Good Example Of Essay On Cultural Understanding In Negotiations Between Korea And The UK

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Culture, England, South Korea, Business, Negotiation, European Union, Community, Dimension

Pages: 7

Words: 1925

Published: 2021/01/01

Language difference appears not the only obstacle that stands in the way of communication and cooperation between the representatives of different cultures and nationalities. An intercultural dichotomy or contrast is what creates additional difficulties, with cultural environment leaving a unique imprint on the personality of negotiators. The bigger the distance between two communicators is the deeper contrasts are. In the world of business, understanding is critical. The incorrect interpretation of negotiators influenced by their cultural identity that may contribute to misunderstanding and cost valuable contracts among other things. What is unacceptable and rude to one party may turn out completely normal by the standards of the other that means no disrespect by showing emotions on being adamant in its contractual demands. Complex values of Western and Eastern hemisphere as well as individual culture-influenced nation-based negotiation characteristics shape the styles of people conducting business talks, to which Hofstede cultural dimension theory applies.
According to Richard Lewis Communications (2015), it is always recommended that negotiators understand cultural aspects in international talks. There may be a great divergence between the values and principles of negotiating parties. In the context of current business climate, considering cultural bias is critical for a number of reasons. Now that financial crisis has struck, the state of psychological stress and pressure makes people stand up for their cultural values in a yet unseen powerful way. Labor sources and global markets are moving to the South and the East, which leaves Westerners no other alternative other than to understand the mindset of other negotiators. Just as IT, logistics, and production are task-oriented skills, so too are relationship skills, negotiation abilities included providing a competitive edge (Richard Lewis Communications 2015). The world has gone global these days, with business owners often pooling their resources to remain competitive in times of recession. Thus, considering the shift to Eastern global markets, globalization, the advantage of negotiation skills, and the emphatic assertion of cultural values, cultural understanding becomes critical between all countries, including such negotiating pair as the UK and Korea.
Successful tactics and strategy rest upon a solid cultural preparation. No successful negotiator will risk counting on intuition. While people believe the unwritten codes of conduct used for negotiations and persuasion to be inherent and universal, they are culturally determined and acquired. There are in excess of 200 national cultures, to say nothing of numerous cultural layers, such as profession, education, region, class, gender, and generation. A renowned British author and polyglot, Richard D. Lewis has split all cultures into three chief categories based on their negotiation peculiarities. The UK gravitates towards the linear-active while Korea has the features of the reactive group. As per the division, the British prefer doing one thing at a time while the Korean counterparts react to the actions of their partners. British communicators tend to spend half the time talking while Koreans play the role of listeners for the majority of time (Richard Lewis Communications 2015). In communication between Koreans, there are no silent periods (Boughton, 2009).
If Koreans keep silence while in talks with Westerners, it may be because they want to learn their partners methodically and gradually adapting the line of conduct to the partners. Their conservatism and cautiousness due to relative historically established cultural and economic isolation make them more discreet about their intentions. In the case of Korean colleagues, they seem more accustomed to their negotiation style. Thus, a British group should understand that culturally shaped listening implies no disrespect on the part of their partners. Conversely, Koreans should not interpret the British speaking as an attempt to push the process of negotiations, still less unceremoniously foist onerous deal terms upon them. The awareness of the cultural reasons for such contrasting communication conduct is central to building lasting economic bridges and relationships. Both peculiarities reflect initiative seizure by the Westerners. However, taking the lead does not mean the lack of interest on the part of Easterners whose restraint and listening are the product of cultural identity and layers like region.
Richard Lewis Communications (2015) noted that the British plan their actions stepwise or very systematically while Koreans seem guided by general principles. The Englishmen are used to protocolling the meeting (Boughton, 2009). Comparing the Chinese and American negotiators, Salacuse (2004) stated that reliance on general principles by Asian culture representatives means they expect relationship to help them resolve disputes while Westerners provide for all eventualities and developments detailed in contractual clauses of written treaties. A mere 11% of English respondents spoke in favor of general deals, as against 45.5% of the Japanese culturally affiliated with Koreans. Negotiators from the Eastern hemisphere may take such a practice for the lack of confidence in relationship stability (Salacuse, 2004). Hence, the holders of Western cultural values should think long and hard before describing all possible scenarios in the great detail in commercial contracts and possibly stop short of prescribing the terms of a treaty.
As for other features, Westerners are polite, albeit direct while the Easterners are polite and indirect. British communicators partially leave their feeling hidden while their Korean colleagues never make them known. The Englishmen confront foreign partners with logic while their counterparts do not. The former tend to interrupt on rare occasions being sometimes impatient, whereas the latter never do so always being patient (Richard Lewis Communications, 2015). Boughton (2009) suggested that Koreans interruption is often thrice the amount of the Japanese communicators. They may be no strangers to using commands and punishments during talks (Boughton, 2009). The British negotiators may be seen using limited body language while that of Koreans is usually subtle. It is unacceptable for the Europeans to lose face, nor is it for the Asians (Richard Lewis Communications 2015).
