I have just finished reading ‘The Global Negotiator’ by Jeswald W. Salacuse. Salacuse is a member of the Steering Committee of the Harvard Program on Negotiation.
Salacuse identified Culture as special barrier #2 to global deal making. He identified the four elements of culture as Behavior, Attitudes, Norms and Values. Salacuse also identifies ten ways that culture affects deal making, and provides data on how different cultures value each of these factors.
He brings up an interesting point in this part of the book – cultures may be different, but professions often carry their own set of values which are similar among workers from different cultures around the world. The military, for instance, appreciates risk taking and does not make decisions by consensus. This military ‘culture’ is the same, whether the soldiers are American or Japanese.
Building on this knowledge, leaders can provide additional opportunities for international teams to form relationships and improve mutual understanding by creating occasions for members of the same profession, like engineers, to work together, share expertise and interact with one another.
I would recommend this book for anyone involved in professional or personal interactions with a member of a different culture. Understanding the framework of how culture operates in personal and professional life has given me the tools to more easily identify and compensate for my own cultural beliefs.
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