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.

Closing the Deal in Negotiations

Katie Shonk   •  12/29/2016   •  Filed in International Negotiation

business negotiations

In dealmaking, we typically devote significant time to trying to convince a counterpart of the logic and appeal of our proposals. But sometimes our role becomes a more defensive one, as our negotiation behaviors focus on trying to dissuade others from pursuing a route that we believe could be disastrous.

That was the task outgoing United … Read More 

Diplomatic Negotiations to Build a Winning Coalition to Negotiate with Iran

PON Staff   •  12/27/2016   •  Filed in International Negotiation

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany were able to arrive at a negotiated agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran to curtail its nuclear weapons development program. Read this article to find out what diplomatic negotiation strategies were employed by the representatives from the bargaining countries and how they impacted … Read More 

International Negotiation Skills: Before Apologizing, Consider the Culture

PON Staff   •  11/22/2016   •  Filed in International Negotiation

In 2004, after Japanese regulators shut down Citigroup’s private bank in the country for breaking numerous laws, then-CEO Charles O. Prince made headlines by traveling to Japan, bowing deeply before television cameras, and apologizing for his firm’s mistakes. As unusual as it seemed in American eyes, the public apology was widely seen in Japan as … Read More 

Hoping for an Uncontroversial Negotiation? Consider the Optics

PON Staff   •  11/08/2016   •  Filed in International Negotiation

January 16, 2016, was a memorable day in U.S.-Iranian relations. That day, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran was in compliance with the terms of the nuclear agreement it reached in mid-2015 with the United States, which represented Russia, China, France, Germany, and Great Britain in the talks. The news prompted the United … Read More