Thus, Koreans’ abidance by general rules may reflect their principles of living by canons of religion and other cultural beliefs rather than the lack of systematicness, business grip, or the seriousness of intentions. British negotiators should not see indirectness through the prism of ambiguity and the willingness to play for time or mislead partners. Knowing about the Korean habit of indirectness and compliance with general rules will give European the clue dispersing any doubts as to negotiators’ credibility. Koreans’ keeping feeling concealed does not necessarily imply the untrustworthiness of partners. Preference not to confront partners using logic may be indicative of the locally shaped habit of treating foreigners. Koreans should know, in showing impatience on separate occasions, the British do not mean to hold them in disrespect. Koreans should make no mistake about recording the meeting since protocolling implies no mistrust. Rather, it is a signature British cultural peculiarity, such as attentiveness to the slightest details and precision.
According to Richard Lewis Communications (2015), British negotiators are job-oriented, as opposed to people-oriented Koreans. The former make use of facts while whatever statement the latter make is a promise. Westerners prefer truth before diplomacy while Easterners give preference to diplomacy over truth. The Englishmen hold officialdom in the highest esteem while Koreans take advantage of connections. Based on the cultural identity, the British negotiators draw a firm dividing line between professional and social while Koreans connect both (Richard Lewis Communications 2015). Koreans seem to act in people’s interests, yet it does not mean business does not matter. In Western cultural traditions, business comes first; however, the interests of ordinary people retain their relevance. Asians should not mistake Europeans’ emotionality, confronting style, openness, and precision for the attempt to push a deal without prior thorough discussion. That is why cultural understanding in business or diplomatic talks is crucial.
As far as negotiating attitude goes, Salacuse (2004) noted that win-win negotiators closed deals as an issue-solving and collaborative process, as compared with win-lose negotiators going the path of confrontation. For instance, an interview revealed that 100% of the Japanese stated they inclined towards the win-win process, as against 33% of the Spanish sharing the same attitude. Richard Lewis Communications (2015) stated that the Japanese belonged to the reactive group of negotiators. Obviously, the Spanish resemble European business styles and ways. Hence, it is only logical to deduce the British also have propensity for a win-lose process as an unavoidable reality of business talks, which means Koreans would better keep it in mind as rather culturally affiliated with Koreans. As far as agreement building is concerned, Salacuse (2004) suggested that Americans representing Western cultural values and negotiating style resorted to a building-down approach to proposing a treaty, unlike a building-up technique favored by the Japanese standing for Eastern traditions and business styles. In other words, Westerners come up with the maximum deal while Easterners present the minimum deal that allows widening (Salacuse, 2004). Hence, Korean and British negotiators can cooperate on business deals on condition that contrasting agreement building styles be considered by both. For example, Western business executives from a renowned British producer like Lewis Leathers should remember that a deal proposed by Easterners interested in establishing supply channel of the line of motorcycle clothes does not necessarily have to contain final terms that are negotiable.
Negotiators from the Eastern region like the Japanese are risk-haters while their counterparts from the Western region like Americans are risk-takers (Salacuse, 2004). Koreans are, as a rule, averse to risk-taking and conservative (UNI Business n.d.). Salacuse (2003, p.108) noted that the British along with Indian and French negotiators were risk-takers. Salacuse (2004) stated that the Western negotiating teams had a top leader with complete discretion. By contrast, Eastern counterparts prefer team talks with no obvious leader and a consensus-type decision-making. Selmer (1998) stated that Western negotiators identified one decision-maker out of all group members based on the Western individualistic fashion of making decisions that took no account of hierarchy. Martin and Herbig (1998) noted that the majority of non-Western countries did not put the decision-making authority in the hands of one individual. It follows from this that, Korean negotiators do not allow the accumulation of authority in the hands of one executive; hence, British colleagues should be ready to convince a group of negotiators with no apparent leader.
Brett (2000) summarized the chief cultural distinctions between the West and the East noted that the former were more egalitarian and individualistic while the latter were hierarchical and collectivistic. Thus, Westerners like the British should be mindful of the hierarchy of Korean negotiators that needs respecting, yet doing so may be difficult since leadership is not obvious in a collectivism-dominated culture of Asian negotiators. Cultural dimensions theory appears to apply to the cultural understanding in business negotiations in a number of ways. Berlitz Company (2011) suggested that, based on Hofstede power-distance index, less powerful social members realized the existence of hierarchical positions and accepted their place in high power-distance culture while, in its low analogue, power relations must be democratic, with members considered equal. The second dimension is collectivism vs. individualism. In collectivist groups, common goals and wellbeing outweigh individual objectives. The third dimension is uncertainty-avoidance index. Social groups that score high on the index implement strict laws, regulations, and rules, without being open to changes.
Restraint vs. indulgence dimension suggests a culture seeks to meet the personal needs and desires of group members. According to long-term vs. short-term orientation dimension, short-term cultures spend plenty of time building relationships. The last dimension is masculinity vs. femininity defining the rate of importance place by culture on gender values (Berlitz Company, 2011). According to the first dimension of the theory, the egalitarian and democratic British negotiators have a low power-distance index, as opposed to Koreans with hierarchy and position acceptance. As per the second dimension, Korean negotiation culture is collectivist prioritizing the objectives of a group being people-oriented, as mentioned in paragraphs above. Western negotiators detailing all provisos and rules in their contracts rather than relying on relations, score high on the uncertainty-avoidance index. Based on the restraint vs. indulgence dimension, Korean negotiation culture does not seem concerned with meeting the immediate needs of group members being more collectivist. Unlike British, Korean negotiation culture appears more short-term in the sense that it relies on relationship creation.


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