Chapter 7

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International Management
International
Ninth Edition
Management
Luthans | Doh
Fred Luthans
Jonathan P. Doh
Ninth Edition
Chapter 7
Cross-Cultural Communication
and Negotiation
International Management
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Cross-Cultural Communication
and Negotiation
• The specific objectives of this chapter are to
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
DEFINE the term communication, examine some examples of verbal
communication styles, and explain the importance of message
interpretation.
ANALYZE the common downward and upward communication flows
used in international communication.
EXAMINE the language, perception, culture of communication and
nonverbal barriers to effective international communications.
PRESENT the steps that can be taken to overcome international
communication problems.
DEVELOP approaches to international negotiations that respond to
differences in culture.
REVIEW different negotiating and bargaining behaviors that may
improve negotiations and outcomes.
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The Overall Communication Process
• Communication
– The process of transferring meanings from sender
to receiver.
– On the surface this appears straightforward.
– However, a great many problems can result in the
failure to transfer meanings correctly.
• Communication can be verbal or nonverbal.
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Verbal Communication Styles
• Context
– Information that surrounds a communication and helps
convey the message.
– Context plays a key role in explaining many communication
differences.
• Messages are often highly coded, implicit, and indirect
in high-context societies.
– Japan, many Arab countries
• Messages are often explicit and speaker says precisely
what s/he means in low context societies.
– U.S. and Canada
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Explicit-Implicit Communication
An International Comparison
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Major Characteristics of Verbal Styles
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Verbal Communication Styles
• Indirect and Direct Styles
– High-context cultures: Messages are implicit and
indirect; voice intonation, timing, facial
expressions can play important roles in conveying
information.
– Low-context cultures: People often meet only to
accomplish objectives; they tend to be direct and
focused in communications.
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Verbal Communication Styles
• Elaborate to Succinct Styles
– Three degrees of communication quantity—elaborating,
exacting, succinct
1.
Elaborating style most popular in high-context cultures with
moderate degree of uncertainty avoidance
– Widely used in Arabic countries
2.
Exacting style focuses on precision and use of the right amount
of words to convey message; more common in low-context, lowuncertainty-avoidance cultures
– Used in England, Germany, and Sweden, etc.
3.
Succinct style more common in high-context cultures with
considerable uncertainty avoidance where people say few words
and allow understatements, pauses, and silence to convey
meaning
– Most common in Asia
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Verbal Communication Styles
• Contextual and Personal Styles
– Contextual style focuses on the speaker and the
relationship of parties
• Often associated with high power distance,
collective, high-context cultures
• Speakers will choose words that indicate their
status relative to the status of the others.
– Personal style focuses on the speaker and the
reduction of barriers between parties
• More popular in low-power-distance,
individualistic, low-context cultures
• Speakers use first names in addressing others.
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Verbal Communication Styles
• Affective and Instrumental Styles
– Affective style is characterized by language requiring the
listener to carefully note what is said and to observe how
the message is presented.
• The meaning is often nonverbal and requires receiver to use
intuitive skills to decipher message.
• Common in collective, high-context cultures
• Middle East, Latin America, and Asia
– Instrumental style is goal oriented and focuses on the
sender who clearly lets the other party know what s/he
wants the other to know.
• More commonly found in individualistic, low-context cultures
• Switzerland, Denmark, and the United States
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Verbal Styles Used
in 10 Select Countries
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Communication Flows
• Downward Communication
– Transmission of information from manager to
subordinate
• Primary purpose of manager-initiated
communication is to convey orders/information
– Managers use this channel for instructions and
performance feedback.
– Channel facilitates the flow of information to those
who need it for operational purposes.
– Sending a mixed signal is never helpful.
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Communication Flows
Suggestions for Communication
• When communicating downward with nonnative speakers
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Use most common words with their most common meanings.
Select words with few alternative meanings.
Strictly follow the basic rules of grammar.
Speak with clear breaks between words.
Avoid using esoteric or culturally biased words.
Avoid the use of slang.
