International Negotiation & Culture

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Culture as a notion is a quality of society (rather than an individual construct) within which individuals identify with and are apart of. Stanford, B. (1999) argue that culture is developed though the process of ‘acculturation” or through “socialization by individuals from their respective societies” hence, culture encompasses a complex set of attributes relating to the every day area of social life. Carnevale, P, & Choi, D (2000) illustrates that culture describes the behaviors that are considered “1) desirable for a member of the culture, 2) individuals in the social structure, and 3) the values in ones life, i.e. goals and principles’. Furthermore, as culture also articulates, “how things are to be evaluated”, it implies that individuals within different cultural norms will have different levels of interaction, understanding and negotiation prowess, Carnevale, P, & Choi, D (2000) As we have discussed over the last few weeks, culture encompasses a broad definition, a notions which conveys basic level ‘psychology’ of behaviors and human nature, such as language, economic ideology, beliefs and values (tradition) and so forth. Hence, Kremenyuk, VA (1988) notes that negotiation can therefor be seen as a human process that is related to problem solving and thus “towards a peaceful means of dispute resolution”. In this regards, we can view negotiation as a reality of culture as it values a “code of conduct” that is used for “civilized ways of solving disputes”. Perceptions and behaviors

Different cultures will have an impact on the way individuals react and behave during international negotiations. We can argue that self-assumptions and opinions would be considered realistic as they are considered a normal part of domestic negotiations, Kimmel, S (1994). As a result, Kimmel, S (1994) notes, “negotiators are prisoners of their culture” which serves as a system of “social interaction”. This assumes that people are considered to be the same everywhere regardless of culture, Kimmel, S (1994).

Fisher, G (1983) proffers the extent to which cultural differences are taken into account is an important aspect indicative of “contrasting sets of values” that presents the “hierarchy of negotiation objectives” or as the behaviors and body language which may prevent or even block trust or confidence. Fisher, G (1983) further illustrates, these and other non-verbal aspects may contribute to “psychological unease” which adds to the complexity of the communication process in negotiations.

The depth to which negotiation takes place and develops can vary greatly due to differences in culture and thus impacting the level of transparency, ease & efficiency of communication and the method in which it takes place. In addition, Faure, GO (1993) also illustrates that the strategy that is used by a country on how negotiations and agreement should take place can also highlight problems and inefficiencies in the negotiation process. As a result, Fisher, G (1983) argues, “cultural diplomacy” plays a pivotal part of negotiations minimizing and dissolving many gaps. Skills and attributes

Managers must possess certain skills to successfully negotiate across cultures. In order to influence decisions and arrive at a successfully mutual agreement, they must understand and anticipate the decision process that is taken place by the other actor. Therefor, managers need to take account of culture of the decision making process. For instance, the way decisions are executed. Fisher, G (1983) adds, the “national institutional culture” also display different ‘shades’ of the decision-making process and execution method. For instance, we can illustrate these differences in 2 very opposite countries, France and Japan. Fisher, G (1983) demonstrates that France is a country that has a long valued art of negotiation in the international arena where the language and “French negotiators” are at the core. Hence, the way French negotiate...
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