中美商务谈判中的文化差异

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摘 要

  在日益增多的跨文化商务谈判中, 文化因素对谈判起着重要影响。 我国商务谈判人员应当给予文化差异以足够的重视,清楚地了解一些文化因素,加强对文化差异的研究,因为一定程度上它们都有可能引起谈判过程中的误解和冲突。 随着中美经贸的快速发展,商务谈判也变得更加频繁。本文通过案例分析和比较分析的方法,对中美两国商务谈判中存在的文化差异进行了解析,使得我们了解如何去克服文化冲突及沟通障碍,这些对商务谈判的顺利进行起着重要作用。 本文试图从时间观,对待冲突的态度,人际关系, 思维方式以及谈判风格等方面来分析中美商务谈判中的文化差异,有很多都足以引起我们的注意并尽可能地了解和解决由此而产生的问题。另外, 依据文化差异对中美商务谈判的影响,一些对策及建议在文中也有所涉及,以便更好地理解文化差异及其对商务谈判的影响,从而促进中美商务谈判的顺利进行。

  关键词:文化;文化差异;商务谈判;对策

The Cultural Differences in Sino_U.S.Business Negotiation

Abstract

  In cross-cultural business negotiation, culture has significant impacts on the result ofnegotiation. Our negotiators ought to know clearly about some cultural elements and pay moreattention to cultural differences, because such differences may result in many misunderstandingsand conflicts. With the fast-paced development of economy and trades between China andAmerica, business negotiation has turned out to be more regular. Besides, by analysis of casesand comparing the two cultures, we may get to know how to overcome cultural conflicts andcommunication barriers, which have an important role in proceeding of smooth negotiations.

  This thesis attempts to discuss and analyze the time concepts, the attitudes toward conflicts,interpersonal relation, the ways of thinking and negotiating styles in Sino-U.S. businessnegotiation, and also some are worthy to be paid more attention to solve the problems. Accordingto the impacts of cultural differences on business negotiation, some recommendations are made,some would result in understanding the cultural differences better, and stimulating the operationof Sino-U.S. business negotiation.

  Key words:culture; cultural differences; business negotiation; countermeasures

  1.Introduction

  1.1 The Necessity of the Study

  As entry into the WTO and the economic globalization, China has involved a variety ofcross-cultural negotiations and international trades. Therefore, it is necessary for us to make alittle study of business negotiation from the point of cultural differences. And business cannot gofurther without cross-cultural communication.

  At present, U.S. is the biggest economic entity in the world and it plays an important role ininternational trades and its negotiating style impacts greatly on the business world. Therefore, asChinese negotiators, in order to be successful in Sino-U.S. business negotiation, getting someknowledge of the two countries' cultural differences and its influences would place us in afavorable position. Thus, we would not only adapt to the economic environment of internationalbusiness activities, but also to the mutual cultural environment.

  1.2 Literature Review

  Many scholars have studied a great many of culture. The famous Dutch expert incross-cultural communication, Greet Hofsted compares culture to "mental software", and regardsit to be “the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one humangroup from another."(Hofstede 1994, 5) He identified three levels in international negotiation,namely, national culture, organizational culture and professional negotiation culture. Nationalcultures strongly contribute to shaping what is usually referred to as “negotiating style” bycombining them own influence with that of history and of the political system. (穆海涛,2005,5-6) Edward T. Hall calls culture a “silent language”, it is needed for a party to trulycommunicate and arrive at a genuine understanding. (Hall 1959, 10) And he put the timeconcepts like monochronic and polychronic time. Jeanne M. Brett classifies the cross-culturalnegotiation into three types:deal-making negotiations, decision-making negotiations and disputeresolution negotiations.

  In view of these, the paper is going to focus on such core cultural differences as values,interpersonal relationships, attitudes toward conflicts, et.al, on the part of China.

  2. Culture

  2.1 The Major Components of a Culture

  2.1.1 Values and norms

  One thousand people have one thousand values; so different people treat the same thingdifferently and hold different attitudes. Values tend to be the basis of all the decisions we makeand provide standards for us to evaluate our own or others' behaviors.

  Norms refer to social rules and guidelines, which regulate people's behaviors in certainsituations. They are often regarded as central to the functioning of a society and to its social life.

  And they include prohibition against theft, adultery, incest and cannibalism. However, more onesvary from societies. (Zhang Liyu and Wang Hongwei, 2004, 37) For instance, in the U.S. peoplecould accept drinking alcohol, while such behavior violates important social norms and will bepunished of imprisoning in Saudi Arabia.

  Both values and norms of a society do not appear suddenly and are fully formed immediately;they evolve little by little out of many factors at work and in daily life. Such factors include thepolitical and economic philosophies, the social structure, the dominant religion, the language, andeducation.

  2.1.2 Social structure

  There are two elements that are important to explain differences among cultures. One is thebasic unit of social organization of individual. Generally, western societies are inclined toemphasize the primacy of the individual, but Asian societies emphasize the primacy of the group.

  The other is the degree to which a society is stratified into classes or castes. Some arecharacterized by a very high degree of social stratification and relatively low mobility betweenclasses, while other societies have a low degree of social stratification and high mobility betweenstrata, such as U.S. (Zhang Liyu and Wang Hongwei, 2004, 38)

  2.2 Influences on Negotiating Strategies

  Cultures influence negotiators' strategies at negotiating tables, such as the way ofpreparation, direct or indirect conflicting measures, stirring motivation and how to useinformation and the power of influence. Because negotiating strategies and culture have variousrelations that stimulate the social communication.

  Negotiation is not only the direct language communication between negotiation staff, butalso the indirect language and information communication. For example, an American companygot a contract with a Germany buyer to sell bicycles made in China. When the first goods wereready to be shipped, the problem arose. These bikes do not work well because of some noises.

