In this essay, I shall discuss Cross-cultural negotiations between America and Japan owing to their long history of conflicts and their consequent resolutions since World War II and beyond. There are two variables that would highly influence negotiations between these two countries .These are space orientations (Styles, 2003) and non-verbal communication (Cross-Cultural Communication, 2003). Space orientations would affect negotiations through physical touch and contact. American culture greatly encourages eye contact and sees it as a sign of trustworthiness and reliability. Failure to maintain considerable eye contact by the other party would be viewed as dishonesty. This is not the case with Asian cultures, Japan inclusive whereby maintaining direct eye contact is considered disrespectful. Physical touch across gender is acceptable in the U.S while same-gender contact is discouraged. Japanese culture rather encourages same –gender touch especially between women which would otherwise be misinterpreted in the U.S.
Non-verbal communication is another variable that greatly varies between the two nations. Japanese culture greatly values the context of the message in comparison to the actual meaning which is a sharp contradiction to U.S culture which insists on the meaning conveyed rather than the context. Facial expressions are at times in sharp contrast between the two nations. In the U.S, facial signs are rather obvious according to the facial state. Japanese can mask their anger or sadness by a happy or smiling face which could otherwise be misinterpreted. This would therefore bring about conflicts or escalate existing ones.
In this case scenario it is imperative that American negotiators look out for emotional sensitivity, interpersonal negotiating skills and the Japanese urge to win respect and confidence. Non-verbal skills should be highly regarded rather than ignored in preference for verbal skills and expression. Integrity should be given a higher preference when dealing with Japanese negotiators to enable conflict resolution. Japanese negotiators should also take heed of the Americans’ preparation and planning skill which is rather specific and onto the point rather than a broad concept, precise and highly judgmental and insists on intelligence. They should try and focus on verbal message passing and not base their message entirely on context. If these are observed, negotiations would be highly successful. (LeBaron, 2003) (Cross Cultural Negotiation )
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