Studying past behavioral patterns can help determine how to successfully interact with other groups of people to “play the game”; how to determine the possible results of negotiation by stepping into the other group’s shoes; and how to influence and sway decisions. Considered an art, the ability to negotiate has long been studied in business and political science circles.
By examining cultural differences, approaches to negotiation tend to have commonalities and varying degrees of differences. Generally, there can be resistance to negotiation under the best of circumstances—most people are not disposed to negotiate culturally, morally and personally. Some consider negotiating either inappropriate or unnecessary because their cause is right and just (Snyder, 3). For others, negotiation is considered strategically unwise—a sign of weakness and the willingness to give in and compromise. In international affairs, the prevalent negotiation strategy of many leaders appears to be largely comprised of posturing and ultimatums.
Two well-known experts on socio-political negotiations, Scott Snyder and W.R. Smyser, explore the negotiating behaviors of North Korea in Negotiating on the Edge and of Germany in How Germans Negotiate. In Snyder’s Book on North Korea, he examines how the country, contrary to popular belief, does indeed have a rational framework for negotiation while Smyser illustrates Germany’s abiding search for security, stability, and community while dealing with the dynamics of meshing an old traditionalism with a “predatory new style” (Smyser, 17).
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