PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATION AND TRANSLATION STUDIES, 3 (1-2) / 20109 INTERCULTURAL NEGOTIATIONS: A CULTURAL APPROACH
Ovidius University, Constanta
Abstract: The peculiar characteristic of international business negotiations lies in their being influenced by a wide diversity of environments, which require changing perspectives that determine the selection of appropriate tactics and strategies. When negotiating internationally, what is right, reasonable, or appropriate are parameters largely dependent on the cultural values of the country in which the act of negotiation takes place. This article intends to explore different negotiating styles evolving from various cultures: some favoring the search for compromise, others opting for consensus, while others fighting until the “opponent “surrenders.
Key words: cross-cultural negotiation, cultural systems, cultural assumptions, masculine/ feminine cultures, individualistic/collectivistic cultures
1. Theoretical premises
Since all human interactions are inherently intercultural, one can rightly consider that even the meeting of two individuals is an intercultural exercise since they both have different ways to perceive, name and reinvent reality. Negotiations with an employer, family member, friend, fellow employee, union representative, official from a foreign country, and so on are to a large extent determined by intercultural variables. Therefore, we need to live with the knowledge that we have to negotiate and that in every negotiation (domestic or international), the participants have different points of view and different goals.
Moran and Stripp (1991:91) consider that negotiations occur within the space delineated by the four Cs: common interest, conflicting interests, compromise, and criteria. Common interest refers to the fact that each party involved in the negotiation process has, or wants something that the other party possesses or claims. Conflict occurs when people disagree on matters of reciprocal interest such as payment, distribution, profits, contractual responsibilities, and quality. Compromise goes hand in hand with the attempt to find a solution to areas of disagreement. Finally, such criteria include the conditions under which the negotiations take place. Although all negotiations in general take place within the context mentioned above, each and every negotiation in particular is determined by the political, economic, social, and cultural systems of a country. The theory of the negotiation process (Hendon &Hendon1996: 14) includes the following elements: (1) bargainer characteristics, (2) situational constraints, (3) the process of bargaining, and (4) negotiation outcomes. The situation likely to ask for bargaining is a conflict of interest exists between two or more parties. Negotiations are influenced by factors like: communications and actions involved in the act of bargaining, preexisting background factors of cultural traditions or relations and specific situational conditions under which the negotiation is conducted.