Company Observation Essay The Influence of Culture on Negotiations Negotiation Elements and Cultural Dimensions adopt a much less confrontational style in order to avoid direct, aggressive conflict. These cultures may adopt a more collaborative orientation toward the negotiations. In developing a strategy, it must also include levels of risk a party is willing to take for sharing the information, revealing positions, and general considerations on how to best approach a collaborative negotiation strategy. According to Hofstede, some cultures also tend to be fearful of unfamiliar risks.
Hofstede’s four dimensions of culture reveal that cultural variation plays a role in negotiations. The next paragraph provides another view of how culture impacts the negotiation process by drawing from Jeswald Salacuse’s identification of ten factors in the negotiation. Cultural Affects on Negotiating Style In a survey of 310 persons from 12 countries and 8 occupations, Salacuse asked participants to rate their negotiating style covering ten negotiation factors.
The points below lists the ten negotiation factors.
The countries that were represented in the survey were Spain, France, Brazil, Japan, the U. S, Germany, the U. K. , Nigeria, Argentina, China, Mexico and India. The jobs concerned were about law, military, engineering, public sector, students, accounting, teaching, and management/marketing. In this paragraph, I will demonstrate through Salacuse’s research, that culture does have an effect on negotiating styles. Although Salacuse’s research reveals many cultural effects. My paper will concentrate on 4 factors from his 10 original ones: negotiation goals, attitudes, agreement form, and risk taking.
The 10 factors are : Goal, contract or relationship Attitudes, win/lose or win/win Personal Styles, informal or formal Communications, direct or indirect Time Sensitivity, high or low Emotionalism, high or low Agreement Form, specific or general Agreement Building, high or low Team Organization, one leader or decisions in group 10. Risk-taking, high or low The first area of the survey says the respondents negotiate goal with respect to what is more important for them : the formation of a final contract or to do a long-term relationship between the parties.
The results revealed that the respondents were split on this issue with 54% of all respondents stating the formation of a contract was the main goal. Only 26% of the Spanish respondents, compared to 66% of the Indians, viewed the primary goal as a relationship. Also, when the data was assembled based on occupation, regardless of national culture, the percentage in favor of a contract was higher for the law profession (71%) but a larger percentage of Management/Marketing professional (61%) preferred the relationship goal.
We can see in that study that actors have a choice concerning the style or strategy they will employ during a negotiation. One-third of all respondents from the different countries viewed it as a win-lose. However, the survey showed wide differences amongst cultures in this area as well. 100% of the Japanese viewed negotiations from a win-win perspective, but only 36. 8% of the Spanish had this view. In addition, an analysis by profession revealed that whereas only 14% of the diplomacy/public sector viewed negotiations as a win-lose relationship, 60% of the military considered it like that.
Various cultures differed on the interpretation of what constitutes a deal. To some, the deal is a contract. Other culture groups view the contract as a tool that outlines general principles against detailed rules. According to Salacuse’s survey results, among all respondents 78% preferred a detailed contract. On an other hand, 89% of the British preferred a specific agreement versus 64% of the Japanese. The data by occupation revealed that 100% of the military and 92 % of the student respondents preferred a specific agreement versus 64% for both the diplomacy/public sector and management/marketing professions.
The final area demonstrating culture’s affect on negotiation styles is risk-taking or the willingness of a party to share information, seek alternatives through new approaches, or tolerate ambiguity in order to find a joint resolution. Among all respondents about 70% prefered high risk-taking. However there were significant variations by culture. The Japanese for example have only 18% choosing a high level for risk-taking. More significant risk takers were France (90%) India (89%) and the U. K (88%). Development of a Strategy An important aspect in developing a cross-cultural negotiation strategy revolves around preparation.
First, in addition to analyzing the current issues that brought the parties, it is better to study the other negotiator’s culture and history. Next, it is necessary that a negotiator be self-aware of his or her own culture. Finally, to do a relationship with the other parties involved before the negotiations begin is time well spent. The negotiator’s skills in research and preparing the environment will impact the negotiation positively. Knowledge gained concerning a culture’s various interests is also significant to the cross-cultural negotiator.
For example, for those that generally have a low tolerance for ambiguity, precise information is very important. A strategy for conducting cross-cultural negotiations can be developed. Chris Moore and Peter Woodrow have identified five strategies based on the party’s ability and willingness to adapt to each other’s culture. Ability in this discussion describes a negotiator’s power, capacity and competency to adapt to another culture. The choice of a particular negotiation strategy is obviously more complicated than simply deciding which approach best fits a particular negotiator’s individual style.
In addition, a negotiator may find himself in a position where his initial strategy needs to be adjusted as the negotiation process continues through the various phases. A generalized understanding of the other party’s culture is a very good starting point. Recognizing when cultural influences, especially when it comes to values and trust, are affecting the negotiation process requires careful attention. The flexibility that a negotiator can bring on the situation is also an important function in the negotiation process.
It is the negotiator’s ability and willingness to adapt to cultural differences that will facilitate the process. But, when viewing cross-cultural negotiations, it is important to consider that negotiators are not robots and other factors will come to enter into consideration. Negotiators have to avoid cultural stereotypes when developing a relationship. Not all actions are the result of cultural differences. Wendi Adair’s definition of culture stated culture is a set of shared values, and beliefs that characterize national, ethnic, or other groups and their behavior. Conclusion
Negotiation is an important and valuable tool for resolving conflict when all parties involved have a shared commitment to reaching a collaborative agreement. Cultural considerations play an important role in the negotiation process because all the actors bring with them their own specific cultural behaviors. This paper explains the nature of culture in negotiations. In order to further develop this understanding, the role of mentalities and values have been showed. Human nature, culture and personality make an individual’s mentality, but it is the cultural piece that comes from big societies that is decisive.
Hofstede’s dimensions of culture provided a summary of how cultures differed based on their various values. An understanding of cultural theory in this manner is an important element in describing culture’s impact on negotiations. Also important is an understanding of key aspects of negotiations. Negotiations differ from other forms of discussion because the parties try to reach an agreement. In order to achieve this state, all parties must be willing to commit to understanding each other’s position, work toward building trust, and effectively communicate with each other.
List of References Hofstede, Geert H, Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. University of Limburg at Maastricht, The Netherlands: McGraw-Hill, 1997 http://www. springerlink. com/content/r2x64126572154t3/ Culture and Negotiation Strategy Wendi Adair; Jeanne Brett; Alain Lempereur; Tetsushi Okumura; Negotiation Journal; Jan 2004; 20, 1; ABI/INFORM Global pg. 87 Moore, Chris and Peter Woodrow, “Mapping Cultures – Strategies for Effective Intercultural Negotiations” (March 2004). http://www. mediate. com/articles/cdr1. cfm#
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