Cross-Culture Negotiations

By Tommy Williams,2014-01-10 17:28
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Cross-Culture Negotiations



    The frequency of international negotiation has increased rapidly in the last 20 years. People today travel more frequently and farther, and business is more international in scope and extent than ever before. For many people and organizations, international negotiation has become the norm rather than an exotic activity that only occasionally occurs. Numerous books and articles, from both academic and practitioner perspectives, have been written about the complexities of negotiation across borders, be it with a person from a different country, culture, or region. Even the most practiced negotiators would regard Cross-cultural negotiation as the most challenging one. Comparing all tiresome troubles we might come across during negotiation, how to precisely express your offer and interest becomes an initial problem to deal with. Now we can use a theory to help us express ourselves better – the Cooperative Principle.

    1. Negotiations

    1.1 Definition of Negotiation

    Broadly speaking, negotiation is an interaction of influences. Such interactions, for example, include the process of resolving disputes, agreeing upon courses of action, bargaining for individual or collective advantage, or crafting outcomes to satisfy various interests. It is one of three primary methods of alternative dispute resolution, typically evidenced by trained negotiators acting on behalf of a particular organization or position. Compare this to mediation where a disinterested third party listens to each side’s arguments and attempts to help craft an agreement between the parties.

    Negotiation involves three basic elements: process, behavior and substance. The process refers to how the parties negotiate: the context of the negotiations, the parties to the negotiations, the tactics used by the parties, and the sequence and stages in which all of these play out. Behaviors to the relationships among these parties, the communication between them and the styles they adopt. The substance refers to what the parties negotiate over: the agenda, the issues (positions and - more helpfully - interests), the options, and the agreement(s) reached at the end.

    Negotiation occurs in business, non-profit organizations, government branches, legal proceedings, among nations and in personal situations such as marriage, divorce,



    parenting, and everyday life. The study of the subject is called negotiation theory. Those who work in negotiation professionally are called negotiators. Professional negotiators are often specialized, such as union negotiators, leverage buyout negotiators, peace negotiators, hostage negotiators, or may work under other titles, such as diplomats, legislators or brokers.

    1.2Some Negotiation Theories

    1.2.1Structural Analysis

    Structural Analysis is based on a distribution of empowering elements among two negotiating parties. Structural theory moves away from traditional Realist notions of power in that it does not only consider power to be a possession, manifested for example in economic or military resources, but also thinks of power as a relation.

    Based on the distribution of elements, in structural analysis we find either power-symmetry between equally strong parties or power-asymmetry between a stronger and a weaker party. All elements from which the respective parties can draw power constitute structure. They may be of material nature, i.e. hard power, or of social nature, i.e. soft power, such as norms, contracts or precedents.

    These instrumental elements of power, are either defined as parties’ relative position or as their relative ability to make their options prevail.

    Structural analysis is easy to criticize, because it predicts that the strongest will always win. This, however, does not always hold true.

    1.2.2Strategic Analysis

    Strategic analysis starts with the assumption that both parties have a veto. Thus, in essence, negotiating parties can cooperate (C) or defect (D). Structural analysis then evaluates possible outcomes of negotiations (C, C; C, D; D, D; D, C), by assigning values to each of the possible outcomes. Often, co-operation of both sides yields the best outcome. The basic problem however is, that the parties can never be sure that the other is going to cooperate, mainly because of two reasons: first, decisions are made at the same time or, second, concessions of one side might not be returned. Therefore the parties have contradicting incentives to cooperate or defect. If one party cooperates or makes a concession and the other does not, the defecting party might relatively gain more.

    Trust may be built only in repetitive games through the emergence of reliable patterns of behavior such as tit-for-tat.



    1.2.3Process Analysis

    Process analysis is the theory closest to haggling. Parties start from two points and converge through a series of concessions. As in strategic analysis, both sides have a veto. Process analysis also features structural assumptions, because one side may be weaker or stronger. Process Analysis focuses on the study of the dynamics of processes. E.g. both Zeuthen and Cross tried to find a formula in order to predict the behavior of the other party in finding a rate of concession, in order to predict the likely outcome.

    The process of negotiation therefore is considered to unfold between fixed points: starting point of discord, end point of convergence. The so called security point, that is the result of optional withdrawal, is also taken into account.1.2.4Integrative Analysis

    Integrative analysis divides the process into successive stages, rather than talking about fixed points. It extends analysis to pre-negotiations stages, in which parties make first contacts. The outcome is explained as the performance of the actors at different stages. Stages may include pre-negotiations, finding a formula of distribution, crest behavior, settlement.

