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.

When Negotiations Go Down to the Wire

PON Staff   •  06/09/2015   •  Filed in International Negotiation

From the start, the negotiations were precarious. In late 2013, Iran agreed to temporarily freeze portions of its nuclear program and to negotiate a more comprehensive nuclear dismantlement with the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany, and Great Britain in exchange for reduced economic sanctions. The negotiations proceeded in fits and starts over the next … Read More 

Stop outsiders from sabotaging your deal

PON Staff   •  05/05/2015   •  Filed in International Negotiation

A deal had been a long time coming. Back in November 2013, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear enrichment program in exchange for lighter economic sanctions from Western nations. To hammer out the details, Iran entered into talks with six nations: China, Russia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Eventually, the talks … Read More 

Fostering Cultural Intelligence in International Negotiations

PON Staff   •  03/16/2015   •  Filed in International Negotiation

In a Harvard Business Review article, P. Christopher Earley and Elaine Mosakowski describe the value of improving your cultural intelligence, or the ability to make sense of unfamiliar contexts and adapt to them. Some people are naturally skilled at determining whether a person’s behavior is unique to him or determined by his culture. For others, … Read More 

Responding to the Conflict in Syria: An Insider’s Perspective

PON Staff   •  01/21/2015   •  Filed in Events, International Negotiation

The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School
and the Herbert C. Kelman Seminar on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution
are pleased to co-present:

Responding to the Conflict in Syria:
An Insider’s Perspective


Dr. Amro Taleb

Wednesday, January 28
12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
Wasserstein Hall Room B10 (Basement Level)
Harvard Law School campus
About the Speaker:

Dr. Amro Taleb is a Syrian and Canadian citizen … Read More 

Centrism in the Middle East: Myth or Method

PON Staff   •  11/14/2014   •  Filed in Events, International Negotiation

The Harvard International Negotiation Program, the Harvard Global Health Institute and the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School are pleased to co-present:

Centrism in the Middle East:
Myth or Method
Distinguished Lecture by

Najib A. Mikati
former Prime Minister of Lebanon
with opening remarks by

Daniel L. Shapiro
Founder and Director, Harvard International Negotiation Program

Monday, November 24
12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
Austin Hall, Room … Read More