Cross-Cultural Business Negotiations

By Donald W. Hendon; Rebecca Angeles Hendon et al. | Go to book overview

10
Haggling

Many people have convinced themselves that haggling and negotiation are essentially the same process. Unfortunately, that misconception can lead to problems when either technique is used inappropriately. Haggling is a social style associated with bargaining, while negotiation is more of a formal process of reaching an agreement, with primary emphasis on end results. Haggling, by its very nature, is a time-consuming endeavor that requires a certain set of personal values, preconceived notions, attitudes, and motivations if it is to be pursued successfully. The process of haggling depends upon both verbal and nonverbal communication skills that require a working knowledge of human psychology ( Herbig and Kramer, 1992). With its primary emphasis on the social aspect of the activity, haggling can often resemble a sporting encounter. This is especially true with the suq model of haggling, which is prevalent in Middle Eastern countries. To haggle successfully, regardless of the country involved, requires skill, practice, and experience.

"Haggling" means to bargain, to dicker, or to argue in an attempt to come to terms. As a highly structured behavioral system, haggling is marked with verbal threats, counter-threats, disclaimers of interest, and sign language. Its structural format is composed of several steps. These steps include a first offer by the merchant, followed by an initial rejection by the potential buye--made after objecting that the offer is ridiculous--followed closely by a counteroffer from the merchant, another counteroffer by the buyer--after an exchange of indignant words--another counter by the seller, a feign of interest in different items and a move to leave by the buyer, then finally, a completed transaction ( Kassaye, 1990).

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