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A Toolkit for Successful International Negotiation and Business Partnering


Andrea Charman
Andrea Charman, Executive Director CTS, Inc., New York, NY 10017, 212 661 5682

81st Annual International Conference Proceedings - 1996 - Chicago, IL

Successful purchasing has always involved competence in a variety of skills. The globalization of business has placed new skill demands on practitioners, who are required to negotiate product sourcing in business environments hitherto unfamiliar, or unknown. At the same time, new business paradigms are changing the assumptions upon which supplier relationships have traditionally been based. As the concept of client-supplier partnerships becomes a core factor in competitive advantage, new relationship management skills are required. In short, a new set of competencies is needed to meet the challenges of today's increasingly borderless world. What are these competencies and how can purchasing professionals acquire them?

The Concept of Culture.
Any business activity across borders will involve the concept of culture. Sourcing a product or component in The People's Republic of China, for example, of necessity, involves the purchasing professional in reviewing Chinese culture. But what is culture? How can it be defined? Without a clear definition of the general concept of culture, culture, a definition of the main characteristics of Chinese culture, in particular, becomes guess work at best, stereotyping at worst. What tools are there for measuring cultural difference and cultural similarity in a way which will assist business strategy building?

A Model of Culture.
The model of culture, with its 7 constant dimensions, explored in this presentation, allows business professionals to gain a practical understanding of macro cultures. This includes national, ( eg: French ) organizational, ( eg: French customs service ) corporate, ( eg: Citroen ) and individual ( eg: Jean-Pierre ).

Once a system of cultural profiling is in place, business becomes less of a straight gamble and more of a carefully planned strategy. The selection of business partners for optimum success, is more scientific. Potential weaknesses, pitfalls, areas of possible conflict or difficulty, can be identified and compensatory actions prepared.At a macro level, business scenario building becomes a safety net with a potentially high success rate.

The selection of an appropriate negotiation strategy is also a function of cultural assessment and understanding. Most of us have never stopped to think about either our own preferred negotiation style, or about our preferred roles in a negotiation. How then, can we successfully negotiate a business agreement with a South Korean? The presentation considers these issues in such a way that participants acquire skills to enable an accurate assessment of negotiation counterparts from other cultures. This will enable negotiation strategy planning, so crucial to positive outcomes.

A Toolkit.
With a checklist of critical issues in international business negotiation and partnering, participants will take away a toolkit based on a new set of competencies for optimum performance. Business becomes a battle in the classical Chinese sense. As all Asians know, in line with the Chinese maxim, no good commander enters a battle which has not already been won in the mind.

Sun Tsu. The Art of War. Quill : William Morrow, New York.

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