Reflective Journal: Cross Cultural Negotiation Essay Example
Basically, negotiation can be regarded as a process through which two or more parties attempt to reach a mutual agreement. In most cases, the agreement reached, is based on a decision that satisfies the interests of both parties and each party take part in the negotiation process becomes completely content with the decision that was made. Throughout this course, I have come to learn that in as much as the general concept of negotiation is easy to understand in theory, in practice it can be difficult to carry out. It becomes even more difficult when negotiating across different cultures. As Cohen (2007) and Schneider & Barsoux (2002) note culture is a very powerful aspect that impacts on how people think, behave and communicate. Generally, cultures are products that are exhibited from both individual and social behaviors like values, beliefs, societal norms, customs and rules (Cohen, 2007; Schneider & Barsoux, 2003). Through the various lessons and activities we had in the course of the semester, I came to learn that when negotiating across cultures there are various cultural aspects and simulations that have to be taken into account in order for the negotiation process to become successful.
Part 1: Reflection on negotiations during the course
As part of the course requirement, in the course of this semester, we participated in four negotiation processes. I consider these negotiations as cross-cultural in nature, since they involved parties from different cultures. Each negotiation process provided valuable insights and lessons on how to conduct negotiations especially when dealing with people from different cultural backgrounds. The first negotiation we carried out involved selling a secondhand car on behalf of client who was a Thai student. The initial selling price of the car was set at $ 18, 500, however this price was negotiable. In as much as the set price was negotiable, it was important that through a successful negotiation process we should reach the best deal possible. During the negotiation process, we provided a detailed description of the model and features of the car in order to assure the customer that the car model and features matched up to its value. Moreover, we presented to the client a flexible purchase option in form of a loan scheme. The loan scheme entailed, the customer buying the car at the set price of $ 18, 500 through a monthly payment of $850 within a period of 24 months. The fact that the negotiations took place on a face-to face basis made it easy for us to effect a successful negotiation. Eventually, the customer agreed to buy the car at the set price through a monthly payment of $850 within a period of 24 months. I believe that this negotiation process was a success. We employed a behavioral approach during this process by focusing on our personalities and roles in the course of the process (Heavrin & Carrell, 2008). From this negotiation process, I learnt that good communication skills are very crucial to any negotiation process (Lothar, 2008).
In our second negotiation, our group played the role of Japanese land developers seeking to increase the size of their resort. This scenario required us, as the land developers to negotiate with the local community representatives regarding the development of a hotel resort on a specific waterfront land on Hinchinbrook Island. Our key aim during this negotiation was to negotiate about three key issues relating to this development. The first issue entailed the location of the proposed resort. In this case, we had to produce a map showing the proposed location of the resort. Furthermore, we had to present a brief proposal to the local community representatives. The second issue entailed, negotiations on the possible environmental effects that the proposed resort would bring about to the local community. In this case, we had to persuade local community representative that the development of the resort next to a waterfront land on Hinchinbrook Island would not bring any detrimental effects to the local community. Negotiating this issue was difficult since most community representatives were convinced that this development would bring about detrimental effects to the local community. The third issue was with regards to the possible effect of the resort to local. I believe that when it came to this issue we had an upper hand since we gathered enough evidence showing how this development would boost the local economy by attracting tourists and providing employment opportunities. From the onset of this negotiation process, I knew it was going to be difficult mainly because of the conflicting interests between the local community and the resort project. Although, we applied all the possible negotiation skills and the process took longer than expected, we did not get a deal. From this process I learnt that in as much suitable negotiation skills can be used, a negotiation can fail due to conflict of interests (Asherman & Asherman, 2001).
Part 2:Reflection on the preparation
Our team comprised of eight students, five from China, two from Saudi Arabia and one from the Philippines. I think that our initial meetings prior to the negotiation process were successful due to a number of factors. Foremost, our team members were very dedicated and resourceful. Secondly, the cultural diversities within our group helped us to come up with creative ideas and make better decisions. During our weekly meetings, we communicated very well and as a result we were able to come up with creative and effective strategies of conducting a successful negotiation.
