CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION: HOW TO MAXIMIZE NEGOTIATION WITH CHINESE FROM THE FRENCH PERSPECTIVE CYRIL BAZIN Dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of MA Management September 2006 Derbyshire Business School University of Derby CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Derbyshire Business School CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION How to maximize negotiation with Chinese from the French perspective Cyril Bazin ( September, 2006) CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Abstract The awareness of culture differences and the ability to “control” them could represent a competitive advantage for international companies, and notably when cross-negotiations have to occur. The following report addresses culture differences and put these in the context of Franco-Chinese negotiations. As cultural differences could be detrimental to the well unfolding of crossnegotiations, the report aims to provide recommendations to French regarding negotiations with Chinese in order to run such negotiations as best a way as possible. In that purpose, French and Chinese cultures were studied as well as their respective theoretical negotiations styles. Further, the outcomes of this theoretical research were verified in order to give the best basis for the exploration of Franco-Chinese negotiations, which then allowed to produce the sought recommendations. The research was essentially qualitative with the use of two focus groups to test the French and Chinese cultural aspects impacting on their negotiation styles. Further, one-to-one interviews were carried out to explore Franco-Chinese negotiations in a cultural perspective. Fourteen recommendations have been produced in order to avoid “cultural mistakes” during three negotiation phases determined in the report named pre-negotiation, negotiation and post-negotiation phases. The most important concern the actual negotiation phase and especially how the French are likely to communicate by interrupting, using body language and different tone of voices, relishing debates and arguments. Further the research put into perspective some theories on Chinese culture and negotiation style suggesting a shift of Chinese culture. CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Contents page Introduction ................................................................................................1 Introduction ......................................................................................................................... 2 1) Why is it important ..................................................................................................................... 3 2) International negotiation in which context ................................................................................. 3 3) Research aim and objectives ....................................................................................................... 4 Chapter One: Literature review.................................................................6 Culture ................................................................................................................................. 7 1) What is culture ............................................................................................................................ 7 1.1) Hall, E. ................................................................................................................................ 8 1.2) Lewis, R. ............................................................................................................................. 9 1.3) Hofstede, G. ...................................................................................................................... 10 1.4) Trompenaars, F. ................................................................................................................ 12 2) French and Chinese cultures ..................................................................................................... 13 2.1) French culture overview.................................................................................................... 14 2.2) Chinese culture overview .................................................................................................. 18 Negotiation ......................................................................................................................... 24 1) What is negotiation ................................................................................................................... 24 2) Negotiation phases and culture ................................................................................................. 25 2.1) Pre-negotiation stage ......................................................................................................... 26 2.2) Face-to-face interaction stage ........................................................................................... 27 2.3) Post-negotiation stage ....................................................................................................... 27 French and Chinese negotiation styles ............................................................................ 29 1) French negotiation style ............................................................................................................ 29 1.1) French pre-negotiation style.............................................................................................. 29 1.2) French negotiation style .................................................................................................... 29 1.3) French post-negotiation style ............................................................................................ 31 2) Chinese negotiation style .......................................................................................................... 32 2.1) Chinese pre-negotiation style ............................................................................................ 32 2.2) Chinese negotiation style .................................................................................................. 32 2.3) Chinese post-negotiation style .......................................................................................... 34 Summing up ....................................................................................................................... 34 Chapter Two: Methodology .....................................................................35 Research philosophy ......................................................................................................... 36 Research approach ............................................................................................................ 36 1) Deductive approach .................................................................................................................. 37 2) Inductive approach.................................................................................................................... 37 Research strategy .............................................................................................................. 37 1) Descriptive strategy .................................................................................................................. 38 2) Exploratory strategy.................................................................................................................. 38 Data collection method ..................................................................................................... 40 1) Semi-structured group interview/Focus group .......................................................................... 40 2) Structured observation .............................................................................................................. 41 3) Semi-structured one-to-one interview....................................................................................... 42 4) Aspects to consider ................................................................................................................... 43 Data analysis method ........................................................................................................ 44 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Summing up ....................................................................................................................... 45 Chapter Three: Findings and Conclusions ........................................46 Focus groups ...................................................................................................................... 47 One-to-one interviews ....................................................................................................... 61 Summing up ....................................................................................................................... 68 Chapter Four: Conclusion, Recommendations and Discussion ...........69 Conclusion.......................................................................................................................... 70 Franco-Chinese negotiation recommendations .............................................................. 70 1) Pre-negotiation phase................................................................................................................ 71 2) Negotiation phase ..................................................................................................................... 