What is International Mediation?
Policymakers, practitioners, and academics have seized on the need for dealmaking strategies in international mediation and negotiation to be as complex and adaptive as the societies within which they work.
Negotiators tend to over-rely on stereotypes when managing cultural differences in international mediation and negotiation, to their detriment. In a study of American and Japanese negotiators, the researchers found that study participants typically adjusted their negotiating style too far toward the other party’s culture. Ironically, this mutual adjustment led to cultural clashes when negotiators were trying to share information and persuade one another.
Even putting stereotypes aside, you will always need to overcome cultural barriers to communication when you’re engaged in an international mediation or other business deal.
To begin, look further beyond stereotypes, and consider the broader context of your deal. Thinking several steps ahead, for example, diplomats tend to consider broad issues related to a mediation or negotiation, such as the changing politics and laws of a region, the likely response of community groups and activists to your decisions, and so on. All of us can practice thinking broadly in international mediation and negotiation—and move beyond stereotypes in the process.
One example of this comes from the book The Power of Noticing: What the Best Leaders See, by Harvard Business School professor Max H. Bazerman in which he describes the experience of teaching an executive class with unexpected assistance from several high-level diplomats. Bazerman was struck by the diplomats’ ability to think several steps ahead when analyzing complex international mediation or negotiation situations.
“Consistently the executives and I were thinking one step ahead of the problem at hand,” Bazerman writes. “Meanwhile the diplomats were thinking three or four steps ahead and…developing interesting and important insights.”
To learn more, you can download a complimentary copy of our special report, International Negotiation: Cross-Cultural Communication Skills for International Business Executives, right now!
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