Not All Anger Is Created Equal: The Impact of the Expresser’s Culture on the Social Effects of Anger in Negotiations

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Abstract

The influence of culture on the social effects of emotions in negotiations has recently gained the attention of researchers, but to date this research has focused exclusively on the cultural background of the perceiver of the emotion expression. The current research offers the first investigation of how the cultural background of the expresser influences negotiation outcomes. On the basis of the stereotype that East Asians are emotionally inexpressive and European Americans are emotionally expressive, we predicted that anger will have a stronger signaling value when East Asians rather than European American negotiators express it. Specifically, we predicted that angry East Asian negotiators will be perceived as tougher and more threatening and therefore elicit great cooperation from counterparts compared with angry European American negotiators. Results from 4 negotiation studies supported our predictions. In Study 1, angry East Asian negotiators elicited greater cooperation than angry European American and Hispanic negotiators. In Study 2, angry East Asian negotiators elicited greater cooperation than angry European American ones, but emotionally neutral East Asian and European American negotiators elicited the same level of cooperation. Study 3 showed that this effect holds for both East Asian and European American perceivers and that it is mediated by angry East Asian negotiators being perceived as tougher and more threatening than angry European American negotiators. Finally, Study 4 demonstrated that the effect emerges only when negotiators hold the stereotype of East Asians being emotionally inexpressive and European Americans being emotionally expressive. We discuss implications for our understanding of culture, emotions, and negotiations.

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