Determinants in Negotiations among Germans and Chinese – An empirical Analysis
Art der Uni-Arbeit: Diplomarbeit
This work has
scrutinized the cultural determinants influencing the Chinese and German
negotiation style. Building on this framework it has set out a pioneering
attempt to analyze the culturally related behavior during negotiations in two
empirical experiments. The analyzed dimensions set a framework that provided a
structure to better conduct the analysis and made the given data source more
comparable. The results were presented through testing the five hypotheses with
regard to the five dimensions.
this goal, initially a theoretical introduction to the concepts of negotiation,
bargaining and culture and insights into practical key concepts applied in
bargaining scenarios, were provided in chapter two. The chapter further
continued by characterizing the two cultures concerned with respect to the IBM
research conducted by Hofstede in 1970. The characterization of the German and
Chinese culture was then directed towards culturally-related behavior in
bargaining situations on the basis of five crucial dimensions relevant in
negotiations in chapter 2.3.2. The dimensions were put together as a
combination of Salacuse’s (2003) negotiation factors paired with negotiation
behavior related factors constituted by other researchers (Katz (2007),
Thompson (2005), Luecke (2003), Baumhackl (2006), Smyser (2003)) and five
respective hypotheses were deployed. In the following chapter, I presented the
methodology, summary of the experiment and analyzed two experiments with the
goal to test the hypotheses. The results show that both cultures display
different behaviors coherent to the theoretical findings on the one hand. On
the other hand, some behavioral characteristics have not been identified. The
bargaining and negotiation-related characteristics show that the Chinese and
Germans are both tenacious with regard to their style, argumentation and
reasoning. The important aspect is that the cultures rely on different foci and
show difficulties in reciprocal adaptation. The Chinese act collectivistic, relationship-orientated
and try to be
psychologically persuasive. The Germans did not put a lot of effort in setting
up their own schedule as the research suggested. The Chinese on the other hand
acted in accordance to the findings and utilized time strategically.
Furthermore, I found evidence for the application of stratagems by the Chinese.
This is displayed by the skillful and shrewd behavior during negotiations, thus
reflecting their cultural background and the Confucian virtues which are deeply
rooted in the Chinese education and philosophy.
The Germans were
more focused on the contract. The straightforward behavior and necessity for
logic and rationality is evident throughout both experiments. Consequently,
hypothesis one was confirmed.
The attitudes of
both cultures led to different strategic approaches regarding the
argumentation, but the proposals were similar. Whereas the Chinese focused
their argumentation on cooperation, effort and willingness to compromise, the
Germans argued with regard to fairness, potential and their essentiality to
reach an agreement. On top of that it was evident that the Chinese in the
strong position favored haggling. Therefore, hypothesis two was partly
confirmed. I recommend using a larger sample to identify how the negotiation
behavior is affected by the unequal money endowment in the beginning and to
observe whether the proposed offers follow a similar pattern.
differences in the communication styles have led to a deceleration of the
negotiation pace and created misunderstandings during the negotiations. The
behavior is in line with the findings about culturally-related communication
styles. Whereas the Germans applied a direct and factual style, the Chinese
used a subtle and intuitive style. Due to the findings, hypothesis four has
dimension relationship had a greater effect on the argumentation, attitude and
in- group behavior of the Chinese. Throughout the protocols they revealed
relationship- motivated behavior, which is rooted in the collectivistic
cultural background. The Germans on the other hand did not show affiliation
towards relationship matters and focused more on their own position and goals.
Hence, hypothesis four has been confirmed.
hypothesis was not confirmed, since the agreement process itself did not have a
great impact on finding an acceptable result. All teams
acted consensually and the whole team jointly prepared their respective
leaders’ argumentations and strategies. The difference in their bargaining
behavior and attitudes towards the negotiation raised the crucial difficulties
in finding an acceptable agreement.
The findings revealed interesting and different approaches between the
Chinese and German cultures. The culturally-related behavior has been
investigated and four deployed hypotheses were confirmed, one was partly
confirmed and one was not confirmed. Within the cultures the approaches and
bargaining behavior were similar. Hence, the anticipated culturally-related
behavior was predominantly verified. Yet, a greater sample covering
intercultural bargaining scenarios between Chinese and Germans can help to
determine if the behavior follows a certain pattern under the provided
The experiment is focused on observing culturally-related behavior in bargaining
situations. The participants participated on a voluntary basis, with the
commonality of being German or Chinese doctoral students. The participation did
not depend on gender, age, negotiation experience or negotiation training.
Therefore, the behavior can be closely related to the respective cultural heritage.
However, the arguments applied and proposals offered by the strong
German and Chinese group due to starting position are probably culture
independent and the result of the nature of bargaining processes itself. The
strong teams argue they were stronger in the pre-test and should therefore gain
more of the ‘Fixed Pie’. Both strong teams started by offering the PS. The weak
teams’ approach was to separate the additional gain from the starting endowment
and put forward the offer of an ES. Further the weak teams argued that if they
cannot reach an agreement at their terms the loss of money would be greater for
the strong team.
Furthermore, it is noteworthy that certain behavior like persistency and
aggressiveness by the Germans for example or the intuitive communication style
applied by the Chinese is difficult to subsume for both cultures within this
bargaining experiment. This is also linked to the different starting positions
and different individuals involved in the experiment. Still a culturally
related behavioral pattern can be observed for both cultures, but the execution
of this behavior has to be investigated with a larger sample. The analysis
should concentrate on behavioral patterns of Chinese and Germans related to
different power (money) endowment. The
simplified bargaining scenario disregards determining factors like concerns
about law, market competition, product-obsolescence, governmentally and
politically established trading barriers. Furthermore, the
negotiation may be influenced by numerous factors besides culture, including
personality, personal condition, and business experience for example. This is
hard to capture within this experimental framework and the focus is set on
general, culturally-related behavior.
Hence, it is
difficult to provide insights into behaviorism which is fully resilient with
respect to everyday and business situations. Thus, it can be precarious to
assume that the findings in this study provide a prediction or policy formation
The list of
critical variables seems unlimited which makes it important to evaluate
abstraction and build a model to reduce these difficulties to a manageable
proportion. Besides, the results from the IBM research by Hofstede only
represent Western Germany, since Hofstede didn’t include countries under state
socialism (for example Eastern Germany) in his study. It seems feasible to
update the findings about German culture involving the whole country.
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