Negotiations are a process in which at least two parties obtain the most favorable solution to a dispute (conflict of interest). International negotiations differ in that their participants come from two, and very often from more countries. For a long time, international negotiations were the domain of authorities and governments. Along with economic development, intensification of trade links, as well as in connection with globalization processes, international negotiations have become a widespread phenomenon in economic and even social life.
Internationalization of negotiations raises many additional problems. It should be remembered that negotiation is a process embedded in an extremely broad social context, and the complexity of the context increases when it involves more than one culture, and negotiations become very complicated if the process takes place across borders. Emerging problems significantly affect the negotiation effect, as Adler and Graham confirmed in their research. In their simulation experiment, they proved that intercultural negotiations generally lead to worse results than conducted within one, their own cultural circle.
Aspects of international negotiations
Additional aspects that need to be considered during international negotiations can be divided into two contexts: environments (independent of either party's negotiators) and direct (factors dependent on those involved in the negotiations).
Environmental context aspects:
- political and legal pluralism. Organizations during international negotiations are somehow forced to come into contact with a foreign, sometimes little-known and incomprehensible political system and legal system.
- international finance. Particular attention is paid here to the exchange rate.
- foreign governments and bureaucracy. In many countries, governments and enterprises, especially from strategic sectors, have a lot in common. Therefore, political considerations can have a big impact on the course of negotiations.
- lack of stabilization
- ideology. Often one of the basic problems in negotiations, especially international ones. Differences due to ideology are among the most difficult to overcome.
- Culture. Considered by experts as a key factor in international negotiations. It causes people to negotiate in a completely different way. Culture differences can affect the negotiation process in at least eight areas: definition of negotiation, selection of negotiators, protocol, communication, time, risk appetite, group-to-individual attitude, and form of agreement.
- external shareholders, defined as various people and organizations with a specific interest or participation in the results of the negotiations. These include trade unions, chambers of commerce, embassies, business confederations, concerns etc. They can help but also significantly hinder the negotiation process.
Direct context aspects:
- relative negotiation potential. It is a function of many factors, including: capital strength, special access to markets, distribution system, economic relations management, etc.
- level of conflict. National, ethnic and geographical conflicts are considered to be special challenges.
relations between negotiators.
- desired results. The wide context of international negotiations means that in addition to the main negotiation problems, the parties also have their own additional priorities. Sometimes they are independent of negotiating partners who may not even know about their existence. Despite this, these side priorities can significantly affect the negotiating effect.
- direct shareholders.
Preparing for negotiations
Relationships between negotiators tend to be completely different, just like their goals they would like to achieve. The experience of both sides will also not be equal in most cases. Personal factors have a significant impact on the final result. It often happens that negotiations evoke emotions that sometimes turn into aggression. Before starting the meeting, you should know what goal we would like to achieve and try to pursue it. It is also important to answer the following questions:
- What compromise am I able to make and where are its limits?
- What is our limit when it comes to the result we want to achieve?
Victory in negotiations largely depends on the degree of trust and credibility of both parties, preparation for negotiations and negotiator's vulnerability. Victory in negotiations largely depends on the degree of trust and credibility of both parties, preparation for negotiations and the negotiator's vulnerability.
A different culture in international negotiations Each culture has different traditions, customs and behaviors in given circumstances. This also has an effect in international negotiations. One could even say that this is the main barrier in reaching international agreement. All these cultural goods have been passed down for generations. It is obvious that even people from the same country may also not agree, while the risk where negotiations are conducted by people from a different culture is definitely higher. Language alone is often not enough to positively understand each other. You also need to know the code used by the negotiators. This means that we must properly interpret words, concepts, gestures, i.e. verbal and non-verbal communication. For some, eating a meal during business negotiations is natural, without the slightest controversy, but for others it may be a very inappropriate situation.
- Rangaswamy, A., Eliashberg, J., Burke, R. R., & Wind, J. (1989). Developing marketing expert systems: An application to international negotiations. Journal of marketing, 53(4), 24-39.
- Hofstede, G., & Usunier, J. C. (2003). Hofstede’s dimensions of culture and their influence on international business negotiations. International business negotiation, 137-153.
- Rodan, B. D., Pennington, D. W., Eckley, N., & Boethling, R. S. (1999). Screening for persistent organic pollutants: techniques to provide a scientific basis for POPs criteria in international negotiations.