent and consequent. The role of culture differs throughout this process. It is explained by the presence of different dimensions having their proper role to play at each step: the preparation, the interaction, the agreement and the outcome.

Nine cultural dimensions are included in the framework. Every link included in the negotiation process is discussed. Fifteen hypotheses are proposed to measure the influence of culture throughout the negotiation process. This paper proposes a new approach of the cultural distance, a useful way to consider culture in the preparation of negotiation and a useful set of cultural dimensions to evaluate and to adjust to during the interaction.

The ultimate goal is clear: to help the managers reaching distributive outcomes in cross-cultural negotiation by improving the tools to deal with a different culture.

The Role of Culture in the Negotiation Process

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