In The Cultural Context in Business Communication.
Eds. Susanne Niemeier, Charles P. Campbell & Rene Dirven Amsterdam: John Benjamins Pub. Co., 1998. pp. 51-118.
Negotiating with foreign business persons
An introduction for Americans with propositions on six cultures
Stephen E. Weiss with William Stripp*
York University, Canada
Ten years after “Negotiating with foreign businesspersons”:
A 1995 preface
In December, 1984, I completed the first draft of this manuscript on cross- cultural negotiation. I had worked eagerly, for this subject was a longstanding interest whose pursuit I had postponed in order to concentrate on other research concerning negotiators’ communications. What emerged was too long for a journal article, too short for a book.
Even as a university workingpaper, the manuscript quickly circulated internationally. Its analytic framework, in particular, attracted attention. It appeared in books such as Harris & Moran’s Managing Cultural Differences (Houston: Gulf, 1987) and Gauthey et al.’s Leaders sans frontières (Paris: McGraw-Hill, 1988). Though never published in its entirety, the paper influenced thinking, particularly in North America, aboutcultural dimensions of negotiation.
* This manuscript was originally written while the first author served on the faculty of New York University’s Stem School of Business. It was indexed there as NYU Working Paper . #85-6. For this printing of the manuscript, the original text remains largely unchanged. The only modifications were relabelling some elements of the framework and reordering text tocorrespond to the framework.
Additional research assistance was provided by Gaik Eng Lim and Betty J. PunnetL
Stephen E. Weiss with William Stripp
The editors’ offer to insert my earlier paper in this volume, some 10 years later, indicates its continuing appeal and usefulness. Indeed, I hope — and believe — that it occupies more than an historical spot in the development of knowledgeabout international and, specifically, cross-cultural negotiation. This preface provides an opportunity to recall the original context and purposes for the paper, but also to highlight subsequent development of the field, a modification of the original framework, and contemporary uses for it.
In the early 1980s, US-based management research and practitioner literature on the cultural dimensions ofnegotiation was very limited. One of the most insightful books at the time was International Negotiation: A Cross- Cultural Perspective (Chicago: Intercultural Press, 1980), written by former US diplomat Glen Fisher. Management researchers were just getting started on the subject. In sum, there existed little systematic, comparative research on business negotiations.
Thus I set out to develop, forAmerican researchers and practitioners, a preliminary yet encompassing framework by which to consider cultural aspects of negotiation. I was interested in mapping out as much as I could of the territory as a whole, first by identifying a variety of possible variables (which I technically called “focal points for cultural impact”) and second, by “pushing the envelope” to uncover their full range ofvariation. That was the impetus for selecting 6 diverse national cultures to explore. Alternatively put, this work was essentially a pre-empirical effort intended to sensitize readers to possible culturally-based differences in negotiation attitudes, behaviors, and contexts; organize thinking about the subject; and by stating explicit propositions, stimulate discussion and further investigation.Since those days, the field of international business negotiation has grown steadily, aided greatly by the booming development of the two fields it intersects: international business, and negotiation. Now there is a substantial body of research on the subject (for details, see the 1996 reference below). In the tradition of this manuscript, one can find an entire stream of comparative research...
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