Cross Cultural Negotiating A Japanese-American Case Study from Higher Education

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Summary In the article “Cross Cultural Negotiating: A Japanese-American Case Study from Higher Education”, R. Prestwich discusses about the negotiating process between a Japanese and an American Universities. These last ones want to form a dual-degree program joint-venture. The author describes the negotiating process as “…the single most important influence on the success or failure of a negotiation”1 and divides it into the following six steps: Step1: Preparation Step 2: Relationship Building Step 3: Information Building Step 4: Persuasion / Inventing Options for Mutual Gain Step 5: Concessions / Choice of Best Choice Step 6: Agreement This process is applied to the joint-venture negotiation between the Japanese and the American Universities. The author uses the terms awase and erabi, originally coined by Kinhide Mushakoji, to describe the negotiating styles of the Japanese and the Americans respectively. The Japanese culture is said to be very high-context, valuing group interests, along with social obligations. Feelings and thoughts are not expressed explicitly. In another hand, the American culture is very low-context. It values individualistic interests and communication is very explicit and straight to the point. The “win-win” negotiating style, where both parties seek the highest interests, is the most applied in international negotiations; however, the Japanese and the Americans tried to accommodate the other party by shifting their negotiating approach. Unfortunately, the negotiations still failed because of their primary difference in cultures. The author, then, goes through the six stages again by discussing about the “red flags” that rose during the negotiations. For example, Japanese people value trust in building a relationship and therefore, usually make contracts verbally. In this case, the Japanese made the effort to provide

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