Negotiating in the global marketplace

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An article recently posted by Inc. highlights the importance of cultural considerations in negotiation and business activities. As a third-party quality provider, understanding and taking into account cultural differences can give companies a competitive edge. This is particularly relevant in sourcing activities, where cultural barriers can impede successful negotiations.

One resource that delves further into this topic is the book “When Cultures Collide” by Richard Lewis. The Inc. article also provides examples of negotiation styles in different countries, such as Canada, England, Germany, Spain, Italy, Scandinavia, Switzerland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland, The Netherlands, China, India, Australia, Singapore, Korea, Indonesia, and Israel. These examples demonstrate the importance of understanding cultural differences in order to effectively navigate business interactions and negotiations.

Negotiation patterns around the world

When it comes to negotiation styles, cultural differences can play a significant role. For example, Canadians tend to be more low-key and inclined to seek harmony in negotiations compared to Americans, who are more direct. This can be attributed to the cultural values and norms of the respective countries. In Canada, there is a strong emphasis on politeness, respect and harmony. This is reflected in their negotiation style, where they tend to avoid confrontation and seek common ground. On the other hand, Americans are known for their direct and assertive negotiation style. This can be attributed to the country’s culture of individualism and self-reliance. Understanding these cultural nuances can give one an edge in negotiations.

Similarly, English people tend to avoid confrontation in an understated, mannered, and humorous style that can be powerful or inefficient. This approach to negotiation can be attributed to the country’s history and culture. In England, politeness and formality are highly valued. This is reflected in their negotiation style, where they tend to avoid direct confrontation and instead use subtle and indirect communication. However, this approach can be inefficient if the other party is not familiar with the cultural norms and fails to understand the indirect message.

Germans, on the other hand, rely heavily on logic in negotiations and tend to present more evidence and labor their points more than either the British or the French. This can be attributed to the country’s strong emphasis on rationality and order. In Germany, there is a strong emphasis on facts and figures. This is reflected in their negotiation style, where they tend to use logical arguments and present a lot of evidence to support their case. This approach can be effective in negotiations where objective facts and figures are important.

Spanish and Italians view their languages as instruments of eloquence and are known to use it to achieve greater expressiveness in negotiations. This can be attributed to the rich cultural heritage of the respective countries. In Spain and Italy, there is a strong emphasis on expressiveness, flamboyance and drama. This is reflected in their negotiation style, where they tend to use their language as an instrument to express themselves and persuade the other party.

When it comes to cultural differences in negotiation styles, Scandinavians often have a unique approach. Due to their long, dark winters, they tend to have entrenched opinions that they’ve had time to formulate. Despite this, they are still considered reasonable conversationalists. Swedes are known for having the most wide-ranging discussions, while Finns tend to value concision in their negotiation style. Norwegians often fall somewhere in between these two extremes.

Swiss negotiators are known for their straightforward and unaggressive approach. They often achieve concessions by expressing confidence in the quality and value of their goods and services. In contrast, Hungarians value eloquence over logic and are not hesitant to talk over others during negotiations. Bulgarians may take a circuitous route before seeking a mutually beneficial resolution, but this process is often hindered by bureaucracy.

Poles have an enigmatic communication style that can be both pragmatic and romantic. They often alternate between a matter-of-fact approach and a wordy, sentimental one. The Dutch, who are highly focused on facts and figures, are also known to be great talkers. They rarely make final decisions without a long and thorough debate, sometimes approaching the danger zone of over-analysis.

Chinese negotiators tend to be more direct than the Japanese and some other East Asians. However, meetings are primarily for information gathering and real decisions are made elsewhere. Hong Kongers, on the other hand, negotiate more briskly in order to achieve quick results. Indian English is known for its ambiguity and truth and appearances are often subject to negotiation.

Australians tend to have a loose and frank conversational style, Singaporeans generally take time to build a relationship before becoming shrewd negotiators, Koreans tend to be energetic conversationalists who seek to close deals quickly, occasionally stretching the truth. Indonesians tend to be very deferential conversationalists, sometimes to the point of ambiguity. Lastly, Israelis tend to proceed logically on most issues but emotionally on some.

In conclusion, understanding cultural differences is key to successful negotiations and business activities. A third-party quality provider who has local knowledge and cultural expertise will have a competitive edge in the market. Resources such as “When Cultures Collide” can provide valuable insights and a deeper understanding of different negotiation styles across cultures.

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