Cognitive Negotiation Schemata in the IT Industries of Japan and Finland

By Baber, William W.; Ojala, Arto | Journal of International Technology and Information Management, July 1, 2015 | Go to article overview

Cognitive Negotiation Schemata in the IT Industries of Japan and Finland


Baber, William W., Ojala, Arto, Journal of International Technology and Information Management


ABSTRACT

The existing literature emphasizes the importance of negotiation skills in the field of IT. However, negotiation and negotiation styles in the IT industry have received limited attention. This original empirical research compares the negotiation schemata of Finnish and Japanese IT business people. The study identifies negotiation schemata used in one or both culture groups. Negotiators with greater experience and power in the negotiation process command more schemata. However, neither population enjoys the full range of negotiation schemata. Business negotiators in or out of IT and these cultures may benefit from knowing the schemata and the results of matching and mismatching.

Keywords: Negotiation; Finland; Japan; Information Technology; Schemata

INTRODUCTION

In the information technology (IT) industry, where collaboration among various professionals and customers is important, different kinds of negotiation skills are needed. Although the IT industry appears very international and deeply collaborative (Whitehead, 2007), we can assume that practices of negotiation participants vary in different cultures, as negotiation styles are culturally associated (Adair, Taylor, & Tinsley, 2009; Nishiyama, 1999; Tinsley, 2001). That is, if two cultures differ considerably, negotiation styles might also differ. Although the existing literature highlights the importance of negotiation skills in the field of IT; negotiation styles per se have received only scarce attention in the field of IT. This lack has developed despite the literature showing that negotiation skills directly impact for instance IT and software outsourcing decisions (Davis, Ein-dor, King, & Torkzadeh, 2006; Kuivanen & Nahar, 2009), price negotiation of IT services (Vykoukal, Wolf, & Beck, 2009), IT project management (Abraham, Beath, Bullen, Gallagher, & Goles, 2006), and service contracts (Kim, Agrawal, Jayaraman, & Rao, 2003; Raghu, Woo, Mohan, & Rao, 2008) as well as among individuals involved in organization-wide IT implementations (Matsuura, Fuller, Kaufman, Kim, & Baba, 2013).

Based on the research gap discussed above, the research aim of this study is to increase our understanding of negotiation styles among negotiators in an era when technology outruns business management and business people must constantly refine skills for interacting. More specifically, the authors are interested in the negotiation schemata of business negotiators in the IT industry. Schemata refer here to the mental patterns that impact how people process information (Colman, 2009). Boehm, Bose, Horowitz, and Lee (1997) called for new models applicable to software development yet none have appeared beyond their Win-Win Spiral, a process level approach that does not address situational thinking, communication, nor selection and application of mental models.

The knowledge targeted in this study helps us to better understand how IT negotiators apply various schemata in business negotiation and how different factors impact on availability and choice of schemata. The specific research questions are: i) Which schemata are in use among the current generation of Japanese and Finnish negotiators in the IT industry? ii) Do Finnish and Japanese IT negotiators change their schema based on situation? iii) Do age, level in company, position of the negotiator in the team or frequency of negotiation impact availability of schemata or choice of schemata? With this knowledge, IT negotiators may be able to develop better negotiation strategies and overcome some difficulties when interacting in a global business environment. From the theory point of view, this study expands the negotiation schemata literature with specific reference to technology business. In addition, this study contributes to the IT business literature by investigating to negotiation styles in international context.

For this study, we selected negotiators working in the IT industry from Finland and Japan as these two countries are distant in almost every way, geographically, linguistically, and in the measures of widely used cultural comparison tools (Hofstede, Hofstede, & Minkov, 2005; Ojala, 2015; Peterson, Wood, & Smith, 2008; Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, 2012). …

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