  Therefore, the American company tends to refuse this shipment, as they know the Germanycustomer would not accept these noisy bikes. In American culture, the correct rule is to tell thetruth to the manufacturer so as to remedy the mistakes. But in Chinese culture, this kind ofconfrontation is so rude that would make others lose face. After getting to know this, theAmerican manager went to the Chinese plant, checked the bikes and asked some reasons forproducing noises:“Is this all right for noises?” “ Do you think Germany buyer would thinkthere is nothing wrong with these noisy bikes?” Then, he left. The second shipment is in goodcondition. (Jeanne M. Brett, 2005, 212-213)

  In the case, the American manager paid much attention to face issue in the process ofdealing with the conflict. Such indirect conflicting measure, face saving behavior, also resolvesthe problem.

  In some cases, the negotiators do not confront with each other but deal with the third party.

  For example, an American manager of a China--America joint venture did not get what hewanted in a report, he turned to asking the Chinese woman who was responsible for this report tocall for a meeting, but she refused politely. The next day, he was told by the woman's superiorthat the report had no problem and it covered what should have.

  Then, why culture has significant influences on negotiating strategies?

  A negotiator of one culture takes negotiating strategies into practice through behavior thathas a variety of relations with his or her cultural characteristics, such as values, socialcommunicating norms. Three cultural characteristics seem to be related to the evolvement ofnegotiating strategies in different cultures:collectivism and individualism, hierarchical culturesand egalitarian cultures, hi-context and low- context communication.

  2.2.1 Collectivism versus individualism

  Geert Hofstede and Shalom Schwartz contributed a lot to social values of cultures. Theyclassify cultures by questionnaire. American culture belongs to individualist culture; Chineseculture belongs to collectivist culture. (Jeanne M. Brett, 2005,10-16)

  According to cross-cultural theories, individualism and collectivism are basic clusters ofvalues. In individualism culture, norms help individuals controlling and developing oneself,stimulating one’s self-respect and strengthening one’s confidence instead of placing great valueon individual identity. Social and financial regulations encourage individuals to makeachievements; legal regulations serve to protect individual rights. However, it also could result inselfishness and arrogance, even non-governmentalism. In collectivist culture, norms impactsignificant importance on social responsibilities, and develop relationships among individuals.

  Social and financial regulations encourage a group of people instead of individuals, legalregulations support group interests which are superior to individual rights. But it does not allowthe disagreements and creative spirit, which would, prevents the development of a society.

  Anyway, conflicts between individualist and collectivist cultures stand out along with theglobalization and are getting recognized; people will make adjustment from different culturesconsciously or unconsciously in the process of interactions. (石定乐和彭春萍,2004,37)

  2.2.2 Hierarchical culture versus egalitarian culture

  In hierarchical culture, social status indicates social power. The low class should listen tohigh class. Meanwhile, the high class should be accountable for welfare of the low class so as toreceive power and privilege. Most importantly, the people of hierarchical culture are not willingto face the confrontation directly because it implies the contempt of social status and likelythreaten social structure. The key point is not trying to apply to hi- class members, if the conflictsoccur, but finding a relatively high status person to deal with them instead of directconfrontation.

  If negotiators believe that influence power reflects the way of power structure in one culture,then negotiators of hierarchical cultures and egalitarian cultures would apply different influencestrategies. In egalitarian cultures, power is temporary and conditional, while in hierarchicalcultures, power is permanent. (Jeanne M. Brett, 2005, 10-16)

  2.2.3 High-context versus low-context communication

  Anthropologist Edward T. Hall’s theory of high-context and low-context culture could helpus understand the powerful effect culture has on negotiation. (Yu Muhong and Zhang Ruwen,2005, 198)

  The person of low-context cultures like direct communication, and his thoughts demonstratein messages. In hi- context cultures, in contrast, people tend to communicate indirectly; the realmeaning lies in underline and is difficult to catch.

  Negotiators of these two cultures embrace different confrontation styles and they wouldapply different ways to make use of information. At the same time, the behaviors ofconfrontation and information sharing are easily affected by this cultural value.

  In the case of noisy bicycles, the western manager employs hi- context communication. Hehopes the Chinese manager could conclude from his questions that noises should be attachedgreat importance. He does not confront with manufacturer and direct communication2.3 Cultures and Negotiations. Negotiation is a process which two or more entities discuss common and conflictinginterests so as to get mutual benefits. ( Zhuang Siping, 2004,164)

  Negotiation is a special communicating task and all participants tend to reach an agreementabout how to deal with their own common interests or conflicts. Meanwhile, behaviors areconditioned by individual cultures because negotiators from different countries embraceddifferent values and the ways of thinking.

  As for business negotiation, it is not confined communication and cooperation in economicinterests, but the communication between different cultures, that is cross-cultural businessnegotiation which involves negotiation between persons of different cultural backgrounds tryingto reach an agreement of mutual benefits. No wonder that it would be a difficult job to negotiatewith the party of owning opposite values, the ways of thinking, and so on.

  Furthermore, ignorance of cultural differences, shortage of communication and preparation woulddecrease the degree of the success of negotiation.

商务谈判

  3. Cultural Differences

  3.1 Understanding Cultural Differences

  With the fast development of economy, culture is increasingly becoming the basis ofsuccess or failure of negotiation. The more you understand your negotiating counterpart’s culture,the closer you approach your goal of negotiation, for few misunderstandings take place. (庄佳,2003,85)

  Above all, we should regard cultural differences as a challenge rather than a problem, whichmay mean a little more investment of time and funds. (Zhang Liyu and Wang Hongwei, 2004,38)

  Negotiation is a process that takes place in a particular context and is not a simple singleskill or a group of skills. The context is the culture of the parties involved and the degree offormality, and determines the particular skills that are required in almost every negotiationsituations.

