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What are they thinking? Considerations underlying negotiators’ ethical decisions

By Cheryl J. Rivers


Mismatched ethical expectations between international business negotiators are one of the biggest barriers to bridging the communication gap that exists. Using inappropriate tactics can hinder the negotiation process and cause breakdown. Despite this, there is scant understanding of what negotiators think about in their choice of tactics. This paper extends current understanding of ethical decision making in negotiation by presenting a study that uses multi-dimensional scaling (MDS) analysis of Australian negotiators’ ratings of appropriateness of ethically ambiguous negotiation tactics. Four dimensions that underlie these ratings are identified. These are the immediacy of impact of the tactic; the impression using the tactic gives to the other party; the level of emotional commitment required to execute a tactic; and, how clearly the intended signal will be received by the other party. Likely cross-cultural differences in these dimensions and their influence on perceptions of appropriateness of ethically ambiguous negotiation tactics are discussed. This information can be used by negotiators to help them decide which tactics to avoid in their international business negotiations and which tactics will not damage the bridge being built by the negotiators to bring them together

Topics: 150300 BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT, 220199 Applied Ethics not elsewhere classified, Negotiation ethics, ethical decision making, ethically ambiguous negotiation tactics, EANTs
Year: 2004
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