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Management article
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Reference no. SMR3524
Authors: Stephen E. Weiss
Published by: MIT Sloan School of Management
Published in: "MIT Sloan Management Review", 1994
Length: 13 pages

Abstract

In a global economy, managers constantly negotiate with people from other cultures, whether the issue is co-ordinating operations within a multinational firm, arranging a joint venture, or convincing a foreign government to approve construction of a plant. Yet managers have had to rely on simplistic formulas - following lists of ''dos and don''ts'' - or very demanding ones - ''doing as the Romans do'' - to deal with the cultural aspects of these negotiations. Actually, a number of strategies are available. The author presents these strategies in a framework based on the parties'' level of familiarity with each other''s cultures and the extent to which they can explicitly co-ordinate their strategies. These factors determine the subset of strategies that are realistically feasible for an individual manager. Part 2 of this article, which will describe a methodology for choosing among these strategies, appears in the Spring 1994 issue.

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Abstract

In a global economy, managers constantly negotiate with people from other cultures, whether the issue is co-ordinating operations within a multinational firm, arranging a joint venture, or convincing a foreign government to approve construction of a plant. Yet managers have had to rely on simplistic formulas - following lists of ''dos and don''ts'' - or very demanding ones - ''doing as the Romans do'' - to deal with the cultural aspects of these negotiations. Actually, a number of strategies are available. The author presents these strategies in a framework based on the parties'' level of familiarity with each other''s cultures and the extent to which they can explicitly co-ordinate their strategies. These factors determine the subset of strategies that are realistically feasible for an individual manager. Part 2 of this article, which will describe a methodology for choosing among these strategies, appears in the Spring 1994 issue.

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