The initial step in business negotiations is often the selection of company representatives. Negotiators come from all ranks of firms, depending on the size of the firms involved and the size and importance of the transaction. Selection of the best representative can make or break a business deal. More than one American company has found that sending the wrong person to handle negotiations in China has led to failures (Lam, Graham,, 2007, p. 151) Characteristics of negotiators – Following are the major characteristics of negotiators/bargainers: Listening ability – The ability to listen is crucial in any negotiating context.
Negotiation is by definition a joint decisions making which should in turn be made with a s much information as possible, including information about client’s or partner’s needs and preferences. In order to achieve the most favorable negotiation solution for both sides, negotiators must be alert to all the subtle indications of clients’ interests. In addition, good listening is an initial step to persuasion. Interpersonal orientation – This characteristic includes two aspects: first negotiators must attend to a client’s or supplier’s behavior; second they must respond accordingly.
Successful negotiators who have high interpersonal orientations adjust their bargaining approach according to the situation and the behavior of their bargaining partners. Willingness to use team assistance – Willingness to make use of team assistance can make a crucial difference in international business negotiations. Expertise in technical details, financial matters, cultural considerations, and the all-important maintenance of personal relationships is simply too much to expect of one person. The additional expense may be an important and worthwhile investment.
Also the observation of negotiations can be a valuable training experience for younger members of an organization. Self-confidence – The job of negotiator is one of the most difficult jobs of all. Bridging the gap between companies and cultures can be exhausting work. Negotiations are being conducted not only with clients but also with home office. Clients question company’s policy while sales managers question time and money. Self-confidence of belief in one’s ideas is an important personal asset for those working in such situations of ambiguity,
High aspirations – High expectations regarding the business deal are the key, One of the basic lessons of the hundreds of bargaining studies is that bargainers who ask for more in the beginning end up getting more. Thus, given two otherwise equal executives, the one with higher aspirations is the better one to send. Social competence – The importance of personal relationships in business negotiations are very much a social activity especially in China. Social competence, the ability to get along with other people, not only smoothes the social contact points but also tends to encourage the flow of information from the other side of the table.
Thus better more informed decisions can be made regarding the business deal. Influence at headquarters – Having influence at home is particularly important in international negotiations as the negotiators have the task of breaking through both organizational and cultural barriers Language skills – No bargainer/negotiator characteristic is more important in China yet more ignored than the possession of Chinese language skills. Many western companies mistakenly assume English to be the international business language and refuse to seriously learn a foreign language, which is incorrect.
Patience – Patience is critical in China Negotiations and decisions take longer – particularly in the early stages. In addition the negotiators must be quiet by nature as they are more respected by people. (Lam, Graham,, 2007, p. 154-157) Characteristics of team leader – Following are the major characteristics of team leader: Ability to perceive and exploit power Ability to win respect Problem solving skills Preparation and planning skills Attractive Personality Thinking clearly under pressure Verbal expression
Analytical ability Integrity reliability and industriousness Judgment and intelligence Self-confidence Persistence and determination Competitiveness Willingness to use team assistance (Lam, Graham,, 2007, p. 153) Long term versus short term orientation Long term versus short term orientation was added as a fifth dimension to the already existing four cultural dimensions Hofstede, by Hofstede and Bind in 1987. The dimension was identified by a survey of Chinese students by Chinese culture Connection in 1987.
It was initially called the Confucian dynamism and later renamed by Hofstede as long term versus short term orientation, because the value is not limited to the countries where Confucius teachings have strongly influenced. It was intended to account for specific traits of many Asian cultures that had not been covered by the first four dimensions. In the 5th dimension, China scored 118 while for instance Germany scored only 31. With this result China has by far the highest score in dimension Long Term Orientation, followed by Hong Kong with as score of 96 and Taiwan with 87 (Hermann, 2008, p. 51).
The long-term orientation index reflects the Chinese culture and the early teachings of Confucius best. In order to do business in China, it is essential to know that the long-term success has absolute priority over achieving short-term profit. Companies that expand their business portfolio into the Chinese market, have to be aware of this fact. They should not try to go straight forward with their agenda without considering that negotiations with Chinese business partners need time and should be long-term oriented (Hermann, 2008, p. 51).
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