Cross-Cultural Negotiation in the Contemporary Essay

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Typically, difference in expectations between Japanese and American is manifested because of the cultural variables. American believes that it is acceptable to express emotions openly. On the other hand, Japanese culture does not believe in overt expression. Japanese considers the overt expression as unacceptable, and in most cases, Japanese considers the American overt expression as a sign of aggressiveness.

Japanese considers endurance and harmony to be important. Japanese believes that individual is expected to endure hardship in fulfilling the business obligations and this is reflected in the Japanese business style. On the other hand, American believes in business deal that reflects little or no hardship. That is the reason American believes in achieving short-term and immediately goals in the business outcome. (Kumayama, 1991).

Saee (2008) discusses in how the non-verbal behavior varies between Japanese and American culture and its impact in the negotiation process. Non-verbal behaviors such as facial expression, and body language often covey multiple messages in negotiation. They represent the strategy negotiator communicate the words rather than the words themselves. During the negotiation process, Japanese use most of the time to keep silent while American use a moderate time to keep silent. Japanese keep silent during the negotiation to consider the offer put forward by American. On the other hand, American misinterprets Japanese silence as rejection of offer.

Sitting arrangement in the boardroom is also one of the important aspects in negotiation. American sits opposite each other during negotiation. On the other hand, Japanese sit at right angles. Japanese sitting arrangement represents harmony in the negotiation approach, and they consider American sitting arrangement as a sign of confrontation.


Globalization has made the increasing number of multinational companies to engage in face-to-face negotiations to achieve business objectives. While firms consider business expansions outside the national boundaries to be an important tool to achieve competitive market advantages, cultural differences between countries often needs to be managed before firm could achieve a successful business negotiation. American businesses engage in negotiations for several purposes, which include mergers and acquisitions, licensing agreements, and seller-buyer relationships. Dissimilarities between American and Japanese cultures make American and Japanese business leaders to face a daunting challenge in reaching a timely mutual agreement.

The paper recommends the following negotiation guidelines for both American and Japanese business leaders to consider before and during negotiation process:

Plan the negotiation ahead of time

Study the culture of other parties before the negotiation time

Adopt a win-win strategy

Maintaining high aspirations;

Use simple and accessible language

Build solid relationship;

Be patient during

Maintaining personal integrity;

Very critical to be cultural literate within the host country environment.

List of References

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Kumayama, a. (1991). Japanese/American Cross-Cultural Business Negotiations. Intercultural Communication Studies. I.1: 51-67. Retrieved 23 September 2012 From

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