  In a mono-cultural negotiation environment, the process is more easily predictable as withoutconsidering the elements of language or cultural differences. Besides, one’s negotiation behavioris affected by his or her ethnic heritage, culturally embedded attitudes and customs. (Zhang Liyuand Wang Hongwei, 2004, 40)

  While in a multi-cultural negotiation environment, too many challenges exist. The processis more complex, for negotiating parties share different cultures, patterns of thinking, feelingsand behaviors. Most importantly, interpersonal communication is the key activity in anegotiation process; it can help negotiators to bridge the gap between utterance and felt meaning.

  Obviously, in addition to the basic negotiation skills, understanding the cultural differences isessential to the success of negotiation.

  3.2 Major Cultural Differences in Sino -U.S. Business Negotiation

  3.2.1 Ways of thinking

  The way of thinking is a cultural accumulation in a long time, and unconsciously influencespeople’s life. The western culture and eastern culture in terms of the way of thinking have theirown characteristics respectively.

  Firstly, eastern culture emphasizes reasoning, and inferring specific conclusion according togeneral principles; western culture is used to concluding commons from a variety of specificcases. Furthermore, eastern culture prefers synthetic thought, that is to say, they consider thingsas a whole, union every part into one body; American culture prefers analysis thought, in anotherword, they tend to separate one thing into many parts, and finally to solve them completely. Atlast, easterners attach great importance to agreement, while westerners stress contradictory. (汪清囡,2006,186) Although Chinese philosophy includes contradictory; its focus is placed onagreement. Based on objective differences in the way of thinking, negotiators of differentcultural backgrounds act differently in decision-making, and generate conflicts between linearand general methods. Facing a complicated negotiation task, the westerners, especially theAmericans like to start it in a linear way, because they assume details are the essence of matters,and they are not too choosy in principle. By contrast, the stipulations are more specific thaneasterners who initially design the general principle framework.

  The way of thinking is the communicating bridge. On the one hand, the way of thinking istightly related with culture and it has conditional influences on cultural psychology. Meanwhile,the difference in the way of thinking plays a significant role in cultural difference. On the otherhand, the way of thinking also has close relations with language, which stimulates the form anddevelopment of the way of thinking. In the matter of fact, the difference in the way of thinking isan evidence of cultural difference.

  As for cross- cultural negotiations, Westerners’ thought tends to be liear analysis, whileeasterners’ tend to be synthetic analysis. The primary differences between these two thoughtshave been discussed earlier.

  American’s thought model is a linear thought, Chinese’s is a spiral thought. In the earlyperiod of negotiation, the negotiating focus of Asian lies in establishing long-term interpersonalrelations instead of the specific dealing. Yet, as for North Americans, the factual contents aretheir center. After the first greeting, Americans would say this directly:“Let’s get down tobusiness now!” These words must put Asians who do not acquaint with American culture in anuncomfortable situation. Another example, we Chinese like to say such ambiguous words as“perhaps”, “probably”, then, “I will do my best to do something.” means “ I will certainly do it.”

  in American culture, while in China, this just indicates, “It all depends.”

  3.2.2 Attitudes

  3.2.2.1 Attitudes toward time

  Time concepts vary from culture to culture. Edward Hall believes time can say something,because it can send messages directly and it is clearer than language. He classifies time into twomodels according to its use in different cultures; they are monochromic time and poly-chronictime. (万宏阳和张应林, 2006,57)Mono-chronic time regards time as being dividable but notrepeatable, poly-chronic time views time as being cyclical and a great many things can be doneat the same time. People think of time as a series of recurring events at regular intervals.

  Westerners compare time to a running river, which only runs from one side to the other side,thus they are used to embracing strong sense of time concept and cherishing it extremely.

  American culture typically regards time as monochromic time. To the Americans, time is of theessence. In negotiation, they strictly follow the agenda, in another word, certain period hascertain goals, and they realize goals one by one. They tend to break up the big tasks into a seriesof small tasks. China is a country of using poly-chronic time. We use time relatively flexible andmanage it at ease, such as change the sequence of discussing topics or do several things at thesame moment. If the tasks are not completed, the conference would be prolonged, because howmuch or how little time is required to complete a task is not as important as the job itself that isthe important thing and is not how long the task will take.

  In the previous analysis, we know that American negotiators dedicate to bargaining, theyare aggressive and competitive and more transaction-oriented. In general, Chinese negotiatorsare inclined to integrative bargaining; they are cooperative and oriented toward taking relationalapproach to negotiation. The essence of this bargaining could be narrowed down to relationalapproach. That is, if we understand the variable of basic concept of negotiation process, wemight take effective approaches to negotiation. And when monochromic culture comes acrosspoly-chronic culture, the time sensibility will play very important role in negotiation.

  Chinese negotiators often take advantage of time or patience in negotiation. This slowdownmight be induced as a deliberate tactic, and used as a conscious bargaining plot to exploit naturalAmerican tendencies for impatience.

  Case study

  Pacific Dunlop is a diversified American-manufacturer and marketer of footwear, opticalfiber cables and batteries. The company had gone from strength to strength in China, partlythanks to the influence of its managing director Paul Winestock who has been the chiefnegotiator in developing business for the company.

  Winestock negotiates in Chinese way. He says, “I negotiate as it goes. I did not know thiswhen I started doing business with China in the 1970s. Before leaving for China, we would telexan outline of all the things we wanted to discuss and go over the issues point by point, then goback to them all over again. Sometimes we could not reach an agreement, but we would not giveup. I would come back two months later. Sometimes we could reach an agreement, but twomonths later, we had to discuss it again. Some contracts took me a week, and some took me ayear”.

