The Cross Cultural Negotiation Variables

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Weiss (1993) identified twelve variables in the negotiation process which will lead to understanding negotiating style better.

Different groups view the purpose and process of negotiation differently. Negotiation may be seen as a conflict in which one side wins and another loses, as a competition to identify who is best or as a collaborative process to formulate some undertaking. The winner of a negotiation in some countries is the one who gains the most concessions, regardless of the value of the concessions.

Every group chooses negotiators on the basis of a variety of factors. Negotiators may be selected on the basis of their previous experience, their status, knowledge of a particular subject, or personal attributes.

Different groups stress different aspects of the negotiations. Some groups stress substantive issues directly related to the agreement while others stress relationships.

Different groups have their own particular etiquette associated with the negotiation process and their adherence to protocol varies according to its perceived importance. Protocol factors that should be considered are gift giving, entertainment, dress codes, seating arrangements, numbers of negotiators, timing of breaks, and planned duration of the process of negotiations.

Different groups communicate in different ways and are more comfortable with one or another form of communications. Some groups rely on verbal communications, others on nonverbal. Some groups rely on one method, others mixed. The more varied method of communications, the more complex is the communication context and the more care must be given to understanding the context.

Different groups attempt to persuade others and are persuaded by the use of a variety of different types of arguments. Some rely on facts and logical arguments, others on tradition and the way things were done in the past, still others on intuition or emotion and others on the beliefs associated with a particular religion or philosophy.

Individuals play different roles in different societies. In some groups, the individual is seen as very important and a particular individual's success or failure can depend on the outcome of the negotiation process. In other groups, individuals are subordinate to the home negotiating party and personal ambitions are contained.

Trust is a necessity if groups are going to work together to their mutual benefit and all groups seek to establish trust with the other parties in the negotiation process.

Negotiation involves a degree of risk because the final outcome is unknown when the negotiations begin. Different groups view uncertainty and risk as relatively desirable or undesirable.

The value of time differs from one group to another. Some people view time as limited and something to be used wisely. Others view time as plentiful and always available, therefore they are more likely to expect negotiations to progress slowly and to be flexible about schedules.

Decisions are made differently in different groups. They may be made by individuals or by the group as a whole. Some groups accept the decision of the majority of the group members. Other groups seek consensus among group members and will not make a decision until all member have agreed.

In some cultures, written agreements are expected; in others verbal agreements or a handshake is accepted. In some cultures, agreements are detailed and set out as many points as possible. In others, broad general agreements are preferred with details to be worked out as they arise. In some cultures, agreements are expected to be legally binding, in others, there is little faith in legal contracts and much more emphasis is placed on a person's obligation to keep his or her word.

Chinese Negotiation Style

China is going to be used to demonstrate that culture affects negotiation style. From Tony (2006)'s research, there are three main Chinese negotiation styles. The Chinese negotiation styles includes Maoist bureaucrat in learning, Confucian gentleman, and Sun Tzu-like strategist.

The Chinese negotiator as a Maoist bureaucrat always follows government's plan when doing business. The negotiator combines business with politics, avoids taking initiatives, shuns responsibility, and fears criticism. The Chinese negotiator is smart and tough because he is trained by Chinese bureaucracy daily in which bargaining is an important element (Davidson, 1987: Frankenstein, 1988; Lieberthal and Oksenberg, 1986; Pye, 1982).

Being a Confucian gentleman, the Chinese negotiator behaves refers to the mutual trust and benefit, looking for cooperation and "win-win" solutions for everyone to succeed. He behaves high value on trust and sincerity on his own part. He analyses contracting essentially as an ongoing relationship or problem-solving process instead of a one-off legal package (Deverage, 1986; Kindel, 1990, Seligman, 1990; Shenkar and Ronen, 1987). He associated business with 'guanxi', friendship, and trust. His negotiation strategy is characterized by cooperation, basically.

As a Sun Tzu-like strategist, the Chinese negotiator think negotiation is a "zero-sum game" and the marketplace as a battlefield (Chiao, 1981; Chu, 1991; Mun, 1990; Pye, 1982). He sets out to "win-lose" you, and never stops bargaining. The Chinese negotiator is skilful, provided with a formidable many of Chinese stratagems from his ancestors. Sun Tzu-like strategist adopts apparently soft but essentially tough tactics in negations. His negotiation strategy is characterized by competition.

Managerial implications

Sending the right team to negotiate in China is extremely important, the status of the team members will directly affect the attitude of Chinese host organization toward your company. Your team leader should be a person with charismatic charm, a patient personality, credibility and sufficient authority to make a key decision.

It is crucial importance to show the Chinese the political support and governmental backing behind your China missions when negotiating large industrial high-risk B2B projects in China. The Chinese government is an importance player in business networks (Kock 1995).

When embarking on a china venture makes sure you know the real Chinese negotiators. Despite the large Chinese team with many participants, the real Chinese negotiators usually are absent from the negotiation room. By identifying and negotiating with the real Chinese negotiators, you may, as a Chinese proverb stated, "Get twice the result with half the effort."

The number 8 is adored (whereas the number 4 is disfavoured) in Chinese culture. So try to use design 8 numbered products for China as a metaphor to enunciate the importance of respecting and learning Chinese sociocultural traits.

From the perspective of Confucianism, China is a familistic society in which it takes time to build trust between non-family members. "The Chinese distrust fast talkers who want to make quick deals" (Pye, 1982, p. 92). By being patient, tolerant, calm, persistent, and honest in dealing with the Chinese, you will eventually win the Chinese heart and trust.