Cross Cultural Negotiations

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Cross Cultural Negotiations

Cross Cultural Negotiations


The impact of international business in domestic markets compels us to ask a question: "How can we survive in this global playing field, and what can we do to run our businesses more effectively?" Nowadays, businesses of all sizes search for suppliers and customers on a global level. International competition, foreign clients and suppliers, may become a danger, but they may also create enormous opportunities to develop our business. The increasingly global business environment requires managers to approach the negotiation process from the global business person's point of view. This approach includes aspects which are usually unimportant in internal negotiations. Some of the components of a cross cultural negotiation process are more complex and difficult, but will increase our success in avoiding barriers and failures in the international business arena (Carnevale, 1999).

Cross-Cultural Negotiations

A cross-cultural approach to negotiations is the study of similarities and differences in processes and communication at work across different cultures and of the dynamics of cross-cultural interfaces in multicultural domestic and international contexts. In this literature, culture is generally defined as a shared meaning system, which implies that members of the same culture share usual meanings and are likely to interpret and evaluate situational events and management practices in similar ways. In contrast, members of different cultures who do not share a common way of interpreting and evaluating situational events are more likely to respond in different ways. Hence, a cross-cultural approach to negotiations includes issues such as how culture is related to individual organizational phenomena, such as motives, cognitions and emotions; interpersonal phenomena such as teams and leadership; and organizational-level phenomena such as organizational structure. Beyond just the differences between a Chinese manager and an American manager, this approach stresses the importance of understanding the deep-rooted perspectives, orientations, and assumptions that individuals maintain about communication based on their cultural lens (Tinsley, 2001).

In cross-cultural negotiations research, the focus has mostly been on national cultures; however, it is important to note that a nation is not the only meaningful group that can be and has been studied. Within any given nation, there may exist various subcultures, and the national culture may not be completely shared. As of the writing of this article, public groups are still useful units of analysis because they are well defined for many real-life applications; however, the nation-state is a relatively new concept in world history, and there is a possibility that it will cease to function as a key feature denoting culture in the future. Regional cultures, religious cultures, ethnic cultures, organizational cultures, and discipline-based cultures are also valid sources of cultural differences and similarities in meaning systems.


Culture is the most important variable affecting international negotiations and values and norms that are encompassed by culture can affect negotiations (International negotiating, 2005). Cultural values establish what members perceive as important while cultural norms outline what is considered proper and unethical behavior. Together, cultural values and norms influence how one perceives situations and how one reacts to the ...
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