MGT 470-1: Conflict Management and Negotiation
September 28, 2014
Whether it be in business or world politics, agreements cannot be reached without communication and negotiation. For businesses and countries alike, the approach to these negotiations must meet the needs of both cultures equally for a positive outcome to be achieved. Perspective taking is the process of imagining the world from another’s perspective or “putting yourself in another’s shoes.” Some of the positive effects of perspective taking include a decrease in the confirmation bias and stereotyping. In negotiation, perspective taking involves actively considering the other party’s alternatives, interests, and/or approach to negotiation, prior to engaging in negotiation. (Lee & Seo, 2013)
To begin negotiations, one must first understand what culture is. Hofstede defined culture as “the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one human group from another. Culture in this sense includes systems of values and values are among the building blocks of culture.” From an individual perspective, these values differ based on nationality, gender, generation, and social class. All of these values, according to Hofstede, are learned at a young age and are quite difficult to overcome. For cross cultural negotiations to be successful, these values must be unlearned so that an understanding of other cultures from their perspective is possible. Since culture dictates the way individuals act, it is obvious that culture will also dictate the way individuals communicate. American’s have a strong belief in shaking hands and making eye contact when meeting or negotiating as a way to measure each other. If an American were doing business with a Japanese businessman, these practices would be seen as impolite because the Japanese believe prolonged eye contact is rude. Overcoming cultural communication can be tough, but with proper training could be beneficial to those who learn how to use it in negotiation situations. In the global business market, many negotiations are found in mergers, acquisitions, and in the sale and purchasing of products. In 2005 Google entered into the Chinese internet market to compete with China’s Baidu and Tecent SoSo. In 2010 the problem arose that Google was not willing to accept the Chinese censorship of the internet any longer and pulled its operations out of mainland China and into Hong Kong.
As a single-party state, modern China has placed special emphasis on extensive control over society and the economy. During China’s drastic economic reforms though, elements of traditional Chinese culture and values have been challenged and undermined by free ﬂows of information. As electronic resources and internet use became more pervasive, Chinese people could easily access information from every corner of the world, which not only helped overcome decades of cultural and social isolationism, but also raised concerns that the government would lose its monopoly power over social control. (Tan & Tan, 2012) When Google first entered the market in 2005, the heads of Google decided to accept the Chinese filters in line with their business model. As time went on, Google realized that their share of the Chinese internet market was much smaller than the Chinese companies and that the continuation of allowing filters on searches was compromising Google’s chances of succeeding in China. The decision was made in 2010 to pull from China since an agreement could not be met.
Looking at this case from a cross cultural negotiation style could have made room for a better relationship between China and Google. By viewing the Chinese from a cultural standpoint, Google may have been able to work with the Chinese government over time. The Chinese economy is growing and like all world economies, it looked to have large businesses of their own. Simply staying in the market and competing with