Multicultural and cross-cultural negotiation requires a willingness to embrace your counterpart’s way of doing business.
Understanding the importance of negotiating respectfully with a counterpart should be paramount in any situation. When preparing for a cross-cultural negotiation, the same rules apply.
Unfortunately, dealmaking across cultures tends to lead to worse outcomes as compared with negotiations conducted within the same culture. The reason is primarily that cultures are characterized by different behaviors, communication styles, and norms. As a result, in cross-cultural negotiation, we bring different perspectives to the bargaining table, which in turn may result in potential misunderstandings. And these misunderstandings can lead to a lower likelihood of exploring and discovering integrative or value-creating solutions.
One thing that works in many negotiations, however, is sitting down for a meal. This is true in business and in high-level international negotiations. In many cultures, tackling the issues of a negotiation head-on neglects an important social element that is just as necessary for creating a lasting deal.
For example, when U.S. President Obama was at a state dinner with his counterpart in Buenos Aires, he and the other guests were treated to a tango, and suddenly the President was asked to join in. He quickly obliged, to the amazement of the onlookers. As much as any potential deals between the United States and Argentina, this simple act of participating in a respectful bridging across cultures had an immediate, and significant impact on the relationship between the two countries.
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The following items are tagged cultural negotiation:
Figuring out how to negotiate in cross-cultural situations can seem like a daunting endeavor, and for good reason. Negotiating across the cultural divide adds an entire dimension to any negotiation, introducing language barriers, differences in body language and dress, and alternative ways of expressing pleasure or displeasure with the elements of a deal. As a … Read More
In previous international negotiation articles from cross cultural negotiation case studies, we have focused on how international negotiators can avoid cognitive biases and overcome cultural barriers. But how do negotiators dealing with counterparts that speak another language modify their negotiation techniques to accommodate for the lack of a common language?
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Sometimes in international negotiation, disputes are left to fester for years, even decades, until parties decide there is something to be gained from reaching agreement. In an example of a cross cultural negotiation case study, the nations of Bangladesh and India seized on an opportunity to push the “restart” button on their bumpy relationship by … Read More
After recently losing an important deal in India, a business negotiator learned that her counterpart felt as if she had been rushing through the talks. The business negotiator thought she was being efficient with their time. In this useful cross-cultural conflict negotiation example, how should this negotiator improve her negotiation skills?
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Conflict resolution is the process of resolving a dispute or a conflict by meeting at least some of each side’s needs and addressing their interests. Conflict resolution sometimes requires both a power-based and an interest-based approach, such as the simultaneous pursuit of litigation (the use of legal power) and negotiation (attempts to reconcile each party’s … Read More
Have you planned your curriculum and purchased your teaching material for next semester? We’re here to help you to find the best negotiation exercises and teaching aids for your negotiation classes.
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Cross cultural negotiation examples provide insights into how negotiation techniques change depending on the context in which negotiators find themselves. As Professor Cheryl Rivers of Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, points out in a recent negotiation research literature review, seasoned negotiators often hear stories about the unethical behaviors of people of other nationalities.
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Few negotiators can imagine negotiation scenarios more stressful than the kinds of crisis negotiations the New York City Police Department’s Hostage Negotiation Team undertake. But police negotiation techniques employed by the New York City Police Department’s Hostage Negotiations Team (HNT) in high-stakes, high-pressure crisis negotiation situations, outlined in an article from Jeff Thompson and Hugh … Read More
Policymakers, practitioners, and academics have seized on the need for peacebuilding negotiation strategies in international negotiation to be as complex and adaptive as the societies within which they work.
As a result, there are loud calls for “whole of government” or “whole of community” approaches that cross traditional sectoral boundaries. The problem is that these approaches are … Read More
Do you teach negotiation to students from different cultural backgrounds? Are you teaching students how to negotiate in a cross-cultural context? Do you teach a “one world” model of negotiation; or, are there cultural variables that require changes in the basic model of negotiation that you teach?
The Program On Negotiation at Harvard Law School invited … Read More
As our world grows increasingly interconnected, we are more likely to find ourselves negotiating in a cross-cultural context. The diverse makeup of many societies and global nature of business today make cross-cultural negotiation a regular part of life. Also, unfortunately, many major disputes in need of resolution cross ethnic and cultural lines. Furthermore, it is important … Read More
Avoid cross-cultural misunderstandings with these negotiation exercises
It’s no secret that communication and negotiation etiquette varies widely across cultures. In France, for example, it is rude to talk money over dinner, while in Brazil the American ‘A-OK’ gesture (thumb and forefinger forming a circle) can be a major insult.
The increasingly diverse and global nature of business … Read More
ENCO: Negotiating International Contracts in the Face of Political Instability
Negotiating international contracts can be tricky, and unstable, especially when governments are parties in the negotiation. ENCO is a Texas-based power company that has begun to move aggressively into emerging markets. The Indian government has approached ENCO to build an electrical generating plant to increase the power … Read More
David Fairman—Managing Director of the Consensus Building Institute—recently shared his extensive experience in negotiating with, and teaching negotiation to, a variety of groups from a broad range of cultural backgrounds.
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The global climate change accord talks are some of the most interesting negotiations to have taken place in the past year. This article examines the at-the-table issues the negotiators faced with China and other world leaders in attempting to forge a negotiated agreement on climate change.
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In international negotiations and other complex multiparty negotiations, should you set ambitious goals right from the start or begin with more modest ones?
Aiming high can lead to dramatic payoffs if you succeed, but the difficulty of orchestrating complicated international negotiations can increase the risk of impasse. By contrast, starting with more modest goals may suggest … Read More
When managing cultural differences in international negotiations, improvisation is a key negotiation skills, one that mimics the quick-thinking and improvisational quality of the art of jazz music.
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