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Cross-Cultural Negotiation Styles Between the United State and Japan

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Cross-cultural Negotiation Styles between the United State and Japan

Huyen Thi Minh Dinh – z5225068

Tutor: Charlotta Oberg

Word Count: 828

  1. Introduction  

In a globalized society with huge number of companies entering into international joint ventures and strategic alliances, negotiation plays an important role as communication tool for business development in global environment. However, understanding intercultural difference is limited resulting in high “divorce rate” among these alliances. As such, the requirement of cultivating the ability to negotiate as well as cross-cultural aspect is extremely necessary to build successful global partnerships. As a case of Western versus Eastern categories of negotiation, the US-Japan relation is a longstanding cooperation in both the economy and diplomacy since 1858 (Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs 2018). Although both countries mutually support and engage in many foreign policy areas, differences in culture leading to different ways of negotiation can be the challenges and hardships for them. Therefore, the illustration of not only the similarities and differences based on Hofstefe and Hall’s theorical framework but also the strategic recommendations in this report can be the good advices that help either the United State or Japan businesses know how to conduct and negotiate better with each other to increase the engagement and credibility in the bargaining process.

  1. Cultural difference in negotiation between Japan and U.S

The cultural differences have influence on negotiation style between The U.S and Japan. Indeed, the Japan’s culture is oriented to collectivism, which refers to the degree of interconnection with others in community based on Hofstede’s value dimension while the U.S people are interested in high level of individualism. The Japanese have a tendency to build and develop the long lasting loyalty, trustworthy relationships and strong business engagement that they can depend on, contrasting with the Americans requiring the independence and self-reliance in working and being competitive and arguing to negotiations as their approach (LeBaron 2003). Furthermore, the dimension relating to long term orientation reflects different organizational goals between two countries since the Japanese are future-oriented people which concentrate on continuous association and investment in the long run as well as increasing capital rate and market share rather than measuring and maximizing short-term profits to drive themselves to strive for higher achievements as the people of the United States. Besides these two categories, another Hofstede’s dimension has a high gap between two countries is uncertainty avoidance, which is captured the level of feeling uncomfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity. Obviously, the U.S people are risk takers and have higher acceptance of uncertainty instead of following strictly rules to avoid risk factors like the Japanese.

In addition, according to Hall, the culture dimension of context demonstrates the distinction in the way of the interpreting directly or indirectly the meaning of messages when negotiating. The U.S is described as a low context culture indicating explicit expressions in communications versus Japan – a high context country tends to be in a position of listeners usually keeping quiet and utilize gestures like nod to avoid offense because of the importance of hierarchical structure in organizations (Adachi. 2010). The second Hall’s category is time referring that whether people approach monochronism meaning completing sequentially goals versus polychronism described doing simultaneously multiple goals. The dimension also reflects how people separate between the personal and profession works. In the United States, monochromic time is the most common approach while Japan is the country conducting polychromic time. Although the Japanese still prefer juggle one task at a time when making a deal with foreign organizations or handling with technologies, it may have an effect in effective business negotiation as well as communication (LeBaron. 2003).

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