  In the following business negotiations with his Chinese party, Winestock did not go directlytoward discussion topics and instead, he gave enough patience to Chinese typical reception andtried to establish long-term good relationship with Chinese partners. He talked about the historyand development of this company and the intention of establishing friendship with Chinesenegotiators at the negotiating table. The result was the agreement he wanted. (adaption fromCulture and Interpersonal Communication written by Gudykunst(1988))

  This case tells us two important factors in business negotiations. In the very first place,Chinese and American negotiators are poly-chronic and monochromic in terms of time conceptrespectively. Chinese negotiators think of time as a means to achieve other key goals, so theycollect enough information about American companies and establish good relationship with them.

  Americans, however regard time as a scarce resource. They would try to achieve its optimalallocation between the competing ways of using it. So they set timetables and deadlines.

  Americans consider timetable of business negotiation as an important principle that two partiesshould conform to. They expect the negotiation proceeds smoothly along the timetable. SoAmerican agenda- oriented negotiation team, basically focus on linear usage of time, tends tonegotiate clauses sequentially, whereas Chinese party, synchronically organize their activities, i.e.

  go from one issue to another, come back to points which had apparently been already settled.

  Secondly, there are approaches to succeed in negotiation with Chinese. In the case,Winestock tried to understand Chinese culture and negotiated in a Chinese way. In the process ofnegotiating with Chinese, he showed enough patience in establishing long-term relationship withChinese partners. He believed that good business relationship would definitely bring about agreat deal of orders in the future.

  According to the case, we can get a general understanding of the well-known “Americanimpatience” with comparing to the typical “Chinese patience”. Metaphorically, Americans sufferfrom an “instant- coffee complex”, they do not have time to purchase coffee beans, grind themevery day, brew the coffee, enjoy the aroma and savor every tip. American negotiators aretypically result-oriented. They are always in a rush and are extremely frustrated when there is alack of progress. On the other hand, typical tea-sipping Chinese negotiators who have beeninfluenced by the Confucian ideas are most of the time patient, maintaining self-control over thesituation. They would avoid passing harsh judgment or criticism on their business partners. Thesuccess of Winestock in the case proves that one has to show enough patience to successfullynegotiate with Chinese. Otherwise, one may get frustrated by “Chinese patience” and as a resultthe negotiation may end with failure.

  3.2.2.2 Attitudes toward conflicts

  There is no doubt that where there are disagreements there are conflicts. Conflicts arecharacterized by opposing interests. And there are three ways to manage conflicts, they arecompeting, compromising and avoiding. (Liu Xiaohui, 2006, 59)

  The first one, competing, is advocated in individualistic cultures, such as American culture.

  American negotiators are willing to face or confront with conflict; they criticize, discussproblems hotly and firmly insist their own opinions. They do not care losing face but airing theirdisagreements and viewpoints directly, but they do believe debate would not affect theirinterpersonal relations.

  Compromising indicates something will be given up voluntarily. Although both partiesexpect to do so until final resolution can be reached, each party makes concessions in order toachieve other goals.

  The last one, avoiding, is not a satisfactory and long-term resolution. However, it isadvocated in collectivist cultures, such as Chinese culture. Chinese people do not like to say “no”

  directly or in public, so the vague words, such as “In principle it is ok”, and “I will do my best”.

  People think disagreement with or confront with somebody in public is a severe blow or anextreme insult or result of “losing face.” This “face maintenance” model views conflict should bedealt with subtly. But to Americans, they follow a “problem-solving” model, which thinksconflict should be solved openly and directly.

  Case study

  An American company negotiated a joint-venture contract with a Chinese company.

  Following their first real negotiation, the two sides signed a set of minutes at the Jinbin Hotel inShenzhen, which was named as the “Jinbin Minutes” were recalled over and over again by theleader of the Chinese negotiation team. As the negotiation did not move smoothly and theChinese side insisted on observing the principles of the “Jinbin Minutes”, the head of theAmerican negotiation team, who was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, screamed, “Damn it!

  Those Jinbin Minutes were signed three years ago and we did not even know what the situationwas then. Over these three years, the market in China has changed. So why can’t you stopinsisting on those Jinbin Minutes?” The head of the Chinese negotiation team said to him inanger “Are you betraying what you’ve promised?” The American retorted, “It’s not a contract. Itis only a letter of intent!”

  The atmosphere at the negotiating table turned to be stressful and neither of the two sideswas willing to make a concession. The negotiation came to a breakdown.

  After that, considering the mutual foundation of cooperation, the American side acceptedChinese advice to ask a third party for resolution. Through the third party’s conciliation andmediation, the two parties returned to the negotiating table and finally reached an agreement.

  Later when the deal was finally done, the contract signed, and business license issued, theleader of the Chinese party’s negotiation team personally wrote the character of “Jinbin Minutes”

  in calligraphy, had the calligraphy mounted on a Chinese scroll, and presented the scroll as a giftto the head of the American negotiation team, to humorously remind him of the toughnegotiating process. (Laurence J.Brahm, Doing Business in China, Boston:Tuttle, 2004,154-156)

  The “Jinbin Minutes” case illustrates how differently Chinese negotiators and Americannegotiators frame conflict issues or view the minutes or the letter of intent.

  For Chinese, the minutes of a meeting meant much more than technology change, capitalchange or the market change. The Chinese negotiators tried to establish their own rules at theearly stage of negotiation. They did this in order to press their American counterparts to certaininitial principles agreed by both sides in the form of the “Jinbin Minutes”, but it was just a letterof intent. It had not legally binding. However, in the Chinese negotiators’ opinion, it had strongmoral binding. As long as a conflict arose during a negotiation, they were entitled to invoke theprinciples to suggest that the American side had not lived up to the spirit of “mutual cooperationand benefit” initially agreed upon.

