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.

Intercultural Negotiation: Does the BATNA Concept Translate?

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

intercultural 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 

Managing Cultural Differences in Negotiation

Katie Shonk   •  06/27/2019   •  Filed in International Negotiation

It’s important to educate yourself about your counterpart’s culture so that you don’t risk offending her or seeming unprepared. At the same time, it would be a mistake to focus too narrowly when preparing for cross-cultural communication in business. Research on international negotiation can help us think more broadly when it comes to managing cultural … Read More 

In business negotiation, get your words’ worth

PON Staff   •  01/31/2019   •  Filed in International Negotiation

Wise negotiators put a lot of time and effort into making sure they’re ready to do business. They set ambitious goals, research their bottom line, explore their alternatives, and find out as much as they can about their counterpart. They may give less consideration, however, to the words they’ll use to persuade, question, debate, and brainstorm … Read More 

Unlocking Cross-Cultural Differences in Negotiation

PON Staff   •  11/24/2018   •  Filed in International 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 new book, Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures … Read More 

Shades Israel Fellows Walk the Abraham Path Together

PON Staff   •  09/25/2018   •  Filed in Abraham Path Initiative, International Negotiation, Middle East Negotiation Initiatives

On June 5, 2013, Shades Israeli and Palestinian fellows walked the Abraham Path in Israel’s Negev on a guided tour organized by PON Senior Fellow Shula Gilad, visiting Jewish and Arab villages on the route, learning about the Abrahamic tradition of the societies, their current challenges and success. As is the case for others who … Read More 

Setting the right table

PON Staff   •  06/30/2018   •  Filed in International Negotiation

On March 8, U.S. president Donald Trump shocked even his own White House staff when he revealed that he had accepted an invitation to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. After months of name-calling and threats between Trump and Kim, the news that the two leaders would be discussing the possibility of North Korea dismantling … Read More