Week 3 - Internationalization strategy
In today’s discussion, the focus is on internationalization strategy and negotiating in the context of cultural diversity. The concept of “culture” is introduced as the shared values, attitudes, and practices that characterize a group of people, which can be a significant factor in negotiations, especially when parties from different cultures are at the same table. The term “cultural intelligence” is introduced, which refers to the ability to relate successfully in multicultural scenarios. This is an essential skill for negotiators in today’s globalized world. The concept of “organizational culture” is also discussed, focusing on how members of different ethnic groups within the same organization can work together effectively. It is emphasized that people should not be stereotyped based on their culture; instead, negotiators should adopt a more open and dynamic mentality. This approach is referred to as “cultural prototypes,” which helps to consider specific cultural tendencies within the broader context of a culture. The discussion aims to motivate individuals to further develop their negotiation skills, encouraging them to adopt more effective strategies in the global arena of negotiation and to be mindful of cultural differences, even within their own environments.
The concept of culture refers to the shared values, attitudes, and practices that characterize an institution, a group or a community of people who have their own language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music, and art and who are usually distributed throughout the geographical regions of our planet.
Transculturation occurs when a group respects the cultural values of others, with some individuals even adopting the other cultures, but this is not true of their whole community.
The appreciation of cultural diversity requires cultural intelligence, which we can define as the ability to interpret the signals of someone from another culture as well as those from his own culture. It is the capacity to relate and work effectively with others in different cultures. A person with a high level of cultural intelligence tends to avoid prejudices and observe before judging and before acting.
Cultural Intelligence (CI) is the ability to relate and communicate with people of other cultures. Developmental cycle:
- beginning with self-awareness (of either emotions or culture)
- followed by recognition of emotions or culture in other people
- and then opening up dialogue to build consensus.
your actions must show that you have entered his world.
Stereotypes are usually fixed, inflexible, and based on prejudices with a negative connotation to typify another culture.
Analyze our level of cultural intelligence
we can analyze our level of cultural intelligence in the following personal assessment, by rating the extent to which we agree with each of the 12 statements:
- Before I interact with people from a new culture, I ask myself what I hope to achieve.
- If I encounter something unexpected while working in a new culture, I use this experience to figure out new ways to approach other cultures in the future.
- I plan how I’m going to relate to people from a different culture before I meet them.
- When I come into a new cultural situation, I can immediately sense whether something is going well or something is wrong.
- It’s easy for me to change my body language (for example, eye contact or posture) to suit people from a different culture.
- I can alter my expression when a cultural encounter requires it.
- I modify my speech style (for example, accent or tone) to suit people from a different culture
- I easily change the way I act when a cross-cultural encounter seems to require it.
- I have confidence that I can deal well with people from a different culture.
- I am certain that I can befriend people whose cultural backgrounds are different from mine.
- I can adapt to the lifestyle of a different culture with relative ease.
- I am confident that I can deal with a cultural situation that’s unfamiliar.
Shell model for organizations
Professor Schein believes that organizational culture is organized in layers, like an onion, with values (invisible) in the core, and in the outer layers are attitudes and on the surface, behaviors as the last expressions of a culture. Edgar H. Schein
observable manifestations of culture are behaviors that, in diverse ways, can be grouped into cultural prototypes.
In this session, the focus is on international negotiation, a topic presented as both a significant opportunity and a considerable responsibility. Despite the seeming trend towards regionalization, which involves measures to protect local production systems (such as tariff barriers) and which can have serious consequences for international commerce, international negotiation remains crucial. The emphasis is placed on the importance of enhancing and sophisticating negotiation tactics to navigate these challenges effectively. This is particularly relevant when engaging with peers who are different in various aspects, such as culture and language. The session reintroduces the concept of “cultural prototypes” in the context of the “law of large numbers,” suggesting that negotiators should anticipate and understand preferential behaviors in specific cultures as part of their international preparation. These behaviors, known as “cultural dimensions,” serve as comparative measurements reflecting a particular culture. The session aims to promote a message of inclusion that encourages negotiators to step out of their comfort zones and engage with other cultures. It encourages participants to use the information presented, along with existing literature on internationalization, to design new strategies for navigating the increasingly complex global landscape and to view this as an opportunity for personal and professional growth.
- Constantly be aware of the complexity of the situation
- Avoid stereotyping and respect the differences
- Practice active listening and ask questions, even if they seem trivial
- Learn to distinguish perspectives
- Always act honestly. (Are organic and natural really the same?)
International negotiations are very demanding because of the different time zone, cultural differences, language, food, and lodging. Furthermore, there is greater susceptibility to illness because of stress. Therefore, the negotiator should be in optimal physical and mental conditions. In order to adapt, it’s best to arrive two or three days before the date of the negotiation. That time should be spent talking with your interlocutor or translator, and reviewing the material that will be used in the negotiation. It’s very important to be prepared for the negotiation before leaving home.
Time usage differences by countries
Time as a negotiation tactic (USA) American negotiators tend to minimize the time spent on activities not related to the beginning of the negotiations themselves, usually acting as if today were the last day of their lives. They negotiate with conviction and interpret delay and indecision as signs of evasion or incompetence. “Time is gold.”
Time as a negotiation tactic (Germany) Germans spend a lot of time in procedural aspects. They want well-planned and well-organized negotiations that are efficient and effective and use a set agenda and organization as the means to achieve these ends.
Time as a negotiation tactic (Spain) Spanish negotiators need to establish a climate of confidence as the first step to build loyalty and trust, concentrating on family and mutual friends. Spaniards believe there’s a lot of time and move slowly. They see negotiation as a pleasant process, with the results almost a sub product.
Time as a negotiation tactic (China) The Chinese are more relaxed and move at a comfortable speed that meets their personal and national interests. This deceleration is sometimes employed as a conscious trick in negotiation to exasperate their counterpart, if he tends to be impatient.
Time as a negotiation tactic (Japan) The Japanese prefer relatively short sessions, but need numerous sessions with long periods of time between them. The group should exhaust all of the issues and reach consensus over their next posture before meeting again with their counterpart.
Time as a negotiation tactic (México) In Mexico, schedule commitments are desirable but not firm promises. Mexicans tend to put people before work and don’t allow schedules or business to interfere with family or friends.
Hofstede’s six cultural dimensions are:
- the power distance index (strength of social hierarchy)
- individualism vs. collectivism
- the uncertainty avoidance index
- masculinity vs. femininity
- short-term vs. long term orientation
- restraint vs. indulgence