IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Tension and trust in international business negotiations: American executives negotiating with Chinese executives


  • Kam-hon Lee

    (Faculty of Business Administration, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong SAR, China)

  • Guang Yang

    (Faculty of Marketing, Bryant University, Smithfield, RI, USA)

  • John L Graham

    (Paul Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA)


The purpose of the study is to shed light on the antecedents and consequences of tension felt during international business negotiations. A total of 176 American and Chinese executives participated in simulated international business (buyer–seller) negotiations. The negotiations were videotaped, and the participants completed questionnaires. Each participant was also asked to review his/her videotaped negotiation, rate the tension felt on a videotape review form, and briefly describe the antecedents of the tension felt. The data collected were then analyzed using first a structural equations approach and then a more exploratory content analysis. Both Chinese and American executives felt tension during the negotiations. For the Chinese, greater levels of tension led to an increased likelihood of agreement, but also led to lower levels of interpersonal attraction and in turn lower trust for their American counterparts. For the Americans, tension felt decreased marginally the likelihood of an agreement, did not affect interpersonal attraction, but did have a direct negative effect on trust. A series of other cultural differences are also reported. The measure of tension felt developed in the study appears to be useful methodologically, theoretically, and practically. Journal of International Business Studies (2006) 37, 623–641. doi:10.1057/palgrave.jibs.8400215

Suggested Citation

  • Kam-hon Lee & Guang Yang & John L Graham, 2006. "Tension and trust in international business negotiations: American executives negotiating with Chinese executives," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 37(5), pages 623-641, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:jintbs:v:37:y:2006:i:5:p:623-641

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Link to full text PDF
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    File URL:
    File Function: Link to full text HTML
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Buckley, Peter J. & Cross, Adam & De Mattos, Claudio, 2015. "The principle of congruity in the analysis of international business cooperation," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 1048-1060.
    2. Ahammad, Mohammad Faisal & Tarba, Shlomo Y. & Liu, Yipeng & Glaister, Keith W. & Cooper, Cary L., 2016. "Exploring the factors influencing the negotiation process in cross-border M&A," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 445-457.
    3. repec:eee:worbus:v:53:y:2018:i:2:p:280-289 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Tony W. Tong & Jeffrey J. Reuer & Beverly B. Tyler & Shujun Zhang, 2015. "Host country executives' assessments of international joint ventures and divestitures: An experimental approach," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(2), pages 254-275, February.
    5. Lumineau, Fabrice & Henderson, James, 2012. "The influence of relational experience and contractual governance on the negotiation strategy in buyer-supplier disputes," MPRA Paper 38510, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. repec:spr:grdene:v:24:y:2015:i:3:d:10.1007_s10726-014-9420-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:kap:jbuset:v:151:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s10551-016-3236-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Jitka Odehnalová, 2009. "The Nature of Chinese Business Negotiation Behaviour: A Battlefield or a Gentlemen's Club?," Acta Oeconomica Pragensia, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2009(6), pages 52-62.
    9. repec:eee:iburev:v:26:y:2017:i:5:p:881-895 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Lau, Victor P. & Dimitrova, Mihaela N. & Shaffer, Margaret A. & Davidkov, Tzvetan & Yordanova, Desislava I., 2012. "Entrepreneurial Readiness and Firm Growth: An Integrated Etic and Emic Approach," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 147-159.
    11. repec:eee:touman:v:35:y:2013:i:c:p:132-143 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Pia Hurmelinna-Laukkanen & Kwadwo Atta-Owusu & Eeva-Liisa Oikarinen, 2016. "You Are Joking, Right? — Connecting Humour Types To Innovative Behaviour And Innovation Output," International Journal of Innovation Management (ijim), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 20(08), pages 1-22, December.
    13. repec:eee:iburev:v:27:y:2018:i:2:p:401-409 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Chan, Sow Hup & Ng, Tsz Shing, 2016. "Ethical negotiation values of Chinese negotiators," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 823-830.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pal:jintbs:v:37:y:2006:i:5:p:623-641. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Andrew Huffard) The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Andrew Huffard to update the entry or send us the correct email address. General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.