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.

PON Graduate Research Fellow Vera Mironova Published by Foreign Policy

PON Staff   •  10/03/2014   •  Filed in International Negotiation

Every year, the Program on Negotiation (PON) honors distinguished scholars with a Graduate Research Fellowship that provides support for one year of dissertation research and writing in negotiation and related topics in alternative dispute resolution. These grants promote negotiation research and are awarded to candidates in the social sciences and professional disciplines who are currently … Read More 

Negotiating the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Track Two Diplomacy in the Past, Present and Future

PON Staff   •  09/02/2014   •  Filed in Daily, Events, International Negotiation, Middle East Negotiation Initiatives, Videos

The Middle East Negotiation Initiative at the Program on Negotiation is pleased to present a public talk by Dr. Yair Hirschfeld on September 19th. Dr. Hirschfeld, who is best known as the “architect of the Oslo Process,” will discuss the history of Track II diplomacy efforts in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and analyze recent developments in … Read More 

In Tense International Negotiations, Secrecy and Neutrality Can Be Key

PON Staff   •  08/19/2014   •  Filed in International Negotiation

It was a grim and tense backdrop for negotiation. After Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was senselessly shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, pro-Russian separatists faced intense international pressure to answer for the tragedy and to speed up their transfer of human remains and the plane’s black boxes out of the conflict zone.

The … Read More 

In International Negotiations, Memories of “Mr. Yes”

Katie Shonk   •  07/22/2014   •  Filed in International Negotiation

On July 7, Eduard Shevardnadze, foreign minister to Mikhail Gorbachev and a driving force behind the perestroika era in Russia, died in his native Georgia at the age of 86.
In June 1985, Shevardnadze—then a lifelong Communist official with no diplomatic experience—was reportedly taken aback when his old friend Gorbachev asked him to take charge of … Read More 

Crisis Negotiations: Program on Negotiation Chair Robert Mnookin Joins Guest Panel on CNN Tonight to Discuss the Release of Bowe Bergdahl

PON Staff   •  06/13/2014   •  Filed in International Negotiation

CNN Tonight host Dan Lemon recently featured Program on Negotiation Chair Robert Mnookin along with fellow Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, storied commentator Anne Coulter, and Peter Bergen, CNN national security analyst, for a panel discussion regarding the recent exchange of Taliban prisoner for US soldier, Bowe Bergdahl.

The night’s discussion centered on whether or … Read More 

The Lessons of Diplomacy

Max Bazerman   •  06/05/2014   •  Filed in International Negotiation

Max Bazerman has had extensive experience teaching corporation’s executive negotiation courses. In addition to the faculty and students, some of his sessions have been attended by high level former diplomats who had worked on cases discussed in class. The diplomats were invited, where appropriate, to provide insight into local customs, changing politics, and business norms. … Read More 

Program on Negotiation to honor Ambassador Tommy Koh as 2014 Great Negotiator

PON Staff   •  04/10/2014   •  Filed in International Negotiation

Join us for a conversation with Ambassador Tommy Koh of Singapore, the recipient of the 2014 Great Negotiator Award. This public program will feature panel discussions with Ambassador Koh and faculty from the Program on Negotiation and the Future of Diplomacy Project. The award recognizes Ambassador Koh for his work as chief negotiator for the … Read More