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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Best Negotiators in History: Nelson Mandela and His Negotiation Style

Susan Hackley   •  05/29/2017   •  Filed in International Negotiation

Best Negotiators in History: Nelson Mandela and His Negotiation Style

The late Nelson Mandela will certainly be remembered as one of the best negotiators in history. He was clearly “the greatest negotiator of the twentieth century,” wrote Harvard Law School professor and Program on Negotiation Chairman Robert H. Mnookin in his seminal book, Bargaining with the Devil, When to Negotiate, When to Fight. … Read More 

The Negotiation Process in China

PON Staff   •  05/23/2017   •  Filed in International Negotiation

negotiation process

With its booming economy and growing international consumer influence, the role of negotiation in international business is more important than ever and negotiation skills appropriate for China are in high-demand. Here are a few negotiation tips to help you successfully navigate your next round of business negotiations in China. … Read More 

A Crisis Negotiations Case Study: Chen Guangcheng, the United States, China, and Diplomatic Negotiations

PON Staff   •  05/16/2017   •  Filed in International Negotiation

A Crisis Negotiations Case Study: Chen Guangcheng, the United States, China, and Diplomatic Negotiations

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s indirect approach to diplomatic negotiations with the People’s Republic of China over political dissdent Chen Guangcheng demonstrates the power of adaptability at the bargaining table, especially when dealing with a counterpart from a different culture or who may speak a different language. … Read More 

International Negotiations and Cognitive Biases in Negotiation

PON Staff   •  05/02/2017   •  Filed in International Negotiation

International Negotiations and Cognitive Biases in Negotiation

In discussing international negotiations and cognitive biases in negotiation, professor Cheryl Rivers of Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, highlights in a negotiation research literature review, seasoned negotiators often hear stories about the unethical behaviors of people of other nationalities. Perhaps the toughest problems arise surrounding what Rivers calls “ethically ambiguous” negotiation tactics and … Read More 

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

PON Staff   •  05/01/2017   •  Filed in International Negotiation

diplomatic negotiations

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 

International Negotiations and Agenda Setting: Controlling the Flow of the Negotiation Process

Katie Shonk   •  04/11/2017   •  Filed in International Negotiation

international negotiations and agenda setting

When two groups are embroiled in a conflict, it is common for the party with less power to have difficulty convincing the more powerful party to sit down at the negotiating table in international negotiations. Think of a labor union that wants to convince company management to agree to pay increases. In such cases, the … Read More 

A Discussion with Frank Sander about the Multi-Door Courthouse Concept

PON Staff   •  04/06/2017   •  Filed in International Negotiation

A Discussion with Frank Sander about the Multi-Door Courthouse Concept

As a collaboration between UST School of Law and the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, the following is the transcript of a conversation between the creator of the multi-door courthouse, Harvard Law Professor Frank E.A. Sander, and the executive director and founder of the University of St. Thomas (UST) International ADR [Alternative Dispute … Read More 

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