    1.2.5"WIN/WIN" Philosophy

    During the early part of the twentieth century, academics such as Mary Parker Follett developed ideas suggesting that agreement often can be reached if parties look not at their stated positions but rather at their underlying interests and requirements. During the 1960s, Gerard I. Nierenberg recognized the role of negotiation in resolving disputes in personal, business and international relations. He published The Art of

    Negotiating, where he states that the philosophies of the negotiators determine the direction a negotiation takes. His Everybody Wins philosophy assures that all parties

    benefit from the negotiation process which also produces more successful outcomes than the adversarial “winner takes all” approach.

    In the 1970s, practitioners and researchers began to develop win-win approaches to negotiation. Getting to YES was published by Roger Fisher and William Ury as part

    of the Harvard negotiation project. The book's approach, referred to as Principled Negotiation, is also sometimes called mutual gains bargaining. The mutual gains



    approach has been effectively applied in environmental situations (see Lawrence Susskind and Adil Najam) as well as labor relations where the parties frame the negotiation as "problem solving".

    There are a tremendous number of other scholars who have contributed to the field of negotiation, including Gerard E. Watzke at Tulane University, Sara Cobb at George Mason University, Len Riskin at the University of Missouri, Howard Raiffa at Harvard, Robert McKersie and Lawrence Susskind at MIT, and Adil Najam and Jeswald Salacuse at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

    1.3Special Feature of Cross-cultural Negotiation

    According to Phatak and Habib (1996), 2 overall contexts have an influence on international negotiations: the environmental context and the immediate context. The environmental context includes environmental forces that neither negotiator controls that influence the negotiation. The immediate context includes factors over which negotiators appear to have some control. Understanding the role of factors in both the environmental and the immediate contexts is important to grasping the complexity of international negotiation processes and outcomes.

    1.3.1Environmental Context

    There are six factors in the environmental context that make international negotiation more challenging than domestic negotiation: “political and legal pluralism, international economics, foreign governments and bureaucracies, instability, ideology and culture”(Salacuse, 1988). Phatak and Habib have suggested

    an additional factor: external stakeholders. These factors can act to limit or constrain organizations that operate internationally, and it is important that negotiators understand and appreciate their effects.

    1.3.2Immediate Context

    Immediate context includes 5 factors: “relative bargain power, levels of

    conflict, relationship between negotiators, desired outcomes, and immediate

    stakeholders” (Phatak and Habib, 1996). According to the concepts from the

    Phatak and Habib model of international negotiation, this context can have an

    important influence on negotiation.



    1.3.3Distinctive Negotiation Behaviors of 15 Cultural Groups

    National culture does not determine negotiation behavior. Rather, “national culture is one of many factors that influence behavior at the negotiation table, albeit an important one. For example, gender, organizational culture, international experience, industry or regional background can all be important influences as well.” (William Hernandez Requejo and John L. Graham, Global Negotiation: The New Rules, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008)

    The material (from John L. Graham, “The Japanese Negotiation Style: Characteristics of a Distinct Approach”) is based on systematic study of international negotiation behavior over the last three decades in which the negotiation styles of more than 1,500 businesspeople in 17 countries (21 cultures) were considered. The work involved interviews with experienced executives and participant observations in the field, as well as behavioral science laboratory work including surveys and analyses of videotaped negotiations. The countries studied were Japan, S. Korea, China (Tianjin, Guangzhou, Taiwan, and Hong Kong), Vietnam, the Philippines, Russia, Israel, Norway, the Czech Republic, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, English-speaking Canada, French-speaking Canada, and the United States.

    Looking broadly across the several cultures, two important lessons stand out. The first is that regional generalizations very often are not correct. For example, Japanese and Korean negotiation styles are quite similar in some ways, but in other ways they could not be more different. The second lesson learned from the research is that Japan is an exceptional place: On almost every dimension of negotiation style considered, the Japanese are on or near the end of the scale. For example, the Japanese use the lowest amount of eye contact of the cultures studied. Sometimes, Americans are on the other end. But actually, most of the time Americans are somewhere in the middle. The reader will see this evinced in the data presented in this section. The Japanese approach, however, is most distinct, even sui generis.

    Cultural differences cause four kinds of problems in international business

    negotiations, at the levels of language, nonverbal behaviors, values, thinking and decision-making processes” (John L. Graham, Cross-Cultural Sales Negotiations: A Multilevel Analysis, dissertation University of California, Berkeley, 1980)

    The order is important; the problems lower on the list are more serious because they are more subtle. For example, two negotiators would notice immediately if one



    were speaking Japanese and the other German. The solution to the problem may be as simple as hiring an interpreter or talking in a common third language, or it may be as difficult as learning a language. Regardless of the solution, the problem is obvious.

