When context trumps culture: Persuasion in international business disputes

Nurit Zaidman, Rinat Itzhaki, Oded Shenkar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Persuasion plays an important role in international business interactions. Within this domain, it is often argued that persuasion is a form of communication and as such embedded in cultural norms. It is also argued that forms of persuasion differ across cultures. The data described in this study of persuasive tactics deployed by Israeli and Indian business professionals in their attempts to resolve disputes with their partners suggest otherwise. These data mainly comprise 142 coded letters, addressed to the correspondents’ business partner and to the mediator. The quantitative results of the study show similarities in the choice of persuasive tactics employed by Israeli and Indian correspondents, when writing to each other and when writing to the mediator. The quantitative and qualitative results show that these research subjects, from two culturally different populations, constructed their persuasion tactics and communication in a similar manner. Hence, despite the apparent cultural and communication differences between them, they both employed similar communication tactics. These intriguing data are explained in the light of the fact that both Indian and Israeli subjects were experiencing a situation which they subjectively perceived as one involving a threat of meaningful loss. These perceptions and emotional responses led the participants toward similar communication behavior. This study contributes to international management research, and particularly to intercultural communication research, by demonstrating that contextual conditions do cause culturally different populations to communicate similarly.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)271-292
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Cross Cultural Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • Communication
  • context
  • culture
  • persuasion
  • situation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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