Don’t use words or expressions requiring the listener to form
mental images.
8. Mimic the cultural flavor of the nonnative speaker’s language.
9. Paraphrase and repeat basic ideas continually.
10. At the end, test how well the other person understands by
asking him/her to paraphrase what has been said.
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Communication Flows
• Upward Communication
– Transfer of meaning from subordinate to superior
• Primary purposes are to provide feedback, ask
questions, and obtain assistance.
– In recent years there has been a call for more upward
communication in the U.S.
– In Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore upward
communication has long been a fact of life.
– Outside Asian countries, upward communication is
not as popular
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Communication Epigrams
continues
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Communication Epigrams
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Communication Barriers
• Language barriers
– Knowledge of the language used at headquarters is
not enough.
– Fluency, technical knowledge, and writing skills are
also important.
– Misinterpretations often result from unskilled use of a
language.
• Cultural barriers in language
– Geographic, cultural, and institutional distance
challenge managers.
– Written communications are heavily influenced by
culture.
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Communication Barriers
• Perception
– A person’s view of reality
• Advertising Messages
– Countless advertising blunders when words are
misinterpreted by others
• How others see us
– May be different than we think
– Perceptions affect the way managers interact and
communicate with their counterparts.
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U.S. Proverbs Representing
Cultural Values
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The Impact of Culture Nonverbal
Communication
• Nonverbal communication
– The transfer of meaning through means such as body
language and use of physical space
– Chromatics
• Use of color to communicate messages; certain
colors mean different things in different cultures.
– Kinesics
• Study of communication through body movement and facial
expression.
– Eye contact; oculesics―gaze, stare, etc.
– Posture: appropriate relaxed appearance
– Gestures: handshake, bow, kiss, etc.
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Nonverbal Communication
• Proxemics
– Study of the way people use physical space to
convey messages
• Intimate distance used for very confidential
communications
• Personal distance used for talking with family/close
friends
• Social distance used to handle most business
transactions
• Public distance used when calling across room or giving
talk to group
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Nonverbal Communication
• Chronemics
– The way time is used in a culture.
• Two types
1. Monochronic time schedule: things done in linear
fashion; time schedules are important; time can be
controlled, should be used wisely.
2. Polychronic time schedule: people do several things
at same time and place higher value on personal
involvement than on getting things done on time;
personal relationships more important than time
schedules
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Personal Space Categories
for Those in the U.S.
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Achieving Communication
Effectiveness
• Improve feedback systems
– Personal: face-to-face, phone, e-mail
– Impersonal: reports, budgets, plans
• Provide language training
– English is the international language of business .
• Provide cultural training
– At least one party has to understand the other’s culture.
• Flexibility and cooperation
– The essential starting point: recognize/accept the
inescapable subtleties and difficulties of intercompany
relationships.
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Managing Cross-Cultural Negotiations
• Negotiation
– The process of bargaining with one more parties at
arrive at solution acceptable to all.
– Used in creating joint ventures, then for expansion,
local managers, imports/exports of materials and
finished goods, recapture of profits
• Two types of negotiation
1. Distributive negotiation: two parties with opposing
goals compete over a set value.
2. Integrative negotiation: two groups integrate
interests, create value, invest in the agreement (winwin scenario).
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Negotiating Types and Characteristics
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Negotiation Styles from a
Cross-Cultural Perspective
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The Negotiation Process
1. Planning
– Identify objectives; adapt strategy, fine common ground.
2. Interpersonal relationship building
– Get to know people on the other side.
3. Exchanging task-related information
– Each side sets forth its position on critical issues.
4. Persuasion
– Willingness to give some concessions
5. Agreement
– The granting of concessions and hammering out of a final
agreement
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Cultural Differences Affecting
Negotiations
• When negotiating
– Don’t identify the counterpart’s home culture too quickly;
common cues (name, appearance, language, accent, location)
may be unreliable.
– Beware of Western bias toward “doing.” Ways of being, feeling,
thinking, and talking can shape relationships more powerfully
than doing.
