Fighting Dragons with Dragons: Negotiation

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Fighting Dragons with Dragons: Approaches for Negotiating with Chinese Partners.


Negotiation is a talk between 2 or more person or parties to reach at an understanding or to resolve differences or to gain some advantage as the result of an outcome by argument on something or by bargaining. It is to satisfy the wants or need of the 2 people or parties which is involved in the negotiation.

Negotiation with the Chinese people is very different to the other.

There are 4 cultural threats in the china for the negotiation.

1 Agrarianism-2/3 of the Chinese lives in the rural areas so this culture emphasizes on cooperation harmony and obeisance to the families.

2 Morality- This hierarchical relationship yields to the social harmony. Which seeking the way between passive and active factors which leads to compromise in the business and encourage both the parties to maintain valid positions.

3 the language-Because Chinese language are like pictures so Chinese thinking are also like more holistic processing of the information and focus on the big picture and towards details.

4 Wariness of the foreigners- Millennia of the internal and the external factors yielded the mistrust for the strange and the cynicism about the rules.

The elements

  • Guanxi
  • The Intermediary
  • The Social Status
  • Interpersonal Harmony
  • Holistic Thinking
  • Thrift
  • Social Capital
  • Endurance or Relentlessness

Ganxi:- Business people in china prize the relationships among friends and relatives and the close associates. Their favors are they always remember and they returned it. It is no necessarily return their favors right away but they wait for the right time and then they will return it. They ignore reciprocity is considered as immoral.

The Intermediary:- It is most essential part during the meeting. They always insist on keeping an intermediary during the meet when they are dealing or meeting with the strangers. This intermediary trusted business associates and connects you with his/her trusted associates and creates a personal link with you to your target organization or the target executives. These intermediaries interpret the negotiators mood and body language and the facial expressions. They are not the negotiators but they first raise or point out the business issues and most of the times settle the differences.

Social Status:- The casualness for the social status does not work for the people who value obedience and the deference to the superiors. By sending the low level people or representative for a high level negotiation can break or kill the deal.

Interpersonal Harmony:- Relationships of the equals are cemented through the friendships and the positive feelings that generated during months of the home visits and a longer dinners. Any attempts for doing the business without building the harmony is a rude thing.

Holistic Thinking:- Chinese people discuss every issues simultaneously in an apparently very haphazard order and emphasizing the whole discussion over full detail and in depth. They will not settle anything unless and until everything related is present. This kind of holistic agreement with the foreigners linear approach and the spawns the greatest worry between the negotiation teams.

Thrift:- Chinese people always bargain over the price and padding offers with the room to the maneuver and using the silence and the patience as their tactics. They are expecting the both the sides to make the concessions and more often after weeks of the haggling.

Social Capital:- If any person or party broke the promises or show the aggression or getting anger it causes mutual loss of both and it will result in the disastrous deal.

Endurance or Relentlessness:- Chinese people prize the relentless hard work and they always prepare very diligently for the negotiation and they expect the long bargain sessions. They demonstrate the persons endurance by the way of asking many questions and do your research and show patience.

Feedback:- Chinese people usually don’t take the opportunity of giving the feedback. If someone ask for the feedback that person has to ask very persistently and very politely.

  • Negotiation Feedback:- Chinese people do not like to give the bad news. And giving the negative feedback is pretended as loss of face.
  • Positive Feedback:- This is a well-received if it is given in a low key way that shared by team. Chinese people prefer to receive the praise in the private not in front of everyone.

Negotiation Strategies

Chinese negotiation style: - Western company or people are basically result oriented They focus on their task and based on the terms and conditions and in the limited time they want to achieve the desired results on the other hand Chinese company or people are basically relationship oriented they basically focus on the harmony and flexibility and they are very patient in getting their job done. So if anyone wants to negotiation with the Chinese they have to be very patient and they have to know how to build the relationship.

Building trust:- Chinese people first make the trust and then do the negotiation. So begin for building the trust by mutual respect and modesty with harmony and equality. Chinese people do not directly jump or rush to start the discussion with the business but they like to start their discussion with the introduction. They actually believe that getting know each other first will built the trust in the negotiation.

Rationale:- Chinese people take time for understanding the reason the logic and the motivating factors for the holistic manner. They always believe that there is a win – win deal to be made. They always think for the long term and pick the bottom line approaches or they pick quick fix which is simplest and for the short term.

Cultural Priorities:- In negotiation with the Chinese people Chinese cultural has been prioritize. In Chinese culture relationship is the first priority and then followed by the rationale and the legal.

Style:- Chinese people listen more and they talk less. They may be appear to be delaying and they are gathered pertinent details for the issue and the personality. They are indirect and they have unemotional style accompanied by the vagueness which allows room for the maneuverability and the outs. Chinese people do not like to interrupt for them it is rude way of doing anything.

Compromise: - Chinese people know that they want to compromise and they are willing to compromise. To give something and to take something is the harmony as per the Chinese culture. SO this compromise is not calculated as a weak or a giving in.

Revisiting agreed items or Terms: - for the Chinese people this is usual that revisit the items which are previously discussed and which is previously agreed upon and they try to renegotiate that things. So if this kind of thing happens then the one has to enter the talk graciously and he / she has to be flexible and they have to be prepare well for what you want to do and what you do not want to do and prepare the organization for the changes due to the negotiation.

Ethics:- In the western culture most of the time think the ethical norms is a universal but in the countries like japan china & Korea the ethical norms is different from the western countries. This is the one reason because of which the western countries usually fail in the negotiation with the Chinese. For example in the market research the western company or people directly take the feedback from the customers and the suppliers & expert and honest response. But it cannot work in the china. Because the lack of preexisting relationship. Chinese people who cheat and harm the researcher do not give the honest feedback but they usually give the honest feedback to the friends and employers.


Culturally Embedded Approach

Negotiation Implications

  1. Embrace the Unusual as Normal
  • Eliminate any misplaced personal sense of the western arrogance
  • Seek diverse forms of the knowledge about Chinese history and culture
  • Strive to absorb the Chinese like strategic thinking unconsciously as necessary preparation for the material trust and parry that will occurs while accepting that Chinese partners will want to make up some rules themselves.
  1. Begin with hard ends in mind
  • Start with the goals
  • Seek focus order and purpose as a means of avoiding impulsivity
  • Learn that the Chinese partners are culturally programmed to view conflict as opportunity for creative expression and solutions
  1. Anticipate and prepare for conflict
  • Take active measures in expectation of conflict as opposed to dispassionately waiting while hoping conflict does not arrive.
  1. Never resist resistance always retreat gracefully
  • Accept The Chinese partners resistance maintain corporate and personal flexibility as conflicts arise
  • Strive to blend with and redirect the attacks
  • Develop empathy towards your partner working during solutions that permits each party to achieve key desires
  1. Disclose with discretion
  • Avoid idealizing weird notion of openness and fair play when negotiating with The Chinese partners
  • Understand that Chinese partners view strategic misinterpretation as culturally accepted.
  • Reserve times and places for illusions in one’s own negotiation tactics but only use sparingly selective and strategically.
  1. Act like ladies and gentlemen
  • Acknowledge and account for a current opponents potential for future power
  • Remember taking away a partners face represent a huge tactical error
  • Feed partners self-worth acknowledge their values dignity and position
  • Remember in china selling partners are expected to defer to buying the partners
  1. Last resort never die with bullets left in your guns
  • In the worst case scenarios Recognize the danger quickly and accurately diagnose the core threat
  • Integrate all resources into one zero doubt trust aimed at eliminating or mollifying the most pressing problem
  • Fire only when absolutely necessary truly as a last resort