Negotiating Across Cultures

Photo courtesy of Meritous MediaBy Khalid Al-Jufairi

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Cultural variation among negotiators is very common in international business dealing, and understanding these differences is often the key to a successful negotiation.

In global organizations – businesses and NGOs alike – managers often engage in negotiations with subordinates, clients, and partners from different cultures on a range of matters including coordination of operations, arrangement of processes or for the purpose of convincing a foreign partner to sign a deal.

The four key elements that affect negotiations, especially in the variety and substance of transactions and communication as well as negotiation, are namely, as Salacuse (1999) points out, behavior, attitudes, norms, and values.

In global organizations, business transactions not only go across borders, but also across societies, and to effectively manage the outcome of negotiations, Watershed Associates has examined its clients’ insights, and developed simple yet candid best practices in negotiating across cultures:

1. Believe in win-win, mutual gain
2. Build in time and be patient
3. Prepare, prepare, prepare
4. Don't forget the warm-up – start slowly
5. Never say "No"…or "Yes." Use the Negotiated Yes: "Yes, if…"


Chart Source:

Photo courtesy of Meritous Media

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