Management International Review

, Volume 50, Issue 5, pp 559–583 | Cite as

Cultural Accommodation and Language Priming

Competitive versus Cooperative Behavior in a Prisoner’s Dilemma Game
  • Dirk Akkermans
  • Anne-Wil HarzingEmail author
  • Arjen van Witteloostuijn
Research Article


  • This paper explores three arguments. First, cultural accommodation by living in another culture for a while may have a long-lasting but partially dormant influence on behavior. Second, foreign language is a prime, activating behavior associated with this language. Third, a foreign language is expected to be a particularly forceful prime for those who have lived in a country where this language is spoken. We explore this logic in a prisoner’s dilemma quasi-experiment that focuses on competitive versus cooperative behavior.

  • Testing our predictions with 358 Dutch students, we found that previous exposure to an Anglophone culture with higher values for masculinity, performance orientation and assertiveness negatively influences cooperative behavior in a prisoner’s dilemma game when the game is played in English.


National cultures Cultural accommodation Language Competitive and cooperative behavior Prisoner’s dilemma game Quasi-experiment 



This research was supported under Australian Research Council’s Discovery Projects funding scheme (project DP0555977). The views expressed herein are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Australian Research Council.

Arjen van Witteloostuijn gratefully acknowledges the financial support through the Odysseus program of the Flemish Science Foundation (FWO).


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Copyright information

© Gabler Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dirk Akkermans
    • 1
  • Anne-Wil Harzing
    • 2
    Email author
  • Arjen van Witteloostuijn
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of International Economics & BusinessUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Management and MarketingUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  3. 3.Department of ManagementUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium

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