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

PON Staff   •  07/18/2017   •  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 

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

Katie Shonk   •  07/13/2017   •  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 

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

PON Staff   •  07/10/2017   •  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   •  07/10/2017   •  Filed in International Negotiation

overcoming-cultural-barriers-in-negotiation-how-to-launch-more-productive-cross-cultural-negotiations_

Back 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. A negotiation that was urging Russian president Vladimir Putin to retreat, Western leaders desperately searched for a way to help him “save face.”

It was a … Read More 

Bruce Allen’s Essay on Dealing with Russians and Unintended Nuclear War

PON Staff   •  06/23/2017   •  Filed in International Negotiation

An article was published today about how to negotiate with the Russians, a product of the Harvard Negotiation Project on “Negotiating with Putin,”  featured in the July/August 2017 print version of The National Interest under the headline “Russian to Judgment.”  
It was also released today as the lead essay in the online edition at nationalinterest.org  (The accompanying … Read More 

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

Katie Shonk   •  06/06/2017   •  Filed in International Negotiation

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

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 

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