    Cultural differences in nonverbal behaviors, on the other hand, are almost always hidden below our awareness. That is to say, in a face-to-face negotiation participants nonverbally—and more subtly—give off and take in a great deal of information. Some experts argue that this information is more important than verbal information. Almost all this signaling goes on below our levels of consciousness. When the nonverbal signals from foreign partners are different, negotiators are most apt to misinterpret them without even being conscious of the mistake. For example, when a French client consistently interrupts, Americans tend to feel uncomfortable without noticing exactly why. In this manner, interpersonal friction often colors business relationships, goes undetected, and, consequently, goes uncorrected. Differences in values and thinking and decision-making processes are hidden even deeper and therefore are even harder to diagnose and therefore cure. These differences are discussed below, starting with language and nonverbal behaviors.

    Following are further descriptions of the distinctive aspects of each of the 15 cultural groups videotaped. Certainly, conclusions of statistical significant differences between individual cultures cannot be drawn without larger sample sizes. But, the suggested cultural differences are worthwhile to consider briefly.

    Japan. Consistent with most descriptions of Japanese negotiation behavior, the results of this analysis suggest their style of interaction is among the least aggressive. Threats, commands, and warnings appear to be de-emphasized in favor of the more positive promises, recommendations, and commitments. Particularly indicative of their polite conversational style was their infrequent use of no and you and facial gazing, as well as more frequent silent periods.

    Korea. Perhaps one of the more interesting aspects of the analysis is the contrast of the Asian styles of negotiations. Non-Asians often generalize about the Orient; the findings demonstrate, however, that this is a mistake. Korean negotiators used considerably more punishments and commands than did the Japanese. Koreans used the word no and interrupted more than three times as frequently as the Japanese. Moreover, no silent periods occurred between Korean negotiators.

    China (Northern). The behaviors of the negotiators from Northern China, for example, in and around Tianjin, were most remarkable in the emphasis on asking questions (34 percent). Indeed, 70 percent of the statements made by the Chinese



    negotiators were classified as information-exchange tactics. Other aspects of their behavior were quite similar to the Japanese, particularly the use of no and you and silent periods.

    Taiwan. The behavior of the businesspeople in Taiwan was quite different from that in China and Japan but similar to that in Korea. The Chinese on Taiwan were exceptional in the time of facial gazing—on the average, almost 20 of 30 minutes. They asked fewer questions and provided more information than did any of the other Asian groups.

    Russia. The Russians’ style was quite different from that of any other European group, and, indeed, was quite similar in many respects to the style of the Japanese. They used no and you infrequently and used the most silent periods of any group. Only the Japanese did less facial gazing, and only the Chinese asked a greater percentage of questions.

    Israel. The behaviors of the Israeli negotiators were distinctive in three respects. As mentioned above, they used the lowest percentage of self-disclosures, apparently holding their cards relatively closely. Alternatively, they used by far the highest percentages of promises and recommendations, using these persuasive strategies unusually heavily. They were also at the end of the scale on the percentage of normative appeals at 5 percent with the most frequent reference to competitors’ offers. Perhaps most importantly the Israeli negotiators interrupted one another much more frequently than negotiators from any other group. Indeed, this important nonverbal behavior is most likely to blame for the “pushy” stereotype often used by Americans to describe their Israeli negotiation partners.

    Germany. The behaviors of the Germans are difficult to characterize because they fell toward the center of almost all the continua. However, the Germans were exceptional in the high percentage of self-disclosures (47 percent) and the low percentage of questions (11 percent).

    United Kingdom. The behaviors of the British negotiators were remarkably similar to those of the Americans in all respects.

    Spain. Diga is perhaps a good metaphor for the Spanish approach to negotiations evinced in our data. When you make a phone call in Madrid, the usual greeting on the other end is not hola (“hello”) but is, instead, diga (“speak”). It is not surprising, then, that the Spaniards in the videotaped negotiations likewise used the highest percentage of commands (17 percent) of any of the groups and gave comparatively little information (self-disclosures, only 34 percent). Moreover, they interrupted one



    another more frequently than any other group, and they used the terms no and you very frequently.

    France. The style of the French negotiators was perhaps the most aggressive of all the groups. In particular, they used the highest percentage of threats and warnings (together, 8 percent). They also used interruptions, facial gazing, and no and you very frequently compared with the other groups, and one of the French negotiators touched his partner on the arm during the simulation.

    Brazil. The Brazilian businesspeople, like the French and Spanish, were quite aggressive. They used the second-highest percentage of commands of all the groups. On average, the Brazilians said the word no 42 times, you 90 times, and touched one another on the arm about 5 times during 30 minutes of negotiation. Facial gazing was also high.

