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Ten Ways that Culture Affects Negotiating Style
Culture can therefore be seen as a language, a "silent language" which
the parties need in addition to the language they are speaking if they are
truly to communicate and arrive at a genuine understanding (Hall 1959). Culture also
serves as a kind of glue — a social adhesive — that binds a group of
people together and gives them a distinct identity as a community. It may
also give them a sense that they are a community different and separate from
ten factors in the negotiation process that seem to be influenced by a person's culture:
1. negotiating goals (contract or relationship?)
Different cultures may view the very purpose of a business negotiation differently.
2. attitudes to the negotiating process (win/win or win/lose?);
Win-win negotiators see deal making as a collaborative and problem-solving process;
win-lose negotiators see it as confrontational.
3. personal styles (formal or informal?);
Personal style concerns the forms a negotiator uses to interact with counterparts at the
table. Culture strongly influences the personal style of negotiators.
A negotiator with a formal style insists on addressing counterparts by their titles, avoids
personal anecdotes, and refrains from questions touching on the private or family life
of members of the other negotiating team. An negotiator with an informal
style, on the other hand, may try to start the discussion on a first-name basis,
quickly seek to develop a personal, friendly relationship with the other
team, and (if male) may take off his jacket and roll up his sleeves when deal making be-
gins in earnest. Each culture has its own formalities, and they have
special meaning within that culture.
4. styles of communication (direct or indirect?);
Some groups place emphasis on direct and simple methods of communication; others
rely heavily on indirect and complex methods.
5. time sensitivity (high or low?);
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