The art of negotiation plays an important role in communication. Negotiation approaches vary from culture to culture. It is important to understand the cultural backgrounds of the people that we negotiate with to follow the right approach that is agreeable to them. This paper will look at the five negotiation approaches used by the Chinese and their effectiveness when applied in a US setting.
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The Chinese normally insist on general terms that are to guide the negotiation process before it begins. This helps them to control the location where the negotiation is going to be held if they are the hosts. They usually make the other side to show their level of interest in a proposition first before they reveal their own interest. They do this to analyze the weaknesses of the other party and how they can exploit them. Chinese businessmen usually look at ways they can benefit from a business transaction at the expense of the other party (Miles, 2003, p.454). These approaches are likely to catch an American businessman doing business with the Chinese by surprise. The Chinese businessman is likely to have a psychological edge over the American businessman. The Chinese businessman is likely to come up with conditions that favor his position during negotiations.
The Chinese know how to act with authority, whether it is real or imagined. They use strong-arm tactics to push their position through to gain an advantage over the other parties they are doing business with. They know how to apply psychological force to make the other parties yield to their position for their own benefit. This makes them use all types of tactics to strengthen their bargaining power. They compel the other parties to reveal their interests first in a transaction to be agreed upon, and then afterward, they delay revealing their own interests. They use time as a tool of coercion to make the party yield and concede to their demands (Miles, 2003, p. 455). This approach can be very effective for the Chinese in the US, where the element of time in business negotiations is highly treasured. Many American businesspeople look for ways to close business transactions within a short time.
During negotiations, Chinese business firms use many people who do not have clearly defined roles and levels of authority. Some of these people deflect attention from the people with the real authority who pretend to be aloof during the negotiations. They bring in unrelated issues to the negotiating table, which are not of interest to the other party. This approach is used to exasperate the other party as the Chinese take time to strengthen their own bargaining position. Sometimes they use go-betweens who push their agenda more vigorously to make the other side concede without a fight. This approach can work in the US because the other side of the transaction is likely to get distracted by these deceptions. They are very good at masking their true intentions, which makes the other party think that they are weak (Miles, 2003, p. 456). They use hard bargaining tactics that work for them on many occasions.
They use shame to instill guilt in the other party for past or present mistakes. The use of shame as a tactic is meant to weaken the bargaining position of the other party so that they can take advantage. They can make the other party feel shameful so that they later use it as a trick to make forceful demands. They do not shift from their own positions and use unorthodox methods to stay put. When they feel that they have less control over the process, they change negotiators and the locations to ensure that they bring in new negotiators who are more forceful. They will pretend that they are angry to blackmail the other parties to agree to their demands (Miles, 2003, p. 456). This approach may not necessarily work in the US because American businessmen do not like negotiations, which are emotional and manipulative. An American businessman is likely to call off negotiations that are very coercive.
They normally insist in their negotiations that friendship is the same as an obligation. This makes them coerce the other parties to submit to their demands. They also like going back to renegotiate previous agreements whenever it suits their interests. They are likely to tell the other party that the competitor next door offered better terms to them on a deal being discussed. This is meant to make the party they are negotiating with desperate. They know how to lessen or lift expectations of the other party, depending on whether the process is working in their favor or not. They like going back to issues that had already been settled in previous discussions (Miles, 2003, p. 457). This approach may be ineffective in the US because Americans prefer transacting business with transparent and honest people. A US business person will not appreciate being told that the person he is about to do business with proposed the same transaction to his biggest competitor.
Miles, M. (2003). Negotiating with the Chinese. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 39 (4), 453-472.