Cross-Cultural Business Negotiations : The Impact of Business Cultures from a Swedish Perspective
Sammanfattning: With our increasingly competitive globalized economy, we are experiencing an emerging trend of firms competing on new international business markets (Bell et al. 2001; Huang 2010). In order to successfully negotiate in an international context, cultural sensitivity needs to be taken into consideration (Manrai & Manrai 2010). This study aims to examine how and to what extent professionalnegotiators’ international negotiation process is influenced by different businesscultures. The study was made by in-depth interviews of five Swedish based professional negotiators and their experiences from negotiating in France, Brazil and Singapore. The mentioned negotiation process was based on Ghuari’s(2003) international business negotiation model which consists of a pre- negotiation stage, a face-to-face negotiation stage and a post-negotiation stage. These stages have been analyzed and interconnected with several cultural variables such as cultural intelligence, adaptation, communication, hierarchy and the Hofstede (2011) parameter of collectivistic versus individualistic cultures to substantiate our two research questions: 1) How does culture intervene in the different stages of the negotiation process? And 2) How are the negotiators adjusting their negotiation strategy to better accommodate the specific culture? The empirical findings showed that there are several differences in both theFrench, Brazilian and Singaporean business culture as well as the negotiators’experiences of their need of adapting to the culture they are negotiating with. The data highlighted the importance of cultural understanding and obtaining the knowledge in a pre-negotiation stage in order to prevent unnecessary misunderstandings which could obstruct the negotiation. The major differenceswhich required the negotiators’ understanding and adaptation was the crucialfactor of building a relationship with the Singaporean delegation, the French’stough negotiation approach and the hierarchical setting in Brazil. The conclusions demonstrated the benefits of cultural adaption as well as the potential pitfall of over-adapting and the imperative preparatory work needed in the pre-negotiation stage of the negotiation.
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