International Negotiation

International negotiation requires the ability to meet special challenges and deal with the unknown. Even those experienced in cross-cultural communication can sometimes work against their own best interests during international negotiations. Skilled business negotiators know how to analyze each situation, set up negotiations in ways that are advantageous for their side, cope with cultural differences, deal with foreign bureaucracies, and manage the international negotiation process to reach a deal.

The Program on Negotiation notes that in any international negotiation, several critical tactics should be considered:

  • Research your counterpart’s background and experience.
  • Enlist an adviser from your counterpart’s culture.
  • Pay close attention to unfolding negotiation dynamics.

Researchers have confirmed a relationship between national culture and negotiation style and success. An ongoing project sponsored by Northwestern University’s Dispute Resolution Research Center is exploring the link between process and outcomes—specifically, how cultural tendencies lead to certain process choices, which, in turn, can lead to better or worse negotiation results.

For example, while conventional wisdom tends to hold that there’s strength in numbers, some cultures may dislike being faced with a sizeable negotiating team, poisoning the negotiations right from the start.

At the same time, diplomatic negotiations, such as those between the U.S. and Iran over nuclear capabilities, can be quite different from business negotiations. For example, it’s critical to maintain a reputation for impartiality, and to be aware how your international goals potentially interact and contradict, so you can establish a consistent stance in your relations with groups you are trying to woo.

Finally, due to the enormous influence of China in today’s world markets, PON offers numerous insights into Chinese negotiation styles, which include a strong emphasis on relationships, a lack of interest in ironclad contracts, a slow dealmaking process and widespread opportunism.

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Diplomatic Negotiations: The Surprising Benefits of Conflict and Teamwork at the Negotiation Table

PON Staff   •  01/19/2017   •  Filed in International Negotiation

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As the US presidential primary season heats up for both parties, it helps to take a look back at the 2008 US presidential election and the win-win coalition forged between Barack Obama and his then-rival, Hillary Clinton. As this example demonstrates, if carefully managed, disagreements can lead to better results than you might expect. … Read More 

How to Negotiate with Difficult People: International Negotiation, and a Refusal to Communicate

Katie Shonk   •  01/10/2017   •  Filed in International Negotiation

Global Communication

Business negotiators sometimes face the difficult question of whether to negotiate with someone they believe to be immoral, untrustworthy, or otherwise undesirable as a negotiating partner. In his book Bargaining with the Devil: When to Negotiate, When to Fight (Simon & Schuster, 2011), Program on Negotiation chair Robert Mnookin offers negotiation advice on the complex … Read More 

Closing the Deal in Negotiations

Katie Shonk   •  12/29/2016   •  Filed in International Negotiation

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In dealmaking, we typically devote significant time to trying to convince a counterpart of the logic and appeal of our proposals. But sometimes our role becomes a more defensive one, as our negotiation behaviors focus on trying to dissuade others from pursuing a route that we believe could be disastrous.

That was the task outgoing United … Read More 

Diplomatic Negotiations to Build a Winning Coalition to Negotiate with Iran

Keith Lutz   •  12/27/2016   •  Filed in International Negotiation

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The five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany were able to arrive at a negotiated agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran to curtail its nuclear weapons development program. Read this article to find out what diplomatic negotiation strategies were employed by the representatives from the bargaining countries and how they impacted … Read More 

Overcoming Cultural Barriers in Negotiations and the Importance of Communication in International Business Deals

PON Staff   •  12/13/2016   •  Filed in International Negotiation

the importance of communication in international business overcoming cultural barriers in dealmaking negotiations

Communication in negotiation scenarios is the means by which negotiators achieve objectives, build relationships, and resolve disputes. Communication becomes even more important when negotiating counterparts are from different cultures. The following question was posed to our Negotiation newsletter editorial board and Program on Negotiation faculty member Jeswald Salacuse offers his insights. … Read More 

How to Overcome Cross Cultural Barriers in Negotiation

Katie Shonk   •  12/06/2016   •  Filed in International Negotiation

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On February 28, 2014, Russian troops swarmed into Crimea following violent clashes between protesters and police in Kiev, Ukraine, and Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych’s abrupt departure from the country. Urging Russian president Vladimir Putin to retreat, Western leaders desperately searched for a way to help him “save face.”

It was a daunting task. Having made an … Read More 

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