R8. International Negotiating Styles - Foster - ch 8 pp 264 - 293.pdf

At the negotiating table differences in this

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At the negotiating table, differences in this dimension can clearly cause serious conflicto Individual responsibility for making decisions is easy in individualist cultures; in group-oriented cultures this can be dif- ficult. Americans too often expect tbeir Japanese counterparts to make decisions right at the negotiating tabIe, and the Japanesé are constandy surprised to find individual members of the American team promoting their own positions, decisions, and ideas., sometimes openly contradict- ing one another. When we look at the rankings ofvarious countries on this dimension, the United States comes out as the mos.t individualistic culture surveyed, with the United Kingdom. the Netherlands. France, and tbe Nordic countries not far behind. Examples of more collectivist cultures ¡nelude Asian and Latín American countries, with Guatemala being the most group.oriented culture surveyed (Guatemala's demographic is primár.
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268 Successfullntemational Communication ily Mayan Indian, with a strong group orientatíon that is almost tribal in nature). lt's interesting to note that. while Japan popularly epitomizes " the group-Qríented culture for the United States, its ranking relative:to " (he rest ofthe world surveyed is somewhere in the middle-an indica- tion not so much ofJapan's strong group orientation but rather ofthe' United States' extreme individualismo ' Americans, subscribing in general to the value of individualism, are ',' often unaware of how extreme and powerful a value it is here and off~ how much it permeates aH aspects of our work. While we have discussedd this at length in an earlier chapter, it bears noting again the way many:'; non-Americans react to being transferred for ayear or so to work in the:, United States. Despite their initial enthusiasm, time and time again we'; have heard (he same refrain after a few weeks: "1 feellost," "There is no;"; one to teH me what to do," "1 thought 1 would have such good friend~':1~ here, but that is not the case," "1 really find it very difficult to workalhi alone all the time." Americans value independence and self-initiativ~{,~ and while many of these expatriates do also, they are coming fron:(~t countries where these values are not as strongly translated into che wol"~'~ environment as they are here. Contrast the non-American's complaip.t;r:l about working here to the typical American's complaints when workingj in group-oriented Asia: "They wouldn't leave me alone," "1 couldJ.l~!X(' even retreat into my hotel room," "lt's as ifit's a sin to be left alone."(lw~ fact, in much of Asia, culturally-speaking, it is.) "H .. ~: :.<:i~ 3. Uncertainty-Avoidance :~:i This dimension measures the comfort or discomfort people in differ~~f~ cultures feel in the presence of uncertainty. In some cultures, pe~:mJ$~ commonly seek to avoid ambiguous, uncertain, unpredictable, or ris!<.~~ (high uncertainty-avoidance) situations, while in other cultures, people~ can be generalIy more comfortable with ambiguous. unpredictable, U:iJ:~~ certain situations and seek out risk (low uneercainty-avoidance). Hig!i,~ avoidance of uneertainty can mean that decisions
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