One of the key strategies we used when coming up with ideas and suitable approaches of conducting the negotiation was brainstorming. During our weekly meetings brainstorming enabled us to explore and discuss some of the possible strategies that can be used to carryout successful negotiations. Each group member presented different views regarding what strategies and skills should be used in the course of the negotiation. At first, it was a bit difficult to reach a consensus on what issues should be discussed during the negotiation however, after much discussion we prioritised important factors and came to an agreement on what factors should be discussed during the negotiation process. We managed to avoid conflicts in the course of our meetings by accommodating and respecting each others perspectives. Group members did their best to avert conflicts by avoiding cultural stereotyping and findings solutions to address variables that may arise in the course of the negotiation process (Evangelista, 2003).
Part 3: Reflection on negotiation planning process
The group meeting we had helped us to a great extent to identify the suitable statics and strategies to use during the negotiation process. Some of the tactics and strategies we used were based on the cross-cultural negotiation theories and concepts that we had previously learnt in class. For instance, we employed the behavioral game theory which accentuates on the need to exhibit reliable behavioral patterns We also based our strategies and tactics on the structural theory which recommends that the outcomes of the negotiation process are based on the function of various structural features that determine the negotiation process. With these theories in mind we planned to foremost focus on the behavioral and structural aspect of the negotiation process (Camerer, 2003).
Prior to the negotiation process, we had established our goals with regards to a general idea of the outcomes that we expected from each negotiation process. In this case we had to consider what Datong will not consent to and redirect our focus on what they may consider. Our group agreed that it was necessary to consent our maximum proposition which 40 mines closed or no money invested. Nevertheless, as a measure of good faith we gave them second highest value. This is inline with the behavioral game theory.
In this negotiation our key goal was to get the best deal by ensuring that we get at least a 60/40 share. Personally, my main priority was on ensuring that in as much as we had set out goals earlier on, we should at least be flexible on the means through which we would achieve our goals. Thus when it came to the negotiation process, rather than insisting on our propositions we should provided Datong with an alternative. Another behavioral aspect that we intended to exhibit during the negotiation process was showing sensitivity to social cues or interpersonal sensitivities. Given the fact that each party comprised of individuals from different culture, it was very crucial for us not to ignore important cues, react too strongly or misinterpret intentions due to our personal biasness (Rubin, 2002). Secondly, we planned to structure the negotiation process in such as way that will ensure each party will benefit from the process.
Part 4: Reflection on the final group negotiation simulation
Subsequent to the group planning process, the final negotiation process took place in the last week to close of the semester. I was confident that our group was going to have successful negotiations mainly because we came up with a strategic plan detailing the roles of each group member, the expected outcomes of the negotiations and the means of realising these outcomes. Personally, I was assigned the role of presenting our proposal to the other parties. Therefore, I had to ensure that I employ suitable communication skills that would lead to a successful negotiation. We allocated adequate time for the development of strategies so as to ensure that our negotiations were successful (Heavrin, and Carrell, 2008). We used the concession exchange approach that involved creating a balance between both the strategic and the structural approach. As a result, we were able to use varying approaches in the course of the negotiation process so as to realise a win-win deal.
The negotiations begun by an introduction of the group members then I carried out a brief presentation, I gave out handouts so as to help the other party follow up on our propositions. As a team we had decided that we would agree to a deal that would either see a small number of mines closed, few jobs reduced a significant number of engineers trained, the upgrade of the railway track and equal division of profits. Although we did not get exactly what we wanted from the agreement, at the end of the negotiation, I believe that it was a win-win situation. We agreed to close down of 25 mines, reduction of 1000 jobs and training on 100 engineers. Generally, these negotiations were successful as were able to obtain 60% advantage from the negotiation. From these negotiations, I learnt about the importance of effective planning, good communication and flexibility during a negotiation process.
Asherman, I. & Asherman, S. (2001). Negotiation sourcebook. Massachusetts: HRD Press.
Camerer, C. (2003). Behavioral Game Theory: Experiments in Strategic Interaction. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Cohen, R. (2007). Negotiating Across Cultures. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace
Evangelista, M. (2003). «Culture, Identity, and Conflict: The Influence of Gender,» in Conflict and Reconstruction in Multiethnic Societies, Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.
Heavrin, C. & Carrell, M. (2008). Negotiating Essentials: Theory, Skills, and Practices, New York: Pearson Education.
Lothar, K. (2008). Negotiating International Business and Principles of Negotiating International Business. NorthCharleston: Booksurge.
Rubin, Z. (2002). “The Actors in Negotiation.” In International Negotiation: Analysis, Approaches, Issues. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Schneider, C. & Barsoux, L. (2003). Managing Across Cultures. New York: Financial Times, Prentice Hall
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