Japanese Negotiations

.. one down in front of others. It is looked upon as part of the job. Japanese are not argumentative, even if they are right. They tend to avoid confrontation to save personal relationships.

The American approach is somewhat different. They will argue to great extent even if they are wrong. The American thinking of negotiations is often perceived as an opportunity to sit down and beat out an agreement trough debate and confrontation. We focus on the give-and-take approach and are allowed to make spontaneous decisions. We find great pleasure and prestige in being persuasive and are given a lot of leeway in our options to make an agreement. Most of all, Americans see negotiations as problem solving exercises (Ibid.

p.222). Japanese thinking about negotiations is somewhat different. They do not like the open debate and arguments. This often disturbs and embarrasses them especially when they are in a formal situation. They prefer that persuasion be handle behind the scenes were both parties are assured they will not loose face.

They are also against the American way of give-and-take when at the negotiating table. The surprises and open displays of power that are often integral parts of adversarial proceedings in [America] are not tolerated in Japanese society (Ibid. p.223). A main difference in the American and Japanese negotiation styles is that of the American “John Wayne” way of negotiation. Americans often feel that four or six Japanese negotiators against one American is no big deal.

This is partly due to the American idea that less people means less money sent. This is not a wise approach, you do not want to be outnumbered and especially not alone when negotiating with the Japanese. Think about how much closer you could pay attention to the person talking if you did not have to continuously think ahead to the next question. Japanese often have a great advantage in these situations because they are rarely outnumbered when doing business with Americans. The Japanese negotiating style is one of the most distinctive styles in the world.

The typical Japanese negotiating manner is characterized by intuition, indirectness, disguising or suppressing real feelings, persistence, avoidance of self praise, and diligent information-gathering about the other side’s needs and intentions. The historical and cultural roots of the Japanese style run much deeper than those of the American style (Ibid. p.228). A major reason that Japan has a different negotiating style is do to its natural environment. There are three major environmental factors that are important when looking at its negotiation style and the reason it is the way it is. First, cooperation is essential in Japan du to its isolation and mountainous geography.

Second, obedience and cooperation are extremely essential because Japan I one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Finally, the Japanese philosophy that the importance of the group takes precedence over that of the individual cam from the historical importance of rice cultivation. This required a community effort that reinforced the importance of group cooperation. One last important difference in the different negotiating styles is that of language. Americans always seem to want to do business in the English language no matter who they are dealing with. This is partly due to the fact of English being thought of as the international language of business.

Although it is rare that Americans can fluently speak more than one language it is not unusual for Japanese person to speak more than one language. Do to the fact that Americans always want to deal in the English language, it can lead do some disadvantages for Americans. The first disadvantage is that which occurs when using a translator. A translator might be useful to the other party but they might know the language fine and be using the translator as an advantage. A translator gives them more time to think of a response, they can concentrate more on the other parties body language and then have the verbal replayed to them, and the translator might not be neutral.

Having a bias translator could greatly put the Americans at a disadvantage. It would add yet one more person who is going to come up with ideas contrasting to yours. A second problem is that using English put the power of selective understanding in you opponents’ hands. This allows them use a “I don’t understand” or “that’s not what we agreed to” approach. They can always use a misunderstanding to try to get the deal in their favor. The third disadvantage is our tendency to compare speaking with power.

We have a tendency to believe that whoever can speak the best is the smartest and most powerful. This is not always the case. Often it is the younger Japanese businessman who can speak English better than and older Japanese businessman. This will often lead the American to believe that the older man is not as wise, which could be a bad mistake. It is normally the older who is wiser and better when it comes to negotiating a deal. The Americans, thinking that the younger of the two is smarter, might focus all their persuasiveness toward the younger person, which would be pointless, because they would not be making the deal.

