Negotiation In a Cross-Cultural Environment—American versus Japanese
Table of contents
Negotiations always occur between parties who believe that some benefit may come of purposeful discussion. The parties to a negotiation usually share an intention to reach an agreement. This is the touchstone to which any thinking of negotiations must refer. While there may be some reason to view negotiations as attempts by each party to get the better of the other, this particular type of adversarial negotiation is really just one of the options available. Among the beginning principles of a negotiation must be an acknowledgment that the parties to a negotiation have both individual and group interests that are partially shared and partially in conflict, though the parameters and proportions of these agreements and disagreements will never be thoroughly known; this acknowledgment identifies both the reason and the essential subject matter for reflection on a wide range of issues relevant to a negotiation. (Gregory Tropea, November 1996)
Any negotiation challenges the parties involved in a variety of ways, but parties with conflicting interests face important additional difficulties when attempting to negotiate an agreement across culture lines. Not only will the difficulties arising from the known similarities and differences of opinion be more pronounced, but also unsuspected factors could easily enter the picture and condition perceptions of the situation. In cross-cultural negotiations, a reasonable second acknowledgment should be that the hidden factors that are always at work are more likely to interfere with reaching an agreement. It is especially important that this acknowledgment be understood to apply not only to the dynamics of interactions across the table, but those of individuals on the same side of the table. [At times, it may be tempting to attribute the outcomes of negotiations to a single variable (such as the culture or the relative power of a country).] The term culture has taken on many different meanings but basically it reflects the shared values. Culture affects negotiations in different ways. In this paper, we are going to discuss the American and Japanese negotiation styles and the different ways culture affects negotiation in each style. (See Lewicki)
II. The Problem
How to overcome culture differences in cross-cultural negotiations?
III. Problem Analysis
To analyze the problem we have to study the American and Japanese negotiation styles and how culture in its different meanings affects negotiations.
a. The American style (Doing Business with the New Japan, Hodgson, Sano, Graham, 2000)
Probably no single statement...