Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Cross-cultural Negotiation

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To be a Winner in Cross-cultural Negotiation

As a form of communication, negotiation exists everywhere in the world. Wherever there are people, there are communications. People have various kinds of negotiations related to different aspects, such as politics, business or society, and the discussions of approaches and skills of negotiation have never stopped. Following the globalization process, cross-cultural negotiation has becoming more and more popular; therefore, how to achieve a successful cross-cultural negotiation is discussed more and more heatedly. This essay will explain the major factors related to a successful cross-cultural negotiation and help the cross-cultural negotiators to know some cross-cultural differences, which should be considered. It focuses on the following topics building relationships, ¡®face work¡¯, time and goal orientation.

To begin with, it is necessary to know what negotiation is. Negotiation is a two-way communicating activity in order to reach an agreement with each other. To achieve a successful negotiation, both parties should have a shared understanding first, and cooperate with each other to reach a mutual goal (Putnis &Petelin, 001). Negotiation is more than a bargain; it is a kind of art of communication to result in a mutual benefit by processing an agreement with each other (Donohue & Ramesh, 1). Consequently, negotiations are likely to proceed more smoothly if the negotiators have a shared principle. It involves the ability of understanding both parties¡¯ demand as well as their negotiating characters that is closely related to their background, so that a proper orientation can be made. Studies have suggested that people from different cultures use different negotiation styles, because their awareness of the decision-making situation are influenced by the features of the national culture from which they come (Chang, 00). As Waldman (000) states, the three important elements to achieve a successful cross-cultural negotiations are realizing how the foreign negotiator is different, being culturally impartial, and being careful of their cultural norms, habits, and taboos. So a real winner in a cross-cultural negotiation knows clearly the value of the knowledge of the related culture situation. If understanding of the cultural background is disregarded, the result of any cross-cultural negotiation could be a failure (Putnis &Petelin, 001).

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Firstly, building up relationships is a basic preparation of a cross-cultural negotiation. Building up a good relationship enlarges the trust between the cooperators so that the cross-culture negotiation can be processed smoothly and successfully (Olk and Elvira, 001). Trust is a vital factor in negotiations because this is the basic condition of starting or continuing the negotiation. Concession could be easier when negotiators trust each other, consequently, the process of the negotiation can be more effective and time saving, and vice versa. For example, Li and Labig (001) cite strong research indicating that forming relationships in negotiation is essential in the East Asian context, as a result, this can directly determine whether the negotiation can be successful. Li and Labig (001) also point out that some international companies use relationship-oriented strategies in China because Chinese people emphasize relationship in all activities. Negotiation can hardly develop if it is ignored when doing business with Chinese. Americans negotiate less-successfully in China because they are not patient enough with building relationship and begin to compromise too early (Gulbro & Herbig, 1). Another example is that the negotiators from Brazil and many other Latin American countries also pay much attention to relationship building and spend quite a long time at the preparation for a trusting based negotiation (Volkema & Fleury, 00).

¡®Face work¡¯ is the second area of difference in cross-cultural negotiations. Issues of self-concept or ¡®face¡¯ could be as important in shaping the progress of negotiations as the basic theme of the negotiation (Putnis &Petelin, 001). Negotiators are afraid of losing face when their actions or events failed to fulfill a desired character seen by others, especially the other party or their own party. Sometimes they are more concerned to be considered as ¡®tough¡¯ than they are interested in the negotiations themselves (Putnis &Petelin, 001). If there is a signal showing disrespect by one party, this may cause the other party to feel the loss of their face, then a defensive behaviour may be performed as a return, which definitely damages the negotiation (Putnis &Petelin, 001). In collectivist cultures such as China and Japan, for example, there is a greater concern with protecting external concord and saving face in negotiations. Confrontation is avoided and the dignity of all parties must be maintained. Evidence also can be found, according to Chang (00), in high context countries, the deep meaning of simple messages is widely shared and people are extremely involved with each other. To openly disagree with someone in public is to cause a loss of face, which is considered as a big insult leading to an unpleasant result. As China has become one of the largest markets in the world, it is necessary to acknowledge this feature and be sensitive at ¡®keeping face¡¯ when negotiate with Chinese people (Bartels & Pass, 000). On the other hand, for American and Australian negotiators who influenced by western culture, ¡®face work¡¯ is still important, but much less important than it is found in collectivist cultures (Wilson, 1).

Thirdly, the value and concept of the time in cross-cultural negotiations is different. The process of the negotiation itself is detailed and emphasised. It is found that time pressure can increase the frequency of debatable situations caused by negotiators, thus the negotiation is affected negatively. The higher the time pressure is the less valuable the outcomes are (Conlon & Hunt, 00). Accordingly, understanding and being patient to the different consideration toward time in cross-cultural negotiations may reduce the possibility of disagreement. In many cross-cultural negotiations, the negotiators have different sense of the value and concept of the time. Misunderstanding or conflict may occur as a result of this. So cooperation over time may be needed to avoid misunderstanding. To be worse, the trusting basis could be destroyed if the awareness of time is not well shared or understood by both parties. For example, Americans are described as ugly Americans by opposite parties who come from the cultures that disagree time is money, because the Americans often get down to business before even getting know someone. In some areas such as Latin America, Middle East, and Asia, the negotiators take time to socialize more than dealing the ¡®business¡¯ itself. In these parts of the world, the social bonds are more important than legal bonds. Managers from the U.S. often miss the opportunity to develop these social bonds because they believe it is not part of business (Bates, 001). A further example is that, compared to Brazilians, United States negotiators are more likely to make promises when they face with a time deadline, while the Brazilian negotiators have more flexible attitude towards time (Volkema & Fleury, 00). Another example is that, ¡®the Chinese negotiating style is traditionally time consuming. The need to take time in negotiations has been linked to the Chinese need to construct a firm relationship with the other party¡¯. Chinese negotiators also have a long range view of things and are therefore in less of a hurry; they want to be exactly sure of everything and avoid all possible mistakes; and they distrust fast talkers who want to make quick deals (Davies and Clarke, 14 8).

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