The following excerpt listed below is reprinted here with permission. It is a very interesting
article with some absolute gems when it comes to considering the cultural implications in any
international dealings. It’s also very long and dry like most research. I would NOT recommend
reading this baby unless you are committed to finishing it. Otherwise, make sure you sitting on a
comfortable couch…… (I suggest printing this one and digesting it in small doses).
The pervasive impact of culture on international negotiations
The primary purpose of this section is to demonstrate the extent of cultural differences in
negotiation styles and how these differences can cause problems in international business
negotiations. The reader will note that national culture does not determine negotiation behavior.
Rather, national culture is one of many factors that influence behavior at the negotiation table,
albeit an important one.
For example, gender, organizational culture, international experience,
industry or regional background can all be important influences as well.
Of course, stereotypes
of all kinds are dangerous, and international negotiators must get to know the people they are
working with, not just their culture, country, or company.
The material here is based on systematic study of international negotiation behavior over the last
three decades in which the negotiation styles of more than 1,500 businesspeople in 17 countries
(21 cultures) were considered.
The work involved interviews with experienced executives and
participant observations in the field, as well as behavioral science laboratory work including
surveys and analyses of videotaped negotiations. The countries studied were Japan, S. Korea,
China (Tianjin, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong), Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Russia, Israel,
Norway, the Czech Republic, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Brazil, Mexico,
Canada (English-speakers and French-speakers), and the United States. The countries were
chosen because they constitute America’s most important present and future trading partners.
Looking broadly across the several cultures, two important lessons stand out. The first is that
regional generalizations very often are not correct. For example, Japanese and Korean
negotiation styles are quite similar in some ways, but in other ways they could not be more
different. The second lesson learned from the research is that Japan is an exceptional place: On
almost every dimension of negotiation style considered, the Japanese are on or near the end of
the scale. For example, the Japanese use the lowest amount of eye contact of the cultures studied.
Sometimes, Americans are on the other end. But actually, most of the time Americans are
somewhere in the middle. The reader will see this evinced in the data presented in this section.
The Japanese approach, however, is most distinct, even