ScienceDaily (July 21, 2010) — Getting angry might help you get your way if you're negotiating with European Americans, but watch out – in negotiations with East Asians, getting angry may actually hurt your cause. That's the conclusion of a new study on how people from different cultures react to anger in negotiations.
Most research on negotiations has shown that anger is a good strategy – it gets you larger concessions than other emotions, like happiness, or no emotions. But these studies have mostly been carried out in Western populations, says Hajo Adam, of INSEAD in France, who coauthored the new study with William Maddux of INSEAD and Aiwa Shirako of the University of California - Berkeley.
Adam noticed differences in emotions at the institute where he works. "INSEAD is very diverse, with people from all over the world. I noticed that sometimes people get angry, and you see that people react differently to that. I was wondering whether a lot of those different reactions might be explained by cultural backgrounds." He studies negotiation, so he decided to study how intercultural differences in the ways that people react to emotion expressions affect negotiation outcomes. For example, when President Clinton took an aggressive, angry stance in trade negotiations with Japan in the early 1990s, the Japanese were annoyed, and negotiation largely failed.
European Americans made larger concessions to an angry opponent than to a non-emotional opponent. Asians and Asian Americans, however, made smaller concessions if their opponent was angry rather than non-emotional.