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The “Great Satan” talks with the “Evil”: A cross cultural analysis of the American‐Iranian communication/negotiation styles

Hamid Yeganeh (College of Business, Winona State University, Winona, Minnesota, USA)

International Journal of Conflict Management

ISSN: 1044-4068

Article publication date: 5 July 2011




This article aims to analyze the Iranian and American national cultures and to discuss the implications of cultural differences for communication/negotiation styles.


First, the concept of culture is framed and an integrative model of cultural analysis is constructed. Then, building on the extant literature and secondary data, the various traits of American and Iranian national cultures are analyzed and the implications for communication/negotiation are discussed.


It is found that Iran and America portray dissimilar and somewhat opposed cultural orientations that might create substantial obstacles to their bilateral communications/negotiations. Recommendations for more effective communications/negotiations are provided and avenues for future research are pointed out.

Research limitations/implications

Both Iran and the USA are diverse societies and obviously cannot be considered as monolithic cultures. Moreover, any generalization about the national culture is inherently approximate and does not take into account the intra‐country variations. Another major limitation of this study is that it considers culture as static and unchangeable, however, every culture is in constant transformation.

Practical implications

By bringing insights into the American and Iranian cultures, this study provides a better understanding of cross cultural differences and thus it may lead to effective bilateral communications/negotiations.


While this paper provides valuable insights into the Iranian‐American communication patterns, its main originality resides in offering a cross cultural approach to understanding international affairs. Moreover, the results can be extrapolated to other similar situations when Eastern/Islamic and Western cultures are involved.



Yeganeh, H. (2011), "The “Great Satan” talks with the “Evil”: A cross cultural analysis of the American‐Iranian communication/negotiation styles", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 219-238.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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