In bargaining, mutual understanding is a prerequisite for successful negotiations to reach an agreement satisfactory for all partners. This is still more important if the cultural background of the parties is different, as e.g. between Western and Asian partners. Our cross-cultural study investigates bargaining behavior in Germany and China by running a video experiment. Bargaining pairs are represented by three persons each, deciding together as a group and being video taped (Hennig-Schmidt, 1999). They bargain on the distribution of a given amount of money by alternating offers. If they consent they receive the amount agreed upon, if not, they receive a conflict payoff differing essentially for both partners. The video method is well suited for cross-cultural research because it allows direct comparison of discussions in both countries. Clear differences in negotiation styles between German and Chinese bargainers are found. Confirming results from international questionnaire studies, negotiations last significantly longer in China. Chinese negotiators in strong positions are more successful in taking advantage of the given power relation. They insist on their relative powerful position from the beginning whereas weak negotiators do not accept this position from the outset. The latter adapt to the given power relation by making significantly larger concessions than German do. Due to the transcripts, we attribute these findings to the influence of Confucian ethics, giving rise to behavior as attention t
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