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Business negotiations – international negotiations

In previous posts of the series on business negotiations we took up the threads of preparation for negotiations and negotiation styles. Because negotiations are a comprehensive and extremely complex topic, it is also worth knowing what types of negotiations are and how each of them can proceed. This time we will focus on international negotiations.

International negotiations – do they differ from negotiations with compatriots?

Participants from different cultural backgrounds are the main challenge here. This diversity can often be a factor hindering conversations. And it is not a matter of vocabulary, because we can have it mastered to perfection, regardless of the language in which we speak.

What is extremely important at the stage of preparation for international negotiations is first of all a thorough knowledge of the culture of the country from which our contractor originates. We should not start conversations without a thorough knowledge of the habits and values that guide him because of his origin. We must remember that what from our point of view may seem completely normal or not significant, for the other party may be a factor affecting the further course of conversations, and in some situations even considered offensive and lead to the termination of conversations.

Cultural dimensions in international negotiations. What are their characteristics?

Below are the dimensions of the cultures developed by Geert Hofstede. Their knowledge can significantly facilitate preparation for international negotiations, and ultimately lead to their positive final.

Avoiding uncertainty – a dimension that links the search for order and structures with compliance with legal regulations

Distance of power – a dimension indicating the prevailing political system in which power is not connected with society. It has a complicated bureaucratic system and citizens have limited access to government. It is also associated with social hierarchy, and in business a loose or rigid approach to levels in the organization.

Institutional collectivism – consists in the division of own goods. It can mean, for example, very developed or on the contrary social assistance.

Group collectivism – based on this dimension, it is possible to determine the affiliation of a given individual to specific social groups and attachment strength. A characteristic feature here is the tendency to sacrifice for the public good at your own expense.

Gender equality – a dimension that presents extreme views: either promoting equality or, on the contrary, inequality.

Assertiveness-firmness – their own views are expressed in a confrontational and firm way. It concerns attitudes towards other individuals as well as the organization or the state itself.

Future orientation – thanks to this dimension it is possible to determine orientation on spontaneity or on planning and subordinating current activities to the future. It also expresses the need to put plans in time, because in some cultures there is a rule that the saying “I’ll do it in a while” may mean that it will happen in a dozen or so or several dozen years.

Task orientation – a dimension focused on achieving success and rewarding it by the environment and the state. Found primarily in countries where success is their domain.

Humanitarian orientation – a dimension in which the way of rewarding an individual for altruistic and pro-social behavior is determined. He also emphasizes the importance of this type of behavior in society.

Other aspects affecting the course of international negotiations

The above dimensions allow a fairly accurate determination of what type of culture we will be dealing with during conversations. However, these are not the only factors that may affect their course. In addition to cultural dimensions, it is also worth considering:

  • Political and legal pluralism, i.e. the current political system
  • The level of bureaucracy between the government and organizations
  • Degree of political and economic stability
  • Currently prevailing ideology and political trends
  • Negotiation habits in a given culture

To conduct effective negotiations, including international negotiations, one must have adequate foundations. Therefore, if your company is entering into international contracts or you have them in the near future, it is definitely worth raising the team’s competence by providing it with professional business workshops. In the case of strategic contracts, negotiating sparring partner can also help. In turn, when this type of negotiation occurs sporadically, it is worth considering the option of “negotiation on behalf of”. Negotiating experts will then perform this difficult task for you.