  Yet, the Americans couldn’t understand why the seemingly ritual statements could play suchan important role in the negotiation. American negotiators think the “Jinbin Mimutes” lacked anykind of specific detail. Signing it didn’t mean making a commitment. Business is just business,which should be separated from the subjective elements. They didn’t realize the moral influenceof these minutes until Chinese pointed it out as a moral issue. In American culture, suchstraightforward expressions are thought to be the efficient way to disclose the problem, whereasfor collectivistic Chinese, it would be extremely rude and cause a loss of face. Thus theincremental effect of mutual misunderstandings finally led the negotiation to a deadlock.

  The turning point in the negotiation was the third party’s mediation advised by the Chineseside. This showed Chinese culture values harmony and the Chinese negotiator attempted to avoidany further direct confrontation with the Americans through a roundabout way. In the case of adispute, Chinese parties will do everything possible to settle disputes by consultation ormediation made by a third party, which is the preferred way in Chinese culture.

  3.2.2.3 Attitudes toward power distance

  Chinese culture belongs to high- power distance, which believes authority is essential insocial structure and strict social classes. (石定乐和彭春萍,2004,125) In general, Chinesepeople accept the situation of lacking decision-making power in business negotiations.

  Negotiators only conduct or make decisions within their limited power.

  American culture belongs to low- power distance. Influenced deeply by equality, Americanstreat anyone equally, regardless of their positions and authority in the society. In Americanculture, people put realizing self in the first place of their lives. They cherish freedom, equalityand competition. American negotiators can conduct their right or make some decisions toaccomplish some tasks.

  3.2.2.4 Attitudes toward final contract

  To Americans, the last phase of negotiation is the time to sign agreement and there is nospace for negotiating. The final contract is superior to any other conditions and has effect in law.

  In their eyes, the most just and reliable resolution ought to conform to the law and contract.

  Therefore, they seriously discuss the clauses of the contract and especially attach greatimportance to the reclaim clauses. (林海, 2005,111) As long as the accidental matters arise, thereclaim clauses of contract will take into effect. In another words, the details and concrete thingsof contract are attached significant importance in America’s business negotiation.

  On the contrary, Chinese culture is relationship-focused. Chinese negotiators’ goal almost isbased on establishing and developing a long-term cooperation relationship. Therefore, theagreement reached in negotiation is a kind of frame for further cooperation. The signed contractfrequently is regarded as the beginning of the long-term and mutual benefits cooperation. Notlike Americans, Chinese do not view the contract signed as the final one but being changed.

  Most importantly, many positive consequences would be brought along if becoming moreaware of the influence of cultural values:firstly, it makes negotiators better understand ofhimself or herself and others. Secondly, he or she will become more tolerant and less defensive,and enjoy cultural differences as well as similarities.

  3.2.3 Values

  3.2.3.1 Time orientation

  Edward. T. Hall believes that time attitudes include monochromic time and poly-chronictime concepts. (Liu Xiaohui, 2006, 38) In order to make good use of time in business activities,time planning is greatly specific to Westerners and following the schedule is extremely important.

  Whether the targets are reached or not, it will not affect the proceeding of the next for differentperiods has different targets.

  To Americans, the appointment is the goodwill, or the promise. Whether participation inbusiness activities or social association, Americans are punctual, for punctuality is regularlylooked as one's responsibility. Also, westerners strictly observe the deadline, which isindispensable to contract.

  Based on the above explanation we will find time is of utmost importance to mostAmericans. Nevertheless, to other cultures, Americans seem to be too absorbed in time concept.

  They think time cannot be changed because it is objective, but we human can use it in our hands.

  That is, we should alter time according to incidental events.

  By contrast, easterners look time boundlessly. In China, to accomplish a project in advancegenerally would be praised, but this will indicate poor quality or plan in western countries.

  Because of the flexible utilization of Chinese, Chinese people often are compared to the mastersof time, and Americans are often thought to be the slaves of the time. Once deciding the time ofconference, they will initiate at that certain time. Meanwhile, they frequently regard time as ameans to bargain. For instance, Americans often say:" We can accomplish these projects beforeMarch 1, but if we guarantee on February 1 is our deadline, could you give us somediscounts?"(刘园,2003,279)

  It must be ture that misunderstandings cannot be avoided and often is regarded as contemptof other people or the matters, and it is easy to trigger other troublesome. In fact, if the twoparties or more could take some attention to the other cultures in time values, it would be a betterway to proceed negotiation and realize goals respectively.

  3.2.3.2 Space concept

  Americans have strong sense of spatial territory and privacy whether in their corporations orlives(.刘雯祺, 2004, 115)Generally, three feet is the best distance during conversations or onbusiness occasions. Body touches seldom happen, once taking place would cause delicacy.

  However, in many other cultures, people in social association or on business occasions tend to becloser to each other. For example, in some areas of South America or Middle East, businesspartners are customary to embracing each other or giving gentle kisses, and in businessconversations they just keep others one foot away. (刘园,2003,279-280)

  Therefore, in international business negotiation, the misunderstandings frequently takeplace because of the darkness of other cultures in space concept, such as considering closer bodydistance as excessive warmth or bad intention. Thus, negotiators get acquainted with severalcustoms and practices is a basic requirement.

  3.2.3.3 Collectivism and individualism

  In individualist cultures, everyone place “myself” in their first consideration; in othercultures, “ourselves” is the first. Take American for example, they are human-oriented, thinkrealizing “myself” and following “my” willingness are the fundamental of life. And they viewthemselves as highly individualistic in their thoughts and actions. It is not uncommon forAmericans to say, and almost to believe:“If I do not have half an hour a day to myself, I will gostark-raving mad.” But in collectivism cultures, group interests are superior to any otherindividual rights or interests. Above all, in the culture of attaching great importance to groupawareness, the ultimate goal is to run over a group instead of each participant.

