Overcome Cultural Barriers with Negotiation Training
Dear Business Professional,
Valerie’s story says a lot about how to avoid intercultural barriers.
Here’s how she tells it: “In business as in life—you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.”
Bestselling author and renowned negotiator Dr. Chester Karrass wrote that, and I’ve always believed it to be true.
I’ve made it my business to negotiate effectively both inside and outside of the office. As a Senior Purchasing Manager for one of the Northeast’s largest construction firms, I develop, lead, and execute purchasing strategies. In a nutshell, it’s up to me to get the best product for the best price. While we typically source materials from companies in the United States, we’ve recently begun working with suppliers in China.
While the prices have been lower, the relationships have been rocky, and that’s putting it mildly. The language barrier is compounded by cultural differences, and I’m pretty sure I have inadvertently offended my contact on more than one occasion. Because my American negotiating style wasn’t totally translating across borders, I began looking for resources to help sharpen my skills. What I found was Negotiation Training: Overcoming Cultural Barriers in Negotiations, a free special report from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.
The free report detailed four simple rules for handling cultural differences in international negotiations:
1. Do your homework about your supplier’s culture. Through reading and conversations with those who know the country, you can learn a lot. Don’t overlook your suppliers as sources of information about their culture—they will usually welcome your interest.
2. Show respect for cultural differences. Seek to understand the value system at work and to construct a problem-solving conversation about any difficulties that unfamiliar customs pose.
3. Be aware of how others may perceive your culture. You are as influenced by your culture as your counterpart is by his. Try to see how your behavior, attitudes, norms, and values appear to your foreign supplier.
4. Find ways to bridge the culture gap. Cultural differences create a divide between you and your suppliers.
Constantly search for ways to bridge that gap. A first step in bridge building requires you and your suppliers to find something in common, such as a shared experience, interest, or goal. Honestly, it felt like the report was written just for me. After I finished reading Negotiation Training: Overcoming Cultural Barriers in Negotiations, I felt refreshed and ready to negotiate with my new overseas suppliers. I’ve already experienced some great results—and I know that with practice, I’ll become even more successful. Valerie’s story is one we’ve heard time and again at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.
It can often be difficult to bridge the cultural divide. But with the right strategies, you can become a more effective negotiator—no matter where you are in the world. In Negotiation Training: Overcoming Cultural Barriers in Negotiations, you’ll discover real life negotiation examples that demonstrate how to effectively negotiate with organizations around the world—from Japan to Germany.
Gain a Better Understanding of Cultural Differences
Learn how to better understand cultural differences—and improve your working relationships—with Negotiation Training: Overcoming Cultural Barriers in Negotiations. Based on the latest research theory, this free special report gives you insight into a unique way to categorizes the world’s cultures into three prototypes: Dignity, face, and honor. By understanding these categories, you may be able to better resolve conflict.
• Dignity cultures, which include the United States, Canada, and Northern Europe, developed in societies built on agriculture with low population density. Because food production was an individual rather than a collective effort, these cultures prize independence and free will.
• Face cultures, found primarily in East Asian societies such as China and Japan, sprang up in agricultural regions with rapidly growing populations that required organized food production, a collective goal facilitated by cooperation and strong central governments. Face cultures encourage people to preserve harmony by avoiding direct confrontation and suppressing negative emotions.
• Honor cultures sprang up in regions with herding economies and low population density, including the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America, and parts of southern Europe. Herds can be difficult to defend so traits that promote theft deterrence became prevalent in honor cultures, including a strong defense of oneself and one’s family, reliance on a code of honor, and close family ties.
Within the pages of Negotiation Training: Overcoming Cultural Barriers in Negotiations, you’ll discover exactly what negotiation tactics may be effective with each of these three cultural prototypes.
Form Stronger Cross-Cultural Partnerships
Negotiation Training: Overcoming Cultural Barriers in Negotiations includes real life negotiation examples including the 1998 mergers between Daimler and Chrysler and Renault and Nissan. By exploring their successes and failures, you’ll gain strategies for forming enduring cross-cultural partnerships:
• Earn their trust.
Telling the other side that you respect their culture may secure you a contract. But to build a promising relationship, you’ll need to back up your words with respectful actions after the contract is signed.
• Respect differences.
When it comes to business partnerships, merging distinct cultures can be a confusing, lengthy process. A better approach may be to maintain your unique identities and borrow from the best of both.
• Expect to be surprised.
Because national culture is just one facet of our identities, try to view negotiating counterparts as unique individuals rather than cultural ambassadors.
• Prepare to adapt. Don’t assume that the business strategies you’ve cultivated on your home turf will work in a new culture. Arrive ready to listen and adapt your style. Subhead: Don’t Say “Sorry” Until You Read This Report An apology can be an effective means of restoring trust in negotiations and disputes.
However, people may respond to apologies differently based on their cultural frameworks. Our free special report—Negotiation Training: Overcoming Cultural Barriers in Negotiations—outlines the key factors you need to know before you apologize. In the United States, apologies generally encompass an admission of personal responsibility and an expression of regret. In Japan, where organizations are generally viewed as more culpable than individuals for wrongdoing, an apology simply involves recognition of a burden suffered by someone else.
In one experiment, the research team found that American participants viewed apologies as a means of assigning blame and rebuilding personal credibility.
By contrast, Japanese participants viewed an apology as a general expression of remorse rather than as a means of assigning blame.
Improve Your Cultural Intelligence
Responding poorly to cultural differences can have an extremely negative impact on your company and your career. By following the proven strategies outlined in the free Negotiation Training: Overcoming Cultural Barriers in Negotiations special report, you’ll have the tools you need to negotiate successfully with counterparts located around the world. Curated from relevant articles as featured in the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School’s Negotiation Briefings newsletter, this timely report contains the information you need to heighten your cultural intelligence.
Download your complimentary copy of Negotiation Training: Overcoming Cultural Barriers in Negotiations right now. To do so, simply click the button below.
We know you’ll be glad you did.
Director of Marketing
Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School
P.S. Before you begin another cross-cultural negotiation, download your free copy of Negotiation Training: Overcoming Cultural Barriers in Negotiations