Negotiation In The African Culture

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Negotiation in the African Culture

Negotiation in the African Culture


The global business environment that is today's reality means that national economies are more closely linked than in the past. A variety of factors suggests that national cultures may become more similar because of globalization—these can be thought of as forces for convergence (Yang, 2005). The paper discusses the negotiation factor in an African Culture.


Following forces should be explored first in order to bring under discussion the negotiation and communication factors in African Culture:

increased trade means that people around the world are exposed to products from other countries (many people point to the fact that people around the world wear basically the same jeans and t-shirts); (Adler, 2004)

increased foreign investment means that companies take their corporate cultures and practices into new locations and also learn from these new locations, taking aspects of culture and practice home (many people identify similarities in subsidiaries from Argentina to Zimbabwe);

increased travel and communication for business and personal purposes means that people experience and learn about different behaviors and adopt and adapt these to suit their preferences (many people comment on the availability in every big city of restaurants serving foods from every corner of the world); (Punnett, 2004: p74)

increased regional and global trading agreements and organizations have as their mandate the standardization of trade arrangements across countries (many people decry the loss of specialized products because of these agreements);

the advent of the internet and the consequent globalization of the media means that awareness of events around the world is the norm (many people listen to radio stations ranging from BBC to NPR and Aljezeerra on their computers); and

shared global concerns such as global warming, which are not defined by national boundaries, require global responses and lead to shared values (solutions found in one location need to be shared by all) (Yang, 2005).

All of these factors suggest that we are moving toward a global culture and greater global integration, and less importance for the nation state. In addition, as African countries' economies grow and improve, we can expect that their citizens will want many of the consumer goods currently common in the developed world. At the same time, these countries may want a stronger voice for their nation states, and there are other forces leading to divergence. Listen to the news, and this becomes obvious (Budwhar, 2004: p19). The differences also are greatest between developed and African countries (Adler, 2004). Consider some of the following:

Terrorist attacks around the world illustrate the vast differences that some people perceive between “us” and “them.”

Religious differences in 2006 often pitted Christianity against Islam, Hinduism against Islam, Catholic against Protestant, Shia against Sunni, and so on.

People are proud of their cultural uniqueness and seek to maintain their cultural values, sometimes trying to legislate these (e.g., the French language “police” responsible for maintaining the purity of French used in France).

Jeans and t-shirts may be popular around the world, but equally, women wear the traditional middle-eastern veil in London, ...
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