Religious belief and international business negotiations: Does faith influence negotiator behaviour?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Business Review, 2018, 27 (2), pp. 401 - 409
Issue Date:
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© 2017 Elsevier Ltd Religious observance is widespread and continues to influence managerial behaviour in many parts of the world. However, its role in international business negotiations has not received much scholarly attention. This study explores some of the key ways in which religious belief shapes negotiation behaviour. Focusing specifically on the Islamic context, and drawing on interviews with 27 religiously observant Muslim managers in Malaysia, the study found that commitment to a common religion among negotiators positively influenced certain components of the negotiation process through, for example, the use of religious/emotional appeal, which emphasised their 'spiritual camaraderie’. In some instances, however, we observed something of a paradox, whereby differing religious beliefs among negotiating counterparts were claimed to actually enhance, rather than hinder, negotiations.
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