Fighting Dragons with Dragons: Approaches for Negotiating With Chinese Partners
For many American firms engaging with Chinese business partners, patterns of negotiated promises made but not kept by their Chinese counterparts often prove rule rather than exception. While various issues play a role in this unfortunate condition, many contributing factors are not subject to control or correction by U.S. negotiators. But two singularly damaging factors can be controlled and corrected by U.S. managers. First is their tendency to negotiate from decidedly Western sociocultural perspectives. Second is that managers often negotiate in states of relative ignorance about certain key cultural values that heavily influence Chinese negotiating practices. Grounded in Bing Fa, this article describes approaches designed to enable managers to negotiate more effectively with Chinese partners. By turns, the approaches instruct U.S. managers regarding why and how they should (when negotiating with Chinese counterparts): embrace the unusual as normal; begin with hard ends in mind; anticipate/prepare for conflict; never resist resistances, [instead] always retreat gracefully; disclose with discretion; act like ladies and gentlemen; and never die with bullets in [their] guns. Adopt these tactics, and U.S. managers would lessen the impact of two factors that, when present, degrade their negotiating effectiveness.
Strutton, D., Tran, G.A., & Taylor, D.G. (2013). Fighting dragons with dragons: Approaches for negotiating with Chinese partners. Business Horizons, 56(5), 561-572. doi: 10.1016/j.bushor.2013.05.002