Cross-Cultural Business Negotiations

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

CONCLUSIONS
In summary, three major rules would start you on the route to success in cross-cultural negotiations:
1. Recognize that a foreign negotiator is different from you--in perceptions, motivation, beliefs, and outlook. Identify, understand, accept, and respect the other side's culture. And be prepared to communicate and operate on two separate and different cultural wavelengths. One should not assume that anything that is acceptable in one's own culture is necessarily acceptable in all other cultures. One must adjust the pace of negotiations to that of the people with whom you are trying to do business. One must always remember that in any negotiations, with anybody anywhere, you have the option of saying no to a deal. Even if one has been working hard for a long time to get the deal, one must accept fate. One must treat everybody with whom you deal with the greatest personal respect. You must be guided by what you feel comfortable doing rather than by what you feel is right or wrong. Good and enduring personal relations between negotiators lead to long-term relationships between their companies and this is how mutual prosperity occurs.
2. Be culturally neutral. Being different does not denote being better or inferior. Do not cast judgment on the other party's cultural mores any more than you would want them to judge your values. It may be true that from a moral point of view some foreign customs may appear senseless, capricious, even cruel and insane to you. But remember you are visiting the country as a businessperson--not as a missionary. You plan to do business there--not to convert the natives to American customs and practices. Recognize that they probably feel the same way about your culture as you do theirs. It may not be necessary to adopt their values as part of your own personal value system. All that is necessary is that you accept and respect their norms as part of their culture.
3. Be sensitive to their cultural norms, dos and taboos. Try to understand what they are and how your behavior may impact them even if it causes you discomfort or emotional stress. Yet it is necessary to accept, and to proceed with the business without showing distress if one wishes to come home with an agreement that is beneficial to both parties and marks the start of a long-term, healthy relationship between two companies from two cultures. One way to bridge cultural differences is to demonstrate interest in, knowledge of, respect for, and appreciation of the other side's culture. Failure to do so can easily be interpreted as an act of cultural superiority and arrogance, a statement

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