Term Paper: Cross-Cultural Communications Cross-Cultural Business Negotiations: A Chapter

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Cross-Cultural Communications

Cross-Cultural Business Negotiations: A Chapter-by-Chapter Review

Cross-Cultural Business Negotiations

In chapter's one and two, the authors Hendon, Hendon & Herbig (1999) provide an overview of what they refer to as the "art" of negotiations, suggesting negotiations are the essence of communications and have been carried out since the time of early Romans. Negotiation as an art form is as important today as it was to people who used it during early times, in business or in other ways. The authors define negotiation modernly as, "two or more parties with common and conflicting interests who enter into a process of interaction" the goal of which is reaching a mutually beneficially agreement (Hendon, Hendon & Herbig, 1).

Negotiations may be referred to in many ways, but most accurately as part of the "decision-making process." According to the authors, for negotiation to be successful, those involved in it must work toward two common goals; these include creating value and "claiming" value. In the former, business members engage in cooperative processes where partners seek methods of benefiting fully from a relationship; in claiming value, the parties look to uncover interests they have in common that may complement each other, and then work to reconcile those interests in a way that hopefully provides a setting where all parties may benefit from (Hendon, Hendon & Herbig, 1). Negotiations are divided into five primary traits in this section, including: goals, negotiations, outcomes, consideration of existing cultural traditional and specific situational conditions under which negotiations must occur (Hendon, Hendon & Herbig, 2).

While chapter 1 focuses on the "what" of negotiation, or attempts to define it, chapter 2 focuses on the "why" specifically related to international negotiation. The authors note that international business is becoming increasingly common among American companies, and with that the need for understanding why international negotiations is important. At the heart of this chapter is the idea that business opportunities internationally can only be exploited when business people realize the value of international and successful cross-cultural negotiation.

Review Chapters 3-4

In chapter 3, Hendon, Hendon & Herbig (1999) continue their exploration of cross-cultural negotiations, further expounding on why cross-cultural negotiations are essential, and how culture is reflected in individuals from various cultures when negotiating. Hendon, Hendon & Herbig note that English negotiators work differently than western negotiators, and French negotiators may work differently from others as well. The primary point the authors make is that negotiations will occur differently contingent on what country and parties the business people are negotiating within. The authors note that while many Westerners might expect a "prompt answer" to statements and questions posed during the negotiation process, the French may engage in conversation more for the very sake of conversing in itself; they may also have more practical idea about what needs to be discerned during the negotiation state of business relationships. What one must take away from this chapter is that cross-cultural negotiations are influenced significantly by one's heritage, country and cultural upbringing, and that for successful negotiations to occur, business people have an obligation to consider the cultural context in which negotiations are conducted.

In chapter 4, the authors begin to examine the "how to" of business negotiation by exploring verbal forms of communication and their impact on business relationships. Hendon, Hendon & Herbig (1999) note that there are "culture-specific factors" that influence how people verbally "encode and decode" messages exchanged through common discourse (p. 43). True to form, the authors note that in various cultures, the meanings of verbal words are often different and must be considered contextually if individuals are to communicate effectively with members of opposing cultural backgrounds. For example, the authors use an example of an American, who much prefers to bargain, and considers those who fail to do so, "cold, secretive and not serious about business" whereas the Dutch businessperson doesn't care much for the art of haggling; understanding this will affect one's ability to communicate effectively across many cultures (Hendon, Hendon & Herbig, 43). What one must take away from this chapter is that what an individuals "says" through verbal communication may greatly influence the success or failure of communicative practices.

Review Chapters 5-6

In chapter 5, the authors dig deeper into the "how to" of communication by comparing the verbal importance of communication to the nonverbal factors involved in communication. Specifically, Hendon, Hendon & Herbig (1999) focus on how nonverbal behavior influences cross-cultural negotiations, and how non-verbal actions may have a stronger influence on the outcomes of negotiations than words actually spoken between two or more parties.

The authors define nonverbal behaviors as any behaviors; "intentional or unintentional" that is "beyond the words themselves" but words the receiver can interpret to have significant meaning in the course of negotiating (Hendon, Hendon & Herbig, 61). Nonverbal communication may include various forms of communication including the level of eye contact one utilizes while communicating, the gestures used during communications, one's posture, physical appearance and even the space they allow between two people during intimate discourse (p. 61).

Most individuals grow up and engage in "habitual" or "normal" nonverbal behaviors that are customary to their culture. What is important to realize is that Nonverbal communication must be monitored during cross-cultural communications, because what is acceptable to one culture may prove insulting to another. In theory it is possible one an engage in conversation in complete absence of verbal communications, relying solely on examination and interpretation of one's nonverbal actions to derive meaning from discourse. One must also realize that interpretation of nonverbal gestures will vary from person to person depending on their cultural norms and what one considers important vs. another.

In chapter 6, Hendon, Hendon & Herbig (1999) begin to explore the "when" of cross-cultural communications. Here the authors note that "a culture's attitude toward time" may influence how important communications are between cultures, and may influence the development of interpersonal relationships in a business context (p. 77). if, in a cross-cultural environment, everyone seems busy and overworked, it is likely that there is little if any chance business people will engage or place much importance on creating "long-term solid personal relationships" (p. 77). Rather, in this situation, those communicating cross-culturally will instead focus on providing succinct, relevant and important information that relates directly to the matter at hand. They are more likely to stick with a stringent agenda and compartmentalize communication, in a way that ensures all communications has a much defined beginning and a firm ending, so that time is not wasted and communication is maximized for efficiency of purpose (p. 77).

Review Chapters 7-9

Chapter 7 focuses on the "who" of communication in the cross-cultural context; chapter 8 focuses on the "where" of communication and chapter 9 focuses on the "what" of cross-cultural communication. Hendon, Hendon & Herbig (1999) in chapter 7 note the "who" involved in cross-cultural negotiations and communication often involve "teams" of individuals representative of a workforce negotiating and collaborating with each other to reach a determined outcome based on pre-established business objectives and purposes. The authors note that in an international context, because negotiations are often long-term in nature, members of a team may change from time to time (Hendon, Hendon & Herbig, 1999, p. 93). This may prove unsettling, unless team members are prepared for such changes and able to act on them quickly. Cross-cultural teams should realize that change may occur on a consistent basis, and must be willing to adapt accordingly to facilitate greater continuity in communications (p. 93). Without this lack of "continuity" as described by the authors, members of cross-cultural teams are more likely to perceive negotiations as disorderly or unreliable, detracting from the primary objectives of communication (Hendon, Hendon & Herbig, 1999, p. 93).

In chapter 8, the "where" of cross-cultural negotiations is discussed through exploration of the location in which negotiations can occur, with emphasis placed on the idea that "where" negotiations take place can result in favoritism or benefit to one party more so than another (Hendon, Hendon & Herbig, 1999, p. 107). If a party is able to meet on his or her own terms on his or her own soil, they are likely to take advantage of the competitive advantage that this affords them. When business people meet however, in a more neutral setting, it is more likely that true collaboration or a meeting of the minds will occur, with location less likely to impact the final outcome of negotiations and discourse (Hendon, Hendon & Herbig, p. 108). Playing "host" to a negotiating party as the authors suggest, may allow the host company to "treat the other party like royalty" which may enhance relationships or place an obligation on the other party to lean in favor of members of the collaborative team negotiating for the host country (Hendon, Hendon & Herbig, p. 108). Playing "host" allows greater competitive advantage as one working on their territory work in an area they are intimately familiar with; they can take advantage of timing, location and other… [END OF PREVIEW]

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