Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 145, Issue 3, pp 659–670 | Cite as

How Ethically Would Americans and Chinese Negotiate? The Effect of Intra-cultural Versus Inter-cultural Negotiations

  • Yu YangEmail author
  • David De Cremer
  • Chao Wang


A growing body of research has started to examine how individuals from different countries may differ in their use of ethically questionable tactics during business negotiations. Whereas prior research focused on the main effect of the national culture or nationality of the negotiator, we add a new factor, which is the nationality of the counterpart. Looking at both these variables allows us to examine whether and how people may change their likelihood of using ethically questionable tactics in inter-cultural negotiations as opposed to intra-cultural ones. Results of an experiment (N = 810) show that overall, American participants were less likely than Chinese participants to use ethically questionable tactics in negotiations. However, American participants were more likely to use ethically questionable tactics, particularly those related to false promises and inappropriate information gathering, in inter-cultural negotiations with Chinese counterparts, than in intra-cultural negotiations with American counterparts. By contrast, Chinese participants were less likely to use ethically questionable tactics, particularly those related to false promises and attacking opponent’s network, in inter-cultural negotiations with American counterparts, than in intra-cultural negotiations with Chinese counterparts. Implications and future directions are discussed.


Ethically questionable tactics Intra-cultural negotiations Inter-cultural negotiations Americans Chinese 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Entrepreneurship and ManagementShanghaiTech UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Judge Business SchoolUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  3. 3.Department of Business AdministrationUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA

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