Business_negotiations.pdf - Francesco Gardani 5 Business...

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Francesco Gardani 5 Business negotiations 1. Introduction 2. Some terminological notes 3. The linguistic aspects of business negotiation 4. Training business negotiation 5. Conclusion 1 Introduction Negotiation, according to Bülow (2009: 142), is a process of communicative interac- tion through which two or more parties aim to solve their con icting interests in a way that all parties regard as preferable to any alternative. Negotiation has also been described as an activity of social decision making (Firth 1995c: 6) or as collaborative decision making (Rai ff a, Richardson, and Metcalfe 2002: title and passim ). It occurs in a variety of contexts ranging from family disputes to con icts concerning the daily distribution of labor at work, the discussion of contractual details, and controversies concerning the use of natural resources or standards of environmental protection, etc. (Mulholland 1991: 1; Rai ff a 2002: 11). In the speci fi c case of business negotiations, the range of activities and domains covered includes, among others, buying and selling, the transfer of know-how, the establishment of agency, distributorship or franchising contracts, cooperation agreements, mergers and acquisitions, and joint ventures. Evidently, the primary goal of business negotia- tions is to attain economic bene fi ts via agreements (Dupont 2002: 375). According to Lampi (1986: 42), what distinguishes business negotiations from other types is their corporate role, the fact that negotiators act on behalf of their principals (see Nickerson 2000: 54 55 and references therein). Due to its necessarily cross-disciplinary character, the topic of negotiation has been studied by students from di ff erent backgrounds, most prominently by sociolo- gists, anthropologists, psychologists and political scientists. In the wake of globali- zation and the rise of free trade, the transformation of the general context in which negotiations take place has increasingly shifted the focus of research to the cross- cultural aspects of business communication, and business negotiation in particular. Researchers have shown that four elements of culture - behavior, attitudes, norms and values - may impact negotiating practice and, based on this insight, have set up catalogues of factors and variables to which negotiators should pay attention in intercultural settings (see, e.g., Salacuse 1999; Planken 2005). Although research on negotiation is thriving and [n]egotiations represent one of the central research areas DOI 10.1515/9781614514862-005 Bereitgestellt von | UZH Hauptbibliothek / Zentralbibliothek Zürich Angemeldet Heruntergeladen am | 11.08.17 12:15
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of Applied Linguistics (Osterkamp, Kindts, and Albers 2000: 3), their linguistic aspects have been relatively neglected in the literature. Linguists interest has largely been con fi ned to a few speci fi c issues, such as (a) the study of cultural aspects of business negotiations (e.g., Usunier 2003; Gelfand & Brett 2004), includ- ing value systems, time orientation, and mindsets; (b) issues of pragmatics, such as the role of politeness (e.g., Thomsen 2000; Spencer-Oatey 2008); and (c) rather
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