Ways to resolve Cross cultural Negotiation

15/03/2021 0 By indiafreenotes

Negotiations are rarely easy, mainly because they tend to consist of two sides trying to “beat” the other. However, if you ever find yourself working internationally or cross-culturally, negotiating can be even harder.

The major sources of disputes involve roles, emotions, misinformation (and misinterpretation) and values. These will all be present in the workforce, whether there is a degree of cultural integration or not. The presence of various cultures may increase the potential for the sources of conflict to come to the surface in a harmful way.

Culture can be a basis of our roles and values. A society that values the roles of women in the workforce will not see a contradiction between being a mother and a businessperson. This is an interpretation of values as applied to roles. Just as we as Americans have our value and role systems, so to do other cultures.


  1. Don’t assume all disputes that involve people of different cultures, have a cultural component.
  2. Provide a thorough explanation of the dispute resolution process. Never assume that what you are saying is being understood.
  3. If feasible, draft documents in the language of all parties.
  4. Provide for, or allow for, the use of interpreters.
  5. Respect the other person’s point of view.
  6. Ask for frequent expansion on points that you are unfamiliar with, especially if they relate to cultural issues.
  7. Investigate the cultural norms of the people that are involved in the dispute. It could be a matter of misunderstanding. This is also useful for validating cultural claims.
  8. Confront cultural discrimination in the workplace and show no tolerance for it.
  9. Highlight the presence of the various cultures at your work and foster understanding through cultural events. Tolerance is built on understanding.
  10. Recognize and investigate the cultural differences in the use of body language, emotions and problem solving.
  11. Create opportunities for the parties to validate the concerns of each other. This includes the recognition and constructive expression of differences. Likewise, cultural similarities should be creatively sought out and highlighted.
  12. Educate those from other cultures on the values and norms of our society, so as to diminish the potential for culture clash.
  13. Be patient, flexible and willing to learn.
  14. Be creative in fashioning solutions. Think out of the box and encourage input on how things are done “over there”.

You Can Still Say No

Understanding how to negotiate in cross-cultural situations requires constant learning, curiosity, and respect, but the rewards can be immeasurable. Perhaps the most challenging aspect to prepare for is how to manage a negotiation where you do not reach an agreement. There is an added feeling of pressure to reach a deal when one goes to great efforts to reach out to a potential counterpart, but going into a negotiation with this in mind can be the most valuable asset, because a respectful no can become “not now,” and lead to unexpected agreements down the road instead. By using these five approaches to cross-cultural negotiations, you can begin to forge those kinds of relationships and the lasting agreements that come with them.

Break Bread Together

American negotiators prize the idea of “getting down to business,” and negotiators from other countries around the world do too, but not always. In many cultures, tackling the issues of a negotiation head-on neglects an important social element that is just as necessary for creating a lasting deal.

Listen to Your Interpreter

Being able to speak the language of a counterpart can seem like a tremendous advantage in a challenging negotiation, and sometimes it is. Yet language can also be deceptive, leading a negotiator to believe they have a window into the other side that may not be as clear as we might think. Precise language is the key to creating lasting agreements, and attempts to speak the language of the other side can undermine that precision with misunderstanding. Negotiation experts often advise having a trusted interpreter at your side instead.

Negotiate Important Issues Separately

Understanding the importance of negotiating respectfully with a counterpart should be paramount in any situation. When preparing for how to negotiate in cross-cultural situations, the same rules apply, but for that reason, they need not overwhelm one’s preparation. Negotiation comes down to reaching a mutually acceptable agreement over issues that matter to all of the parties, and that means getting to the issues. Sometimes it also means separating them out and negotiating each one distinctly.