  3.2.3.4 Understanding of face

  The well-known Britain scholars Brown and Levinson introduced The Face Theory in1978.

  They classify face into two groups, one is positive face, and the other is negative face. Positiveface refers to the desire to be approved of or respected, negative face means the desire not to beimpeded in one’s actions. The purpose of polite conversation is to conserve two sides’ face, andlessen the threatening degree for face. Brown and Levinson understand face as personal desire,i.e. the behavior of hoping to be approved of and respected by society, but in Chinese culture, itrefers to that personal desire does not surpass his or her status in a society. And Chinese put greatimportance on attitudes of others looking at. Before taking actions, they consider too much ofhow others will look at them, and often take other people’s standards to modify themselves.

  In fact, the face issue stands in almost every culture, only different in expression. In westerncultures, “face” is called self-esteem. (刘园,2003,278) Each person demands esteem, andanyone would feel angry or anxious once his or her self-esteem is offended.

  In Asian cultures, “face” is a grass-rooted concept. In fact, in the society under the influenceof Confucian thought, some people even go extreme that is unnecessary. For instance, in ordernot to make someone lose face, he or she may consciously does not point out his or her mistakesor faults. Meanwhile, making someone lose face is not polite, and most importantly, it would bethought as a challenge to someone’s social status if an Asian loses his or her face, afterwards, itmust be much difficult for him to recover his or her confidence. Losing face is an insulting orembarassing matter.

  However, in Western cultures, losing face just means individual failure and is only definedin personal matters. But in Asian or Middle Eastern cultures, a person losing face indicates his orher group or company losing face. (刘园,2003,278) Consequently, Asian negotiators pay muchattention to how to deal with conflicts during negotiation, so as not to put opponents into anembarrassing situation. This means it is necessary to give your rivals more space of power, orhide your real responses.

  Therefore, getting a clear understanding of “face” issue for the participant groups is a must;negotiators taking proper measures accordingly must be a good way to make it.

  3.2.3.5 Understanding of interpersonal relation

  In some cultures, “relation” plays a big role during business communication. In their minds,making friends is the first step to success of negotiation. So these people may spend a great dealof time on social activities, because these activities are the effective and direct means to establishof “relation”. But this way is thought to be unnecessary for direct negotiators. They would feelboring to lots of banquets and often are suspected their sincerity to negotiation, worse still thesewould result in failure.

  The importance of “relation” frequently displays in the other side:these negotiators do notlike or used to doing business directly. There are three main channels to construct “relation”

  effectively:participating big or formal trading meeting, joining in the visiting group that isorganized by government, being introduced by acquaintances or respectful persons. The mostimportant tip we should carry along is making contacts with those who attach great importanceto “relation” properly and frequently, by doing this to maintain friendly relationships, also is thekey to make trades in future.

  To Chinese people, establishing good personal relationships is an important prerequisite tobuilding long-term business contacts that are often far more significant than the technicalspecifications and the price. No one rushes into business but rather a suitable climate forinteraction. Chinese people are just to engage in informal discussions and the goal is to nurture amutual confidence.

  One important aspect of “guanxi” in China is the relationship. The concept of relation has todo with the Chinese interdependency among group members. Relation in Chinese meansconnection which refers to a relationship between two people or organizations containingimplicit mutual obligation, assurance and understanding and governs people’s attitudes towardlong-term social and business relationships. The famous Chinese sociologist, Fei Xiaotong,studied the culture of the United States in the 1930s and described relationship in the Americanculture as contractual. (Liu Xiaohui, 2006, 35) That is, the obligation and responsibility arecontractual. The Americans regard interactions as a means or instrument to other goals. To them,contracts are superior to trust, respect and long-term relationship. Americans regard allrelationships as contracts instead of a network of responsibilities. Since relationships betweenpeople are temporary, they can be broken whenever one party chooses.

  In any society, there must be something that unites the society as a whole. In individualisticAmerican society, contracts and legal system display such a linking function that coordinatepeople's relationships and the order of the society. That is the reason why Americans oftendepend on laws and contracts to regulate personal relationships.

  Therefore, in Chinese culture rushing straight to business will not be encouraged becausedeals are made on the basis of both the best products or the reasonable price and the personalrelationship. Once there is a harmonious relationship, specific outcomes can be worked out.

  Contracts can be written and signed because of the existed relationships which would ensureperformances. That is why Chinese negotiators tend to establish personal ties in the beginningphase. On the contrary, American negotiators would like to go directly into business negotiatingtopics. They are keen to sign contracts that are helpful to eliminate ambiguities andmisunderstandings. They see unwritten and informal agreements as unenforceable. We can seethe difference in the following case study:

  An American team of two men representing Canwall, wallpaper printing equipmentmanufacturer, went to a town of Jiangsu to negotiate a sale to a new wallpaper productioncompany. Charlie Burton, president of Canwall, traveled with his marketing director, Phil Raines.

  The company had never sold its equipment outside the United States.

  This was not the first meeting between the American company and the Chinese wallpaperfactory. The manager of the Chinese company, Mr. Li, had met with one of Canwall's seniorsalespersons and the director of manufacturing. Subsequently a trade representative fromAmerica had been in China representing Canwall's interests to the Chinese manager. After themeeting and numerous letters and faxes, Canwall's top people were now ready to negotiate thesale.

  The day they arrived, Manager Li himself met them at the airport. Their accommodationwas in a newly built hotel. While it was not luxurious, it was certainly comfortable. A few hoursafter their arrival they were treated to a 12-course banquet given by their host with severalhigh-level municipal officials present. This treatment made them feel optimistic about the sale.

