Chapter 14: Culture, Cognition and Conflict: How Neuroscience Can Help to Explain Cultural Differences in Negotiation and Conflict Management
John F. McCarthy, Carl A. Scheraga and Donald E. Gibson Today, in our world of global markets and accelerating, cross-cultural exchanges, we all live in one another’s world, a world of collisions and confrontations that emerge not only from struggles for power but from blurred images of one another. Weiss (1992, p. 6) Because some negotiation processes are also culture specific, negotiating with someone from another culture requires understanding the other party’s communication and interaction norms. Adair and Brett (2005, p. 46) INTRODUCTION With an ever-more globalized world, understanding cultural differences and how these cultural differences get played out in organizational processes is becoming increasingly important. Large-scale research has established the basic dimensions on which cultures can be differentiated (for example, Gelfand et al., 2007; Hampden-Turner and Trompenaars, 1993; Hofstede, 1980). However, applying these broad dimensions to actual individual behavior has not been as fruitful, since these broad dimensions tend to cloak innumerable individual differences. It is precisely at the level of micro-interactions, however, where cross-cultural differences play out. For example, in negotiation and conflict management situations understanding cultural patterns and tendencies is critical to whether a negotiation will accomplish the goals of the involved parties (Adair and Brett, 2005; Gelfand and Dyer, 2000; Tinsley, 1998). Some of these cultural patterns have been identified and usefully applied 263 264 Neuroeconomics and the firm to negotiation situations (for example, Gelfand and Dyer, 2000); however, researchers hasten to point out that cultural patterns do not explain all of the variations found (Tinsley,...
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