Topic: Cultural Influence on Negotiation
More often than not, we engage in negotiations in our day-to-day life activities. Negotiation is the process of two or more parties constantly communicating in a bid to reach an amicable position. The parties are usually on opposing ends. Common and acceptable position is achieved through give and take exchange where each party is expected to cede ground of their hard line positions. With increasing global economy, most companies are going international and as such necessitating the need for them to understand different cultures if they were to succeed in business. Misunderstanding in cultural believes can hurt business chances in a given region. On the other hand, favorable cultural practices can as well promote the business a great deal.
Cultural influence on Goal of negotiation
Cultural differences can adversely affect the goal of negotiations. It is easy for some parties to operate at cross-purposes during negotiations due to cultural differences: while some party might be negotiating for relationship, the other one may be in for contractual negotiations. Therefore, because of this misunderstanding, the goal of the negotiations might be affected in a big manner. While the ultimate goal of negotiation is to sign a contract, people from some cultures view negotiations as the basis for building good working relationships beyond what is written on paper.
On the other hand, other parties remain focused on the contract part of the deal. The Americans specifically those from United States are focused on the deal-making while the Japanese and the Chinese look beyond the formal contact to establish enduring business relationship. This explains why Americans are free to do business with foreigners they have no long experience with while the people from East prefer business with people within their social circle. It is therefore important for the negotiators to establish the point of view of each other from the beginning of the negotiation exercise. Cultural believes therefore have a good extent of negotiation process and as such a memorandum of understanding should be written before negotiations can start. The memorandum will establish the ground rules of engagement especially on cultural issues.
Cross cultural management:
People attitude and negotiation
Culture influences people attitudes in deal –making; some cultures believe in win-lose situations in negotiations while others look for win-win situation out of the negotiations. A win-win negotiation process builds long-term relationships, solving problems as well as collaborative; the outcome should benefit each party. Win-lose situation is usually confrontational and it leaves one party with hard feelings while the other is celebrating. A good case in point here is Japanese and Spaniards; while the Japanese believe in win-win negotiations, the Spaniards are for win-lose negotiations. It is therefore important to establish the attitude of the parson across- the- table, before you start negotiations; this will help you know what attitude to adopt or how to persuade the other party.
Personal style is the way a person dresses, speaks, and presents information while in public. Culture has strong influence on personal style of a person; a person who adopts a formal personal style insists on addressing people by their title, being in suits as well as being conservative not to touch on people personal and family lives. On the other hand, people with informal personal styles tend to address people informally; calling them by their first names. They are quick to cultivate personal relationships, which they use as basis of furthering their interests in the negotiations. They dress casually; jeans and T-shirts. Each culture has it personal styles, which should be respected during negotiations because they can influence the outcome. For instance, while in the United States Culture calling people by their first name is termed as an act of friendship. In Japanese culture, it is offensive because it is termed as lack of respect for the other person. Understanding of personal styles you are negotiating with is therefore important because it ensures that you are on the same page throughout the negotiation process.
Communication and its influence on negotiation process
Communication methods are different among different cultures; while some cultures prefer open-direct communication others advocate for indirect communication. Indirect communication mostly employs gestures, facial expressions as well as other body languages. From people who use direct communication such as Israelis and the Americans you expect direct and to the point answer to the proposals you put forward during negotiations. For the indirect, people the best you can get are hints dropped throughout the negotiation process. If you are not careful, you might miss them and this affects the entire thread of negotiation.
Always know the communication method of the people you are communicating with and try to understand them as much as possible. A good case in point here is the negotiation between the Israelis and the Egyptians for peace. While the Israelis prefer direct communication, the Egyptians advocate for indirect communication and therefore they interpret the Israel openness as aggressiveness, which to them is offensive. Understanding the communication style of the people you are negotiating with is good for posterity of the negotiation process. If understanding is not established, then the entire process might just collapse because each side will be dropping clues thinking the other side understands, which unfortunately does not.
International journal of business communication:
Influence of culture in time sensitivity in negotiation
Time sensitivity in negotiation is very important factor that is a function of cultural background of a negotiator. While Americans can quickly strike a deal, the Japanese prefer taking time in structured and formal negotiations. Some cultures advocate for punctuality while others are known for being late. Different cultures have different ways in, which they view and treat time taken in negotiations. For Americans, a deal is the one with the signatures appended to it and the shorter the time the better. As such, they tend to reduce the formalities required in deal reaching and signing.
For Asians and Japanese, they are looking for long- term relationships and therefore, the more the time taken in negotiation the stronger the bond. If these factors are not properly analyzed during negotiations where the two groups (Americans and Japanese) are participating the outcome will be affected. Emotions of the negotiating groups can as well be a factor of cultural background where some people from some cultures exhibit sharp emotions while others try to maintain their cool even when they are offended. It is important therefore that if two different groups especially on time sensitivity are negotiating they establish a common understanding on timings and the length of the negotiation process.