The ethical profile of global marketing negotiators



As international trade and business opportunities grow globally, insight into trading partners’ strategies is essential. One of the major strategies that impact trading partners’ relationships is negotiation strategy employed by each partner. These strategies assume even greater importance when these strategies have ethical content. This study examines the effects of marketing executives’ preferred ethical ideologies (relativism and idealism), opportunism and Machiavellianism on their perceived appropriateness of unethical negotiation tactics. Utilizing a sample of 995 marketing executives from six countries, cluster analysis and multivariate analysis of variance revealed two types of marketing negotiators: principled and corrupt negotiators. Corrupt negotiators tend to be more Machiavellian, more relativist, more opportunistic and less idealistic than their principled counterparts. Principled negotiators tend to perceive unethical negotiation tactics less favorably than their corrupt counterparts. Implications of these results for practitioners and directions for future research are discussed.