During the last 15 years, a group of colleagues1 and I have systematically studied the negotiation styles of business people in 16 countries (18 cultures) — Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China (northern and southern), Hong Kong, the Philippines, Russia, Czechoslovakia, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Canada (Anglophones and Francophones), and the United States. More than 1,000 business people have participated in our research.
I chose these countries because they comprise America’s most important present and future trading partners. I’d very much like to study negotiation styles in Tahiti, but, at the moment, we don’t do much business there. I have learned two important lessons by looking broadly across the several cultures. The first, I no longer generalize about regions. Had you asked me ten years ago, “Do Koreans and Japanese negotiate in the same way?” I would have responded, “I suppose so, they’re both Oriental cultures”.
Anyone who has negotiated in both places knows the folly in that naivete. Indeed, the Japanese and Korean styles are quite similar in some ways, but, in other ways, they couldn’t be more different. So now I talk about one country at a time, and 1 over the past 15 years, a group of colleagues and I have been gathering data for this research the following institutions and people have provided crucial support for the research for this article:
U.S. Department of Education, Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc.; Solar Turbines, International (a division of Caterpillar Tractors Co.); the Faculty Research and Innovation Fund and the International Business Educational Research (IBEAR) Program at the University of Southern California; Ford Motor Company; The Marketing Science Institute; Madrid Business School; and Professors Nancy J. Adler (McGill University), Nigel Campbell (Manchester Business School), A Gabriel Esteban (University of Houston, Victoria), Leonid I.
Evenko (Russian Academy of the National Economy), Richard H. Holton (University of California, Berkeley), Alain Jolibert (Universite de Sciences de Grenoble), Dong Ki Kim (Korea University), C. Y. Lin (National SunYat Sen University), Hans-Gunther Meissner (Dortmund University), Alena Ockova (Czechoslovak Management Center), Sara Tang (Mass Transit Railway Gorporation, Hong Kong), and Theodore Schwarz (Monterrey Institute of Technology).