– Counteract the tendency to formulate simple, consistent, stable
images.
– Don’t assume all aspects of the culture are equally significant.
– Recognize that norms for interactions involving outsiders may
differ from those for interactions between compatriots.
– Don’t overestimate familiarity with counterpart’s culture.
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Negotiation Tactics
• Location
– Most businesses will choose a neutral site.
• Time limits
– An important negotiation tactic when one party is
under a time constraint.
• Buyer-seller relationship
– Some trade favors, others expect buyer to get all.
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Negotiation Tactics
• Five general principles
1. Separate the people from the problem: see other’s side,
avoid blame, stay positive; recognize emotions.
2. Focus on interests over positions: gives insight into the
motivation behind why a particular position was chosen.
3. Generate a variety of options before settling on an
agreement: better for everyone to have many options.
4. Insist that the agreement be based on objective criteria:
emphasize the communal nature of the process.
5. Stand your ground: neither side should agree to terms
that will leave it worse off than its best alternative to a
negotiated agreement, or BATNA.
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Bargaining Behaviors
• Bargaining behaviors are both verbal and
nonverbal.
– Use of extreme behaviors: Some begin with an
extreme offer or request.
– Promises, threats, and other behaviors: often
greatly influenced by the culture
– Nonverbal behaviors: silent language (silent
period, facial gazing, touching, conversational
overlaps)
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Review and Discuss
1.
2.
How does explicit communication differ from implicit
communication? Which is one culture that makes wide use of
explicit communication? Implicit communication? Describe how
one would go about conveying the following message in each of
the two cultures you identified: “You are trying very hard, but you
are still making too many mistakes.”
One of the major reasons that foreign expatriates have difficulty
doing business in the United States is that they do not understand
American slang. A business executive recently gave the authors
the following three examples of statements that had no direct
meaning for her because she was unfamiliar with slang: “He was
laughing like hell.” “Don’t worry. It’s a piece of cake.” “Let’s throw
these ideas up against the wall and see if any of them stick.” Why
did the foreign expat have trouble understanding these
statements, and what could be said instead?
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Review and Discuss
3.
4.
Yamamoto Iron & Steel is considering setting up a minimill outside
Atlanta, Georgia. At present, the company is planning to send a
group of executives to the area to talk with local and state officials
regarding this plant. In what way might misperception be a barrier
to effective communication between the representatives for both
sides? Identify and discuss two examples.
Diaz Brothers is a winery in Barcelona. The company would like to
expand operations to the United States and begin distributing its
products in the Chicago area. If things work out well, the company
then will expand to both coasts. In its business dealings in the
Midwest, how might culture prove to be a communication barrier
for the company’s representatives from Barcelona? Identify and
discuss two examples.
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Review and Discuss
5.
6.
7.
8.
Why is nonverbal communication a barrier to effective
communication? Would this barrier be greater for Yamamoto Iron
& Steel (question 3) or Diaz Brothers (question 4)? Defend your
answer.
For U.S. companies going abroad for the first time, which form of
nonverbal communication barrier would be the greatest, kinesics
or proxemics? Why? Defend your answer.
If a company new to the international arena was negotiating an
agreement with a potential partner in an overseas country, what
basic steps should it be prepared to implement? Identify and
describe them.
Which elements of the negotiation process should be done with
only your group? Which events should take place with all sides
present? Why?
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Review and Discuss
9. An American manager is trying to close a deal with a
Brazilian manager, but has not heard back from him for
quite some time. The American is getting very nervous
that if he waits too long, he is going to miss out on any
backup options lost while waiting for the Brazilian. What
should the American do? How can the American tell it is
time to drop the deal? Give some signs that suggest
negotiations will go no further.
10. Wilsten Inc. has been approached by a Japanese firm that
wants exclusive production and selling rights for one of
Wilsten’s new high-tech products. What does Wilsten
need to know about Japanese bargaining behaviors to
strike the best possible deal with this company? Identify
and describe five.
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