  The next day they were taken to see the sights nearby. They were eager to begin discussingthe sale, but after dinner they were given time to have a good rest.

  The third day they finally sat down to the sale. After listening to various apparentlyunrelated points, the American seemed quite impatient and said, "So what?" (Liu Xiaohui, 2006,36-37)

  In the above case, American negotiators feel confused and lost in Chinese warm receptionand etiquette; they even do not know what Chinese negotiators really want to do. In the verybeginning, the warm reception made Burton and Raines optimistic about the sale, but it turnedout to be contrary to their expectations. Failure to communicate with Chinese effectively in thefirst phase, they finally became impatient and were annoyed by Chinese etiquettes. "Get rightdown to business" attitudes were adopted; they thought it was just a matter of wasting time.

  Yet, Chinese negotiators place much emphasis on relationships. It is rational that Chinesepeople in this case went to meet with American senior salespersons and sent a large number offaxes and letters prior to the negotiation. When Burton and Raines came to China, Chinesecounterparts gave them warm reception and did not rush straight to the major point beforeestablishing a good relationship. However, their way annoyed American negotiators.

  In order to make the American negotiators to proceed faster, pre-meeting arrangement, orconversation on the telephone would be helpful for the progress of negotiations. To get to thesuccess, American negotiators should place the emphasis on pre-negotiation meeting to makecontact with Chinese party, and collect some information about their partners. Certainly, ifChinese negotiators intend to realize success in negotiation with American party, they also needto adapt to American negotiating styles.

  3.2.3.6 Superiority of moralities

  Because of the elements of concept and objective conditions, Chinese people tend to turn tosocial attention to the moralities and winning over social supports instead of employinglaw-channels when economic disputes take place. In Chinese culture, most people believe thatofficials have a great deal of powers and privileges, even regardless of country’s laws andregulations. But in U.S., there is one lawyer every 450, which making them used to hiring lawconsultants to deal with disputes. (汪华林,2006,41)In particular, the negotiation place is heldabroad; a lawyer is essential and plays an important role in the negotiation from beginning to theend. American negotiators assume, only by means of laws, their negotiation activities could beformal and just.

  3.2.3.7 Verbal and non-verbal communication

  Verbal communication refers to communicating with people who may from differentcultural backgrounds by using language. Yet, cultural literacy cannot be ignored forunderstanding the language being used. Otherwise, we may at best not communicate well and atworst send the wrong message. America is a typical low-context cultural country; most messagesare transferred with clear and concrete languages, for different periods has different targets. Butfor Chinese, we are reluctant to say “no”, and keeping silence is more preferred.

  Anyway, some messages are transferred in an unintentional, non-verbal way, beyond thewords themselves. For example, Chinese people often express agreement or disagreement withsilence; it would be frustrated to Americans. Because they think keeping silence is a negativeattitude to the event.

  3.2.4 Decision-making process

  Everyone knows that Chinese culture is a typical high-power distance, which indicates thatChinese organizations have a great centralization of power, and social status is much stressed. InAmerican culture, on the contrary, low-power distance is its characteristic. Americans firmlybelieve that everyone is equal and inequality should be minimized in a society, power isaccessible to each person.

  Respecting for age and hierarchy in Chinese culture is a core value; age is equal to wisdomand must be respected. (Liu Xiaohui, 2006, 52) According to ordering relationship, which meanseveryone should do his or her own duty to realize social harmony and stability. In other words,hierarchy is greatly honored and prevalent. In this hierarchy culture, the CEO or manager has theresponsibility to make orders, and the lower-status employees usually follow these orders. Rarelywould they argue with boss on public occasions, because this often is considered to challengesocial status and disrespect for the superior.

  But Americans emphasize the equality between people in a society and deeply believe thatno one is superior to another. Even those in power often make mutual interact with theirsubordinates and attempt to be less powerful than they really are.

  In Sino- U.S. business negotiations, power distance inevitably plays its roles. Americannegotiators tend to a close and friendly negotiation environment that manifests in the use ofgiven names when addressing their counterparts. Inevitably, this indicates that Americans putmuch value on informality and equality between human relationships. On the contrary, Chinesewould prefer their family names to be called, such as Manager Li or Professor Zhang. Thiswould cause lots of problems while making contacts; American negotiators must remember theirChinese counterparts’ official titles or professional titles as to avoid unfavorable impressions.

  Furthermore, age element should not to be ignored, for it plays a big role in Chinesebusiness negotiation. Perhaps, American negotiators feel much ridiculous while they know thatage is an element of selecting a suitable negotiator. But it is true. If a 50-year-old Chinesenegotiator is going to negotiate with a 20-year-old American negotiator, Chinese party wouldconsider that American party do not pay much attention to this negotiation. (Liu Xiaohui,2006,52) Therefore, it is a practice for Chinese that negotiation should be held between similarage and rank.

  Power distance, to some extents, decides the difference in the course of decision-makingprocess. We know China is a high-power distance country:top superiors or senior members oftenmake the final decisions. And also it is true that in a collectivistic culture, negotiators shouldconsult the group and does not make any big decisions until the majority of group accepts. Whilein an individualist culture, negotiators have his or her power to make decisions at the spot,though he or she will be responsible for decisions. Due to the equality is emphasized in a humansociety; American negotiators do not think they are inferior to their superiors. Above all, theyknow they represent company interests and are accountable for their company instead of theirsuperiors only.

  Following is a paragraph of an American’s complaints:

  We have no idea what power to make decisions the people we are negotiating with have.

