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.

Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Muslim Brotherhood – Obstacles to Peace in the Middle East or Opportunities?

PON Staff   •  02/12/2011   •  Filed in Daily, Events, International Negotiation

“Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Muslim Brotherhood-
Obstacles to Peace in the Middle East or Opportunities?”

Robert Pastor
Date: February 15, 2011

Time: 12:00PM to 1:30PM
Where: Pound Hall, Room 202, Harvard Law School Campus
The foreign policy of the United States and its allies have been based on the premise that all three organizations are immutable threats to … Read More 

Norwegian Foreign Minister visits PON

PON Staff   •  12/16/2010   •  Filed in Daily, International Negotiation

On December 6, 2010, faculty and associates from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School met at a private lunch with Norway’s Foreign Minister, Jonas Gahr Store, and the ambassador of Norway to the U.S., Wegger Chr. Strommen. At the meeting, the Foreign Minister described how he helped bring decades of negotiation with the … Read More 

New PON Teaching Materials About the Work of Martti Ahtisaari, 2010 Great Negotiator Award Recipient

PON Staff   •  12/09/2010   •  Filed in Daily, International Negotiation, Negotiation Skills, Pedagogy at PON

The Program on Negotiation’s 2010 Great Negotiator Award was given to former Finnish President, Martti Ahtisaari, for his many significant achievements in the fields of negotiation and diplomacy. He was central to the Namibian independence negotiations in the late 1980s. He also served as chief United Nations negotiator to Kosovo from 2005-2006, and was instrumental … Read More 

The Kosovo Model for Mideast Peace

PON Staff   •  11/18/2010   •  Filed in Daily, International Negotiation

Nir Eisikovits (director of  Suffolk University’s Graduate Program in Ethics and Public Policy) and Ehud Eiran (associate at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School)

“Once Israelis and Palestinians start talking to each other again, all parties may need to find a new way of thinking about what these fragile negotiations … Read More 

The Big Question

PON Staff   •  11/07/2010   •  Filed in Daily, Events, International Negotiation, PON Film Series

A troubled man bursts into your child’s schoolhouse. Without warning, he chases out all the boys and lines the girls up. Then he begins to shoot them one by one. For decades your people’s backs have been broken by the oppressive yoke of Apartheid. Suddenly, the tables are turned and you and your friends are … Read More 

Leadership and Cooperation: A Special Lecture by Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago

PON Staff   •  11/05/2010   •  Filed in Daily, Events, International Negotiation, Student Events, Students

Leadership and Cooperation: A Special Lecture by Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago

Date: November 9, 2010, 5:00 pm-6:30 pm
Location: Austin East, Harvard Law School campus

On May 26, 2010, Kamla Persad-Bissessar made history when she was sworn in as the first female Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago. She was recently named one … Read More 

To Reflect and Trust

PON Staff   •  10/22/2010   •  Filed in Daily, International Negotiation

Eileen Babbitt (Professor of International Conflict Management Practice at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University)

Building consensus and sharpening problem solving skills should be part of every negotiation. Some divisions between groups are so emotionally fraught, however, that the facilitators need enhanced training first. In this interview, Eileen Babbitt discusses a “to reflect … Read More 

Free Report on International Negotiations Now Available

PON Staff   •  10/21/2010   •  Filed in Daily, International Negotiation

In this Special Report, we offer expert advice from the Negotiation newsletter to help you in international negotiations. You will learn to:

Cope with culture clashes.
Weigh culture against other important factors.
Prepare for possible cultural barriers.
Deal with translators.
Avoid ethical stereotypes.
Consider the team approach.

To download the report, click here or on the … Read More