As touched on before, it is not always in the best interest of Americans to use translators. It could put the American party at a disadvantage allowing the Japanese to reach a beneficial agreement easier. It is important thought if you are using a translator that you take the proper steps to ensure that you will be represented as accurately as possible. There are certain steps that you can take in order to make sure that you are represented as accurately as possible. You should try to get a translator who is familiar with the specific field that you are going to be dealing with. You need to speak slowly and distinctly and try to avoid using slang, sport talk, obscure expressions, or superfluous words. It is wise to brief your translator ahead of time as thoroughly as possible.

If you are giving a talk or presentation, give them a copy of it and allow them time to review it and ask any questions they might have regarding words or language you might be planning to use. If you do not have a copy try to cover the major points that you will be discussing so they are clear on what you are trying to convey. Use short sentences and do not talk to long without a pause. This allows the translator to better translate what you have said and it also keeps the other party from having to sit a long time without understanding what is being said. When speaking look at your counterpart, not at the translator, and try to avoid making assumptions of any king.

If your interpreter asks you many questions that seem unwarranted, get a new interpreter (Rowland p.68). It is also a smart choice to get your own translator instead of using one that the company that you are dealing with has provided you. It is also beneficial sometimes to use an older translator because they can lend you credibility and respectability, however they might not be as fluent in the English language. It is also important that you are very patient and take plenty of breaks to allow the translator to relax and also use this time to gain any insight that you might be able to get from the translator. It might best be said that a negotiation with Japanese is “closed” when U.S. negotiators and their company have convinced the Japanese of their credibility, trustworthiness, and long-term commitment (McCreary p.67).

A sense of closing a negotiation can occur in a very early stage of negotiating or it can occur after the exchange of money or gifts. No matter when it is achieved one thing is for certain. It is very unlikely that a negotiation will be closed before the Japanese feel a sense of trust in the other party. It is important that the Japanese do not feel rushed or bullied into an agreement, if this is the case the negotiation is sure to fail. It is important that patience, functionally speaking and the ability to wait out the Japanese side is used and always kept in mind.

The Japanese also double-check just about every detail and then ask for further explanation. The reason for this is that Japanese believe information gathering is one of the ways they can become more confident and comfortable with a new business arrangement (McCreary p.67). When negotiating with the Japanese it is critical that you keep in mind that the Japanese have a certain way that they want to do business and if you want to close a negotiation with the Japanese you need to play by their rules. When trying to master the art of negotiations it is very important that you keep numerous tactics and skills in mind. You need to be aware of whom you are negotiating with and their principles and ground rules for negotiations. Not everyone goes about negotiating in the same manner.

There are as many ways to negotiate, as there are people to negotiate with. Obviously, we are only human and make mistakes. It is also true, that when dealing with the Japanese, some will expect you to follow their guidelines and some will follow ours. If is a giant guessing game and the best way to be prepared is to study your counterpart. If you go into the negotiation planning on using their ground rules, you will have a much better chance at success. It is very important to keep in mind that when you are negotiating with the Japanese that trust is a major key of how well the proceedings will go. Without mutual trust, it is very unlikely that the negotiations will be of much use.

It is also necessary that you have patience and do not offend your Japanese counterpart. If you keep in mind the important proceedings regarding Japanese negotiations and you have a good game plan, you will have great success in your dealings with the Japanese. It is also very likely that once you have dealt with a Japanese business and everything went well it would be easy to continue business with them. Bibliography Bibliography Faure, Guy Olivier. Culture and Negotiation; Sage Publications, Newbury Park, CA, 1993 McCreary, Don.

Japanese-U.S. Business Negotiations; A Cross-Cultural Study, Praeger Publishers, New York, NY, 1986 Nicholson, Michael. International Relations; New York University Press, New York, NY, 1998 Rowland, Diana. Japanese Business Etiquette; A Practical Guide to Success with the Japanese; Warner Books, Inc., New York, NY, 1993 Tenhover, Gregory. Unlocking the Japanese Business Mind; Transemantics, Inc., Washington, DC, 1994 Zimmerman, Mark.

How to do Business with the Japanese, Charles E. Turtle Co., Tokyo, Japan, 1987 Business Essays.

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