    Mexico. The patterns of Mexican behavior in our negotiations are good reminders of the dangers of regional or language-group generalizations. Both verbal and nonverbal behaviors were quite different than those of their Latin American (Brazilian) or continental (Spanish) cousins. Indeed, Mexicans answer the telephone with the much less demanding bueno (short for “good day”). In many respects, the Mexican behavior was very similar to that of the negotiators from the United States.

    French-Speaking Canada. The French-speaking Canadians behaved quite

    similarly to their continental cousins. Like the negotiators from France, they too used high percentages of threats and warnings, and even more interruptions and eye contact. Such an aggressive interaction style would not mix well with some of the more low-key styles of some of the Asian groups or with English speakers, including English-speaking Canadians.

    English-Speaking Canada. The Canadians who speak English as their first

    language used the lowest percentage of aggressive persuasive tactics (threats, warnings, and punishments totaled only 1 percent) of all 15 groups. Perhaps, as communications researchers suggest, such stylistic differences are the seeds of interethnic discord as witnessed in Canada over the years. With respect to international negotiations, the English-speaking Canadians used noticeably more interruptions and no’s than negotiators from either of Canada’s major trading partners, the United States and Japan.

    United States. Like the Germans and the British, the Americans fell in the middle of most continua. They did interrupt one another less frequently than all the others, but that was their sole distinction.



    These differences across the cultures are quite complex, and this material by itself should not be used to predict the behaviors of foreign counterparts. Instead, great care should be taken with respect to the aforementioned dangers of stereotypes. The key here is to be aware of these kinds of differences so that the Japanese silence, the Brazilian “no, no, no…,” or the French threat is not misinterpreted.1.4 Brief Introduction of Cooperative Principle

    The English language philosopher Paul Grice proposes that in ordinary conversation, speakers and hearers share a cooperative principle. He suggests that there is an accepted way of speaking which we all accept as standard behavior. When we produce, or hear, an utterance, we assume that it will generally be true, have the right amount of information, be relevant, and will be couched in understandable terms:

    Our talk exchanges do not normally consist of a succession of disconnected

    remarks, and would not be rational if they did. They are characteristically, to some degree at least, cooperative efforts; and each participant recognizes in them, to some extent, a common purpose or set of purposes, or at least a mutually accepted direction. This purpose or direction may be fixed from the start (e.g., by an initial proposal of a question for discussion), or it may evolve during the exchange; it may be fairly definite, or it may be so indefinite as to leave very considerable latitude to the participants (as in a casual conversation). But at each stage, SOME possible conversational moves would be excluded as conversationally unsuitable. We might then formulate a rough general principle which participants will be expected (ceteris paribus) to observe, namely: Make your conversational contribution such as is required, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged. One might label this the COOPERATIVE PRINCIPLE”.( Grice, Paul. "Logic and conversation")

    In Grice’s terms, a maxim has been flouted, and an implicative generated. Without such an assumption, it would not be worth a co-interacting investing the effort needed to interpret an indirect speech act. Grice analyzes cooperation as involving four maxims: quantity, quality, relation, and manner. Speakers give enough and not too much information: quantity. They are genuine and sincere, speaking "truth" or facts: quality. Utterances are relative to the context of the speech: relation.



    Speakers try to present meaning clearly and concisely, avoiding ambiguity: manner.

    Here are the four maxims which Grice proposed to be expected in conversation:

    Quality: speaker tells the truth or provable by adequate evidence

    Quantity: speaker is as informative as required

    Relation: response is relevant to topic of discussion

    Manner: speaker's avoids ambiguity or obscurity, is direct and straightforward

    The cooperative principle goes both ways: speakers generally observe the cooperative principle, and listeners (generally) assume that speakers are observing it. This allows for the possibility of implicative, which are meanings that are not explicitly conveyed in what is said, but that can nonetheless be inferred. For example, if Alice points out that Bill is not present, and Carol replies that Bill has a cold, then there is an implicative that the cold is the reason, or at least a possible reason, for Bill's absence; this is because Carol's comment is not cooperative — does not contribute to the conversation — unless her point is that Bill's cold is or might be the reason for his absence.

2. CP within Cross-cultural Negotiation

    2.1 Reason of Using CP

    The "WIN/WIN" philosophy set a new start to all negotiators. With this idea, we can roughly divide all negotiations into 4 possible situations:

    Negotiator ANegotiator BResult





    So, according to the theory, the goal would probably be made if either party gives a profitable offer and is accepted by the others. So, if we want to be winner in negotiation, we should mainly concentrate on precisely express our idea to other negotiators. In this way, we may have certain rules to obey with, that’s cooperative principle.

    2.2 Method of Using CP

    Make your contribution such as required, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted


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