Intercultural Negotiation

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How does culture impact negotiation internationally?

In every international negotiation, the chance of succeeding increases with the understanding of the culture. When negotiating an agreement the main point is to come to a conclusion, as near as possible what the different parties want (Fisher and Ury, 1983). We can define international negotiation as:

“…the process of a consideration of an international dispute or situation by peaceful means, other than judicial or arbitral processes, with a view to promoting or researching among the parties concerned or involved some understanding, amelioration, adjustment, or settlement of the dispute or situation”(Lall, 1966)

What lead to a conflict could be the basic differences in values, beliefs, communication styles and interests. It is important to know when operating internationally that there exist cultural differences, because people tend to think everybody operates in the same way and think that their way is always the best way. That is called ethnocentrism. When two cultures in negotiation does not have correspondence in the decoding process or/and the encoding process, we can say that there is a gap between their understandings. That is when the cultural problem starts. In some high-context cultures, they will try to keep a lid on a disagreement to preserve the harmony within the people or the community. This can often be seen in Arab and Latin American communities, when the culture is more community centered. A disagreement will not only affect every person within this group but the chance of being ostracized is greater. So, an eruption will cause a lot of emotions and involvement by the whole community.

A low context culture like the American culture would normally want to be more efficient, but when meeting a high context culture like the Latin American it would seem staccato and precipitated. The American would also be more verbal in their style of negotiate and treat words more seriously, because...
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