  And if they have to get a decision from the top, then the problem is that the Chinese have no onewho can say yes or no. Instead they have layers of committees and our negotiators can even getmissed up and go to the wrong committee, or at least it seems as though they are getting therun-around, which means that we just have to wait and practice patience. (Tony Fang, 1999, 64)

  It is a practice that a solution has already been set by the top before negotiators coming tothe negotiation table in Chinese culture, and it cannot be changed at ease at the bargaining table.

  But it would be diffused that the limits of responsibility and the negotiating authority are vague.

  Under this decision- making framework, making a decision is time- consuming inevitably.

  The vagueness confuses American negotiators a lot, for it is difficult to ascertain who is themost important person or has the final authority upon the negotiation. But the Americannegotiators are very flexible in taking quick responses to changes.

  4. Countermeasures

  4.1 Overcoming Conflicts Effectively

  4.1.1 Treating the cultural differences objectively

  The majority of conflicts between Sino-U.S. business negotiations are attributable to thecultural differences.

  Chinese culture is different from American culture; the two negotiating sides have their ownvalues, the patterns of negotiation and methods. This is the fact. Both sides have strengths andweaknesses. In negotiation, negotiators should treat the differences objectively, respect the otherside’s cultures and study it carefully. And avoiding ethnocentrism is more significant, because itoften causes a rejection of the knowledge of other cultures.

  Besides, cultural diversity is increasingly important with the development of globalization.

  For example, the rates of African-Americans and Hispanic Americans in the workforce haveincreased greatly in recent years. The negotiation is not just a single skill or a group of skills.

  Negotiators must equip themselves with knowledge of different cultures.

  4.1.2 Enhancing the cross-cultural awareness

  Learning a foreign language being exposed to a new culture comes along with enhancingcross-cultural awareness, which refers to the ability to understand cultures objectively andnon-judgmentally, the ability to give up ethnocentric tendencies. Because many people cannotrealize that they have being lapsed into ethnocentrism in which people think their ownbackground, such as ways of analyzing problems, values, beliefs, is superior to others’. Thenegative impact of ethnocentrism is clearly highlighted by Steward and Bennett:

  First, ethnocentric belief about one’s culture shapes a social sense of identity, which isnarrow and defensive. Second, ethnocentrism normally involves the perceptions of members ofother cultures in terms of stereotypes. Third, the dynamic of ethnocentrism is such thatcomparative judgments are made between one’s own culture and other cultures under theassumption that one’s own is normal and natural. As a consequence, ethnocentric judgmentsusually involve invidious comparisons that ennoble one’s culture while degrading those ofothers.

  As over emphasis on the ethnocentrism would lead to the rejection of the knowledge ofother cultures, it also would block the exchange of ideas and skills among people from differentcultural backgrounds. In view of these, in order to ensure the effective communication ininternational business negotiations, negotiators should try their utmost to avoid beingethnocentric.

  Meanwhile, negotiators should bear in mind that their foreign counterparts are reallydifferent from their own people. But this does not mean that being different denote beingsuperior or inferior to others’. Each culture has its unique measure, which guides the negotiatingprocess. Above all, what one considers as effective way may seem to be strange or even to beineffective to some other cultures. Therefore, it is necessary for Chinese and Americannegotiators to maintain correct attitudes toward their cultural differences and demonstrate respectand appreciation of the other side’s culture. That is to say that as a competent negotiatorenhancing cultural awareness is a must, for cultural awareness refers to an understanding ofone’s own and others’ cultures, which influence people’s thoughts and behaviors

  4.2 Applying Appropriate Ways for Chinese Negotiation

  4.2.1 Group versus individual

  Generally, westerners lay much importance on group power and individual responsibly, butwe Chinese are contrary to this. We have to take special notice to this side, while dealing withthe relationship between group and individual scientifically. As to international businessnegotiation, the decision- making power should be facilitated to negotiation group rather someleader behind the scene. By doing so, we can catch the active role over the negotiation.

  4.2.2 Principles versus details

  Discussing principles prior to details in negotiation is the characteristic of Chinese culture,but details go first in western cultures. (汪华林,2006,41)

  This difference would weight communicating difficulties. However, facts have proven thatdiscuss principles first can bring about lots of advantages to us, for ignoring of principles forwesterners.

  4.2.3 Relationships versus results

  Western cultures cherish competition, fairness and pursuit of material things, so theformality is less noticed to; Chinese culture views interpersonal relations important andencourages harmonious relations. ( 王滕宁, 2004 , 46)Chinese negotiators often makeconcessions in order to maintain the overall friendly relationships while confronting withconflicts. However, this would result in losses of group.

  5. Conclusion

  Cultural differences are formulated because of histories, so there is no superiority orinferiority. In order to be successful in communication among different cultures, enhancingcross-cultural awareness is crucial. Due to it is the basis of establishing concepts of culturaldifferences, understanding the other party's values and behavior characteristics, building upmutual trust and cooperation atmosphere are especially important.

  We make a study of cultural differences between China and America in business negotiationjust for knowing our own and others' better. By doing so, there will be fewer conflicts and willrealize win-win goal.

  The two negotiation sides from different cultures, both facilitated with different negotiatingstyles, different ways of communication and persuading strategies, and different values. Neitherof them is perfect; both have their own negative points. In negotiation, we are not allowed toevaluate the others' culture based on our cultural backgrounds. We should generate and adjustnegotiation strategies according to the other party's culture and negotiating styles. Besides, topreceed business negotiation smoothly, a competent negotiator has to get to know these culturaldifferences as mush as possible, that is, to learn a country whose cultures and negotiations differfrom his or her own. Thus, the negative influences can be weakened, and effectivecommunicating channels can be found. Meanwhile, we could make full use of our advantages ofnegotiating style and overcome some weaknesses so as to play an active role during negotiationand anticipate different responses in different situations.

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