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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The Pros and Cons of Back-Channel Negotiations

PON Staff   •  12/01/2020   •  Filed in International Negotiation

The Pros and Cons of Back-Channel Negotiations

Back-channel negotiations provide temporary protection from deal spoilers and public scrutiny.

Back-channel negotiations have been used in numerous conflicts across the globe, including the Israeli-Palestinian peace process from 1994 to 1996 and the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979–1980. In 1985, the imprisoned Nelson Mandela conducted back-channel negotiations with South Africa’s minister of justice, Hendrik Jacobus Coetsee, … Read More 

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

Katie Shonk   •  11/30/2020   •  Filed in International Negotiation

negotiate

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 

How to Solve Intercultural Conflict

Katie Shonk   •  11/09/2020   •  Filed in International Negotiation

how to solve intercultural conflict

The question of how to solve intercultural conflict is one of the most difficult ones facing negotiators. Misunderstandings and disputes caused by cultural differences can further complicate already challenging negotiations, whether you are doing business at home, abroad, or online. The following guidelines can help us achieve better results in cross-cultural communication and negotiation.
1. Jump-Start … Read More 

Negotiation Case Studies: The Bangladesh Factory-Safety Agreements

Katie Shonk   •  09/29/2020   •  Filed in International Negotiation

negotiation case studies

We can learn a lot from negotiation case studies. On April 24, 2013 an eight-story building in Bangladesh known as Rana Plaza collapsed, killing an estimated 1,129 people, many of them low-wage garment workers who made goods for foreign companies.
In the weeks after the disaster, apparel outsourcers faced mounting public pressure to address hazardous conditions … Read More 

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

PON Staff   •  09/28/2020   •  Filed in International Negotiation

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 

Cross Cultural Communication: Translation and Negotiation

PON Staff   •  09/22/2020   •  Filed in International Negotiation

cross cultural

In previous international negotiation articles from cross cultural negotiation case studies, we have focused on how international negotiators can avoid cognitive biases and overcome cultural barriers. But how do negotiators dealing with counterparts that speak another language modify their negotiation techniques to accommodate for the lack of a common language? … Read More 

How to Overcome Cultural Barriers in Negotiation

PON Staff   •  09/15/2020   •  Filed in International Negotiation

overcome cultural barriers in negotiation

Imagine that you’re the American representative of a U.S. food company, and you’re hoping to procure a new ingredient for several of your products from a German company. A representative from the company is flying in to meet with you. Do you expect your German counterpart to behave differently than the Americans you typically deal … Read More 

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