Purpose– This paper aims to explore cross-cultural differences in perceived ethicality of negotiation strategies among China, Taiwan and Canada by examining five categories of strategies often used in business negotiations. Design/methodology/approach– This paper uses a survey method to investigate a group of over 600 business students’ opinions on the ethicality of a variety of negotiation strategies often used during the bargaining process. Findings– The results show that the Chinese both from the mainland and from Taiwan consider it more appropriate to use ethically questionable negotiation strategies than Canadians. In addition, significant gender differences are found for Canadians, in that male Canadians are more likely to consider it appropriate to use ethically questionable strategies in all five categories than females, while no gender differences are found for mainland Chinese in all but one category, with a moderate level of gender differences found for the Taiwanese. Practical implications– The findings of this paper help explain why there are different understandings toward what is ethical and what is not in negotiations, which can be used to better equip practitioners to accurately label and understand negotiation strategies they may otherwise deem unethical. A better understanding of cross-cultural differences in business ethics can also help practitioners avoid the feelings of anger and mistrust toward their opponents and thus avoid using tactics that might incite more anger and hatred from the other party. Originality/value– This paper contributes to the cross-cultural literature on ethical attitudes and behaviors and helps us better understand cross-cultural differences in business ethics in a negotiation context. This paper narrows this gap by empirically validating some of the Western findings in China and Taiwan. The results also provide support for a set of commonly accepted strategies to be used in business negotiation.
Nankai Business Review International – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 1, 2015