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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Managing Cultural Differences in Negotiation

Amanda MacArthur   •  10/29/2019   •  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 More 

How to Overcome Cultural Barriers in Negotiation

PON Staff   •  10/10/2019   •  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 

Diplomacy and Negotiation Skills Fall Short In U.S.-China Trade Talks

Katie Shonk   •  10/07/2019   •  Filed in International Negotiation

diplomacy and negotiation skills

Among the many diplomacy and negotiation skills required in international negotiation, business negotiators need to be able to size each other up accurately, taking into account cultural, organizational, and other differences. To capitalize on the benefits of diplomacy, they also need to be able to present a united front. Those diplomacy and negotiation skills came … Read More 

Negotiation Case Studies: The Bangladesh Factory-Safety Agreements

Katie Shonk   •  09/24/2019   •  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 

International Negotiation Strategies

Katie Shonk   •  09/16/2019   •  Filed in International Negotiation

international negotiation strategies

Negotiation researchers have reached many fascinating discoveries about how people negotiate, such as uncovering flaws in our decision making and identifying useful persuasion techniques. But a great deal of this research has been conducted in Western cultures, and particularly the United States, leaving open the question of whether the results—and the advice they inspire—apply across … Read More 

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