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.

Hello from the other side

PON Staff   •  09/30/2019   •  Filed in International Negotiation

What should you do when negotiations have ended in rancor, and you and your counterpart aren’t even talking to each other?

In July 2018, North Korean soldiers based at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea apparently decided to pick up the phone. When it rang in the U.S. base on the other side … Read More 

International Negotiation Strategies

Katie Shonk   •  09/16/2019   •  Filed in International Negotiation

Negotiation researchers have reached many fascinating discoveries about how people negotiate, such as uncovering flaws in our decision making and identifying useful persuasion techniques. But a great deal of this research has been conducted in Western cultures, and particularly the United States, leaving open the question of whether the results—and the advice they inspire—apply across … Read More 

Negotiation in the news: From partner to pariah: The changing fortunes of Mohammad Javad Zarif

PON Staff   •  08/31/2019   •  Filed in International Negotiation

When preparing for high-stakes negotiations, organizations must decide who should lead their teams. That choice can be a difficult one, especially when trust between parties is low. Should you choose someone who will be a tough loyalist for your positions or someone who seems more capable of building bridges?

When the Obama administration and the government … Read More 

Intercultural Negotiation: Does the BATNA Concept Translate?

Katie Shonk   •  08/26/2019   •  Filed in International Negotiation

When should you walk away in negotiation? That’s a common question that negotiation experts pose of professional negotiators. We are typically advised to walk away from the bargaining table when we haven’t been able to get a better deal than we can get elsewhere. But in intercultural negotiation, particularly in international negotiation in certain countries … Read More 

What is the Multi-Door Courthouse Concept

PON Staff   •  08/22/2019   •  Filed in International Negotiation

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 

Top International Negotiation Case Studies in Business: The Microsoft-Nokia Deal

PON Staff   •  08/06/2019   •  Filed in International Negotiation

International negotiation brings on more challenges than most. On September 3, 2013, Microsoft announced a deal to acquire Finnish mobile phone company Nokia’s handset and services business for $7.2 billion, the New York Times reported. The agreement marked a belated but bold move by Microsoft to upgrade its presence in handheld devices and signals an … Read More