Perceptions of time and their impact on negotiations in the Arabic-speaking Islamic world

Ilai Alon*, Jeanne M. Brett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


This article examines how perceptions of time affect Arabic-speaking Islamic negotiators and how their attitudes about time, and their corresponding behaviors, may differ from those of their Western counterparts. We begin by identifying cultural differences in the conceptualization of time and then comment on the role of time in negotiations, discussing how time influences bargaining, trust, and negotiation tactics. In the section on tactics, we discuss stall-and-delay tactics, the use of the past as an objective standard, and limits on negotiating the future. Our purpose is to encourage negotiators from the West to be knowledgeable about the way they, as well as negotiators from Arabic-speaking Islamic cultures, conceive of and use time in negotiations. We believe that understanding that the very concept of time is often quite different in these two cultures is an important step in facilitating negotiations that cross these cultural boundaries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-73
Number of pages19
JournalNegotiation Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Arabic-speaking Islamic culture
  • Culture
  • Negotiation
  • Time
  • Western culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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