Intercultural Assessment of Collaboration in Teams and in Ongoing Negotiations

Experimental Thrust I

Team Leaders: Michele Gelfand and Paul Hanges, University of Maryland

Experimental Thrust I is developing culture theory and doing research to understand questions such as: What are the relevant core focal concerns in the Middle East including honor (sharaf; irdh), shame (hashham), faith (Imam), connections (wasta), communication (mubalagha)? How do these focal concerns vary across different demographic and regional groups? How we model cultural stability and change in the region? Research in this thrust is also aimed at advancing new methodologies and theoretical approaches to study culture.

Research in Experimental Thrust I is using qualitative interviews, surveys, dynamical modeling, and laboratory experiments.

It includes projects in progress on:

  • An Analysis of Subjective Culture in the Middle East: Conceptualizations of Conflict, Collaboration, and Negotiation (Lead investigator: Michele Gelfand with the MURI team).
  • The Development of the Honor, Dignity, and Face (HDF) Scale (Lead investigator: Laura Severance)
  • Understanding Culture as Affordances and Constraints (Lead investigator: Michele Gelfand)
  • Understanding the Culture-Personality Link (Lead investigator: Arie Kruglanski)
  • An Analysis of Subjective Culture in Western Europe: Conceptualizations of Conflict, Collaboration, and Negotiation (Lead investigator: Shawn Burke with Col Bob Tomasovic)

Experimental Thrust II

Team Leaders: Iris Bohnet, Harvard University, and Michele Gelfand, University of Maryland

Research in Experimental Thrust II is examining dynamic effects of culture in deal-making negotiations as well as disputes. Researchers in Thrust II are examining questions such as: How does culture influence the willingness to trust and cooperate in negotiations and disputes? What factors lead to competitive and destructive processes in negotiations and disputes across different cultures? How can trust and cooperative processes be restored once violated? We are examining mediating processes through which culture exerts effects in negotiations and disputes, including cultural differences in micro-processes such as goals, perceptions, emotions, and communication strategies, as well as cultural differences in micro-structural environments (e.g., the structure of social networks). This working group takes a dynamic approach to culture and negotiation, and is developing a typology of individual and situational factors that amplify, suppress, and dramatically reverse cultural differences (Gelfand, Leslie, & Fehr, 2008), including factors such as threat, power, uncertainty, social distance, external monitoring, cultural intelligence, and the relative importance of culture, as compared to individual differences and other demographic variables (e.g., gender), in shaping negotiations and disputes. Research in this group will ultimately help to identify the factors that will facilitate intercultural negotiation effectiveness.

Research in Experimental Thrust II is using abstract games (e.g., ultimatum games, trust games, risky dictator games), negotiation simulations, cognitive mapping, and surveys; is measuring multiple processes and outcomes; and is manipulating multiple features of the environment.

It includes projects in progress on:

  • Vulnerability and Trust: Experimental Evidence from Jordan (Lead investigator: Iris Bohnet)
  • Fostering Trust: Changing the Game You Play in Oman, the United States and Vietnam (Lead investigator: Iris Bohnet)
  • Insurance and Punishment in Saudi Arabia and the United States (Lead investigator: Iris Bohnet)
  • Self and Other-Oriented Emotions in Negotiation: The Influence of Anger, Shame, Pride, and Sympathy in Negotiations Across Cultures (Lead investigator: Michele Gelfand).
  • Getting to Yes: Expressive versus Instrumental Communication in Negotiations in the U.S. and Middle East (Lead investigator: Michele Gelfand)
  • Culture and Blacksheep Effects: Factors affecting Ingroup versus Outgroup Punishment in Honor, Dignity, and Face cultures (Lead investigator: Xiaoyan Chen)
  • Culture and Temporal Discounting: Implications for Negotiations and Disputes (Lead investigator: Michele Gelfand)
  • Cultural Intelligence and Intercultural Negotiation Effectiveness (Lead investigator: Lynn Imai)
  • The Antecedents of Forgiveness: A Meta-Analysis (Lead investigator: Ryan Fehr)

Experimental Thrust III

Team Leaders: Eduardo Salas and Shawn Burke, University of Central Florida.

Research in Experimental Thrust III is examining dynamic effects of culture on collaboration within targeted Middle Eastern and NATO countries. Work within this experimental thrust investigates a mix of collaborative tasks (i.e., planning, decision making, and performance) and the effect that culture has on the collaborative processes that lead to effective performance. In many ways work within this thrust parallels that of Thrust II but the primary focus here is on collaboration as compared to negotiation. With regard to within and cross-cultural collaboration the impact of culture on basic psychological processes and collaborative processes (e.g., mutual performance monitoring, back-up behavior, communication, and leadership) are being examined. The influence of situational characteristics (e.g., the presence and influence of cultural artifacts, time pressure, level of uncertainty) and the manner in which they amplify, ameliorate, and drastically reverse cultural effects on collaboration processes is also a focus within this line of experimentation.

Research in Experimental Thrust III is using methodologies such as collaborative simulations (e.g., COTS, synthetic task environments, and potentially MMOG), surveys, policy capturing, qualitative interviews, knowledge elicitation techniques (e.g., card sorts, paired comparisons, cognitive mapping), and behavioral observations. The exact combination of methodologies used will be dependent on particular research questions.

It includes projects in progress on:

  • An Examination Of The Meaning Of Collaboration Across Targeted Cultures (Lead investigator: Shawn Burke)
  • Identification Of A Set Of Meta Cultural Competencies (Lead investigator: Eduardo Salas)
  • The Use of Gaming As An Avenue Through Which To Examine Culture (Lead investigator: Shawn Burke)
  • Culture And Its Impact On Cognitive Collaborative Processes and States (Lead investigator: Eduardo Salas)

Experimental Thrust IV:

Team Leaders: Sarit Kraus, University of Maryland and Bar Ilon University; Peter Coleman, Columbia University; and Paul Hanges, University of Maryland.

Research in Experimental Thrust IV is examining how dynamical modeling, agent based modeling, and neural networks can help develop to understand culture and negotiations and collaboration. Traditional approaches to negotiations and collaborations fail to situate specific cause-and-effect relationships within broader temporal dynamics (Vallacher, Read and Nowak, 2002). As an alternative, researchers in Project InterACTION are using dynamical-systems models to examine cultural dynamics as they unfold overtime, and specifying non-linear dynamics that go often go undetected. Agent based modeling is being used to study cultural differences in negotiation behavior and to develop culturally intelligent agents. Neural network modeling is also being used to computational models of culture and negotiation and collaboration.

It includes projects in progress on:

  • Using Agents as Standardized Opponents in Cross-Cultural Negotiations: An Example from Color Trails (Lead investigator: Sarit Kraus)
  • The Development of a Dynamic Measurement Tool to Study Culture and Conflict Escalation (Lead investigator: Lan Bui-Wrzosinska)
  • Dynamical Modeling of Trust Processes: Trust Building, Dissolution, and Recovery (Lead investigator: Ashley Fulmer)
  • Negotiating Agents by Design: Using the Strategy Method to Examine Cultural Differences in Negotiations (Lead investigators Sarit Kraus)
  • Modeling Culture and Social Influence Processes (Lead investigator: Andrzej Nowak)