Management International Review

, Volume 50, Issue 5, pp 559–583

Cultural Accommodation and Language Priming

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

DOI: 10.1007/s11575-010-0053-0

Cite this article as:
Akkermans, D., Harzing, AW. & van Witteloostuijn, A. Manag Int Rev (2010) 50: 559. doi:10.1007/s11575-010-0053-0


  • 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 

Copyright information

© Gabler Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dirk Akkermans
    • 1
  • Anne-Wil Harzing
    • 2
  • 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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