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The Negotiation Strategy, Research Paper Example

Pages: 3

Words: 954

Research Paper

Japanese are known to emphasize saving face when dealing with others while Americans and Europeans are comparatively more direct (Heywood). Michele Wilke personally witnessed the power of respecting other’s cultural expectations during her German corporate client’s dealing with the Japanese delegates. The parties had already before the start of the negotiations that the Germans would own 51% share in the new venture while Japanese would own the rest. But during the negotiations, Japanese changed their stance and demanded 51% share. This infuriated the Germans but as advised by Michele, they didn’t show their strong reactions on the face. The Germans said no but didn’t look at Japanese into the eyes. A long pause ensued during which the Germans said nothing and then Japanese left abruptly without saying anything. Three days later, Japanese called their German counterparts and agreed to the 49% share as previously decided (Wilke).

Unlike western cultures, Japanese culture believes in group harmony and patience during negotiation. In western cultures, participants want to get to the facts as soon as possible and are in hurry to finalize the deal. In addition, they are also more direct in expressing their opinions. In contrast Japanese believe in developing social rapport as much as professional relationships. They prefer to save face and do not directly express their disagreement or displeasure. Japanese do not believe that facts are everything in a business deal, thus, they want to develop the right emotional basis as well. Japanese also tend to see conflict as undesirable. Japanese also do not tend to show negative emotions even when they are feeling it which makes it difficult for westerners to understand their state of mind. In addition, Japanese are not taught to engage in aggressive behavior, thus, an aggressive attitude by westerners will do more harm than good to a potential agreement(Kumar, 1999). Germans succeeded in the end because they understood that appearing desperate would do more harm than good. In addition, they took the effort to educate themselves about Japanese culture and showed respect for Japanese cultural traditions in the meeting. They avoided looking Japanese straight into the face, didn’t show their anger even though Japanese were wrong to change their position, and didn’t interrupt the silence in order to give Japanese time to think.

Understanding others’ needs and desires also pay huge dividends in negotiation. Bruno S. Wengrowski, Professor of Contract Management for the Defense Acquisition University in Huntsville, Alabama describes a personal experience with a Greek Shipyard during his stint as a Navy contracting officer in Naples, Italy. It happened that a storm-destroyed destroyed was directed to Greece and the repairs had to be performed on an urgent basis. Due to funds shortage, Mr. Wengrowski had only $15,000 while the repairs estimation came at $40,000. Further complicating the matters was the fact that this was a time of political differences between the U.S. and Greece. The shipyard had not repaired a U.S. ship in over two years but Mr. Wengrowski did observe that the shipyard was a collector of plaques of some 60 U.S. Navy ships it had repaired in the past. Mr. Wengrowski sensed a public relations opportunity and offered the shipyard a plaque as well as a letter of appreciation on the ship’s letterhead. The shipyard did an excellent job for $15,000 but they did display the plaque, letter of appreciation, and a photo of the presentation in their following year’s marketing brochure (Wengrowski, 2004).

Mr. Wengrowski succeeded in meeting his negotiation objectives because he took the effort to figure out what the Greek shipyard valued. He also thought over how he could make a win-win situation for both the parties. He knew that the recommendation of U.S. Navy meant a lot to the shipyard and due to the existing political situation, the shipyard had not repaired any U.S. Navy ship in the last two years. In addition, he realized that the plaques will provide intangible benefits to the shipyard and though it may not cost much to the Navy but the shipyard would get real intangible benefits thus, making it an attractive offer for them.

Both the German-Japanese and American-Greek negotiations involved different cultures. Both parties tried different tactics but they achieved their goals because they showed respect to the other party and tried to understand them. The Germans educated them about the Japanese culture and Americans tried to understand what the Greeks valued. Both of these examples have important implications for workplace. The German-Japanese episode teaches us that differences can only be resolved by showing respect to others and making them feel easy. An overtly-aggressive behavior may fire back if others feel pushed in a corner. When we try to understand others, others are also motivated to sort out the issues at hand. The American-Greek episode teaches us that the probability of success increase when we take the time to understand what others value. If we can convince others of a win-win solution, we can get them on-board in all kind of issues at the workplace.

Thus, successful negotiations depend upon not only our own objectives but also our efforts at understanding the other parties. It is even more important in today’s diversified workplace where employees come from a number of cultural backgrounds. By giving respect to others, we increase the probability of securing their cooperation and successfully meeting our own goals.

References

Heywood, B. K. (n.d.). Know the Culture: “ Values to Keep in Mind When Doing Business in Japan”. Retrieved September 5, 2011, from JETRO: http://www.jetro.org/content/391

Kumar, R. (1999). Communicative Conflict in Intercultural Negotiations: The Case. Kluwer Law International , pp. 63-78.

Wengrowski, B. S. (2004, September-October 26-29). The Importance of Culture and Bargaining in International Negotiations. Defense AT&L .

Wilke, M. (n.d.). Negotiation in Asia. Retrieved September 5, 2011, from Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/answers/startups-small-businesses/small-business/STR_SMB/728430-32721

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