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:

  1. Research your counterpart’s background and experience.
  2. Enlist an adviser from your counterpart’s culture.
  3. 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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Government Negotiations: The Brittney Griner Case

Katie Shonk   •  04/11/2024   •  Filed in International Negotiation

government negotiations

In February 2022, Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) star Brittney Griner was arrested in Russia, where she plays for a professional basketball team during the WNBA offseason, after being accused of bringing vape cartridges with cannabis oil into the country. She faces 10 years imprisonment in a Russian penal colony. Given the extreme tensions between … Read Government Negotiations: The Brittney Griner Case

The Pros and Cons of Back-Channel Negotiations

PON Staff   •  04/02/2024   •  Filed in International Negotiation

The Pros and Cons of Back-Channel Negotiations

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, that laid the groundwork for the end of the apartheid … Read The Pros and Cons of Back-Channel Negotiations

Managing Cultural Differences in Negotiation

PON Staff   •  03/28/2024   •  Filed in International Negotiation

managing cultural differences

It’s important to educate yourself about your counterpart’s culture so that you don’t risk offending her or seeming unprepared. At the same time, it would be a mistake to focus too narrowly when preparing for cross-cultural communication in business. Research on international negotiation can help us think more broadly when it comes to managing cultural … Read Managing Cultural Differences in Negotiation

Best Negotiators in History: Nelson Mandela and His Negotiation Style

PON Staff   •  02/26/2024   •  Filed in International Negotiation

best negotiators in history nelson mandela

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 former Program on Negotiation Chairman Robert H. Mnookin in his seminal book, Bargaining with the Devil, When to Negotiate, When to Fight. … Learn More About This Program

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