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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Negotiation Analysis: The US, Taliban, and the Bergdahl Exchange

PON Staff   •  11/29/2022   •  Filed in International Negotiation

Negotiation Analysis

The exchange between the United States and the Taliban of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban leaders held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, represented the first public prisoner exchange of a US soldier in the thirteen year US involvement in Afghanistan. The background of the deal including how Private First Class Bergdahl (promoted twice to Sergeant … Learn More About This Program 

Unlocking Cross-Cultural Differences in Negotiation

PON Staff   •  09/29/2022   •  Filed in International Negotiation

cultural differences in negotiation

Cross-cultural differences in negotiation can be particularly challenging. When people from different cultures negotiate, they often feel uncertain about how to act and confused by one another’s statements and behavior. The potential for misunderstandings and conflict is often high as a result. In her book, Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire … Learn More About This Program 

An International Negotiation Process Leads to a Fragile Agreement in Ukraine

PON Staff   •  08/29/2022   •  Filed in International Negotiation

Negotiations in the News: The West Unites on Russian Sanctions Third-Party Mediation - International Negotiation Process

Ever since Russia blockaded the Black Sea at the start of its war on Ukraine, most of Ukraine’s abundant grain harvest has been trapped in silos, far from those who count on it for survival. The closing of ports in Ukraine, one of the world’s great breadbaskets, threatened to bring famine and political unrest to … Learn More About This Program 

Government Negotiations: The Brittney Griner Case

Katie Shonk   •  07/18/2022   •  Filed in International Negotiation

government negotiations

In February 2022, Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) star Brittney Griner was arrested in Russia, where she plays for a professional basketball team during the WNBA offseason, after being accused of bringing vape cartridges with cannabis oil into the country. She faces 10 years imprisonment in a Russian penal colony. Given the extreme tensions between … Read Government Negotiations: The Brittney Griner Case 

Dear Negotiation Coach: How Can I Improve My Cross-Cultural Negotiation Skills?

PON Staff   •  06/14/2022   •  Filed in International Negotiation

cross cultural negotiation skills

Q: Because of the nature of my business, I regularly engage in negotiations across cultures—and the results can be disappointing. After recently losing an important deal in India, I learned that my counterpart felt I was rushing through our talks. I thought I was just being efficient with our time. How can I improve my … Learn More About This Program 

Tough Negotiator: Insights on Vladimir Putin from Former U.S. Secretaries of State

Katie Shonk   •  03/31/2022   •  Filed in International Negotiation

tough negotiators

How should you prepare to negotiate effectively with an exceptionally tough negotiator? That’s the question the United States and its allies have faced since Russian president Vladimir Putin sent his troops to wage war on Ukraine on February 24. The experiences and insights of five former U.S. secretaries of state who negotiated directly with Putin … Learn More About This Program 

Government Negotiations and Beyond: Using Carrots and Sticks Effectively

PON Staff   •  03/03/2022   •  Filed in International Negotiation

Government Negotiations

In 1987 government negotiations, U.S. president Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev took early steps to end the Cold War by signing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) arms control treaty in Washington, D.C. Banning all ground-launched nuclear and conventional missile systems within a certain range, the INF treaty put in place a strict … Learn More About This Program 

Elements of Negotiation Style: Angela Merkel

PON Staff   •  10/04/2021   •  Filed in International Negotiation

famous negotiators angela merkel negotiation style

What is your negotiation style? Some negotiators make a strong impression through bold opening statements and mesmerizing presentations. Others closely observe and gather information before making any decisive moves. Angela Merkel, who chose not to run for reelection in 2021 after nearly 16 years as Germany’s chancellor, has demonstrated the latter type of negotiation style: … Read Elements of Negotiation Style: Angela Merkel 

Building a Winning Team: Learn from the Disharmony of Trump’s Trade Negotiations with China

PON Staff   •  08/23/2021   •  Filed in International Negotiation

Building a Winning Team

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly asserted that if he were elected, eliminating the U.S. trade deficit with China would be a top priority. But once in office, Trump was alternately swayed by opposing factions in his administration: pro-business moderates and America-first trade hawks. The resulting roller-coaster ride, as summarized in the Wall Street Journal, serves … Learn More About This Program 

Effective Leadership: Learning from David Cameron’s Failed Brexit Negotiations

PON Staff   •  08/16/2021   •  Filed in International Negotiation

ethical leadership and Effective Leadership as portrayed by people standing on a rock with their fists in the air Participative Leadership

Leaders sometimes need to devote significant time to convincing a counterpart of the logic and appeal of their proposals. What happens when they need to persuade negotiators on opposite sides of an issue to see your point of view? Such situations highlight why negotiation is important in leadership, as effective leadership can require special skills … Learn More About This Program 

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