71 3) Post-negotiation phase .............................................................................................................. 72 Discussion........................................................................................................................... 73 1) Limitations ................................................................................................................................ 73 2) Phenomenon discovered ........................................................................................................... 74 References .......................................................................................................................... 75 Appendices ......................................................................................................................... 80 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Introduction CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION What, why, which context and how ? CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Introduction Due to the increase of competition in domestic markets, and since decades, globalisation is nowadays a major fact in the world economy. This globalisation characterized and still characterizes an increase of business relations between different countries. Also, any relation, that is either business orientated or not, always occurs with at least two parties. And from that fact everybody knows and experienced by the past that harmony is not always in every relations. Contradictions, oppositions of point of views, people inconsistencies and so on might occur spoiling the relation and its issue. Also, such issues concern business relations and even more international business relations. Indeed, within the ambit of international business relations, cultural dimension appears introducing different practices, ways of thinking, feeling and behaving (Woo, 1999). Also, this report deals with an important part of any business relations, which is negotiation. This is put into the international context by studying the impact of culture on cross-cultural negotiations. Cultural differences could hinder the realisation of a negotiation and then to make business between two foreign companies, which is not the aim in international business. Given that, it is obvious that international companies have to be aware of those potential cultural issues when negotiating with foreign companies. And, international companies have to try to avoid them by “reconciling” (Trompenaars, Woolliams, 2003) cultural differences aiming to know the other(s), what is allowed and what is not and then to act accordingly. 2 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) 1) Why is it important Cultural differences awareness is helpful for international companies in order to take the best advantage of international business. In the report context, it almost ensures to know how to approach and negotiate with foreigners and then to build strong and durable international business partnerships. As said previously, if globalisation developed, it is mainly due to competition increase in domestic markets. Also, in the international markets what could differentiate foreign competition? And more precisely in the context of international negotiation, what could make a foreign company more likely to get an agreement with a key foreign partner than another? Excluding the business interests, the answer is the ability to “culturally adapt itself” to the foreign negotiator. This is a key of international business success. Therefore international companies should spend time and resources about cross-cultural business behaviour, negotiation across cultures and so on. Achieving that, international companies would develop a unique intangible resource about “culture knowledge”. According to Johnson, Scholes and Whittington (2005) unique resources “are resources which critically underpin competitive advantage and that competitors cannot imitate or obtain”. Also, this culture knowledge would definitely represent a source of international competitive advantage, as it would allow to negotiate more easily and to almost ensure to get the needed agreements with the suitable foreign partners. 2) International negotiation in which context It is now said that the report discusses cross-cultural negotiation. However, it would be too broad and need to be narrowed down. Besides, “there is no unalterable formula for reconciling cultural differences but that every case should be seen on its own merits” (Brooks, 2003). 3 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Also, it is interesting to turn the topic around the most important fact of the ongoing globalisation, that is to say China. Indeed, the interest for international companies is to go abroad in the purpose to make profit. Also, Western experts predict China is to become one of the world's largest economies in the coming decade (Zhang, 2004). Thus, China represents a huge opportunity for business. Further, the report studies the cross-cultural negotiation between France and China. First because models of the Chinese negotiating process have been produced but primarily from the US (Stark, et al. 2005). Second, because of own personal author's interests such as planning to go to leave to China in the later years. Third and given that France has already got good politic and economic relations with China, the outcome of this report would represent an interesting and beneficial contribution for French companies aiming to deal with China. 3) Research aim and objectives Thus the main interest of the report is to evaluate the impact of national cultures on negotiation behaviour and to demonstrate the importance to consider this in conducting international business. Put in the context of cross-cultural negotiation between France and China, the overall aim of the research is: To provide French negotiators with recommendations about negotiating with Chinese ones To achieve this aim, some objectives have been set: To identify the cultures of France and China in order to create awareness about where their respective negotiation styles are shaped from, To determine both French and Chinese negotiation styles so as to get the insight on the potential cultural inhibitors, 4 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) To evaluate the veracity of French and Chinese cultural aspects impacting on their negotiation styles, To explore Franco-Chinese negotiations and identify potential cultural inhibitors, To provide recommendations to French negotiators so as to overcome these cultural inhibitors of Franco-Chinese negotiations (aim of the research). 5 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Chapter One: Literature review CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION What are the link and the consequences? In that part, culture and negotiation are addressed and confronted in order to raise the concept of negotiation in the culture context. It defines both concept of Culture and Negotiation, gives an awareness of both French and Chinese cultures and determine their respective theoretical negotiation styles. CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Culture This part aims to give the required awareness about culture. It shows in which extent people are influenced by it in their everyday life, behaviour, thinking etc. Further the section gives an overview of both French and Chinese cultures. This is compulsory so as to be able to put negotiation in the context of both French and Chinese cultures. Culture and then both French and Chinese cultures are studied according to main theories on the subject. Works of Hofstede, Hall and Hall, Trompenaars and Lewis are addressed. 1) What is culture Culture has got many definitions. Those vary according to the point of view it is considered from. Culture can be “applied” into several ways and subjects; it can be considered into a sociological perspective or an organizational one and so on. However and despite the different “applications” and subjects in which culture is fundable, the “nature” of what is culture is not distorted and can be determined. It is commonly accepted that culture is different in each country, determines behaviors of people, thinking processes, ways to see the world “influencing most aspects of individual behavior including the cognitive framework” (Brooks, 2003). Phatak, Bhagat, Kashlak (2005) insist on “culture is to a society what memory is to an individual”. This endorses that a different and unique culture is present in each countries. Paying attention to Hofstede’s (1984) definition of culture, culture is seen as a program of the mind shared and transmitted by all the collectivity (society and thus country) members. 7 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Also, the notion of “collective program of the mind” determines and suggests the fact that members of a same society are likely to behave, see, feel and/or think in the same manner when confronted at a same situation. Brooks (2003) states these similitudes are the result of the set of values and taken-for-granted assumptions deeply embedded in every culture. Further he suggests values give people a sense of “what is right and wrong and what is good and bad” influencing again their manner to behave, see situations, feel and/or think. In the aim to make it clearer, these four aspects influenced by culture will be summed up by the designation of “people’s minds”. It is shown that culture is a crucial determinant of people’s minds. Also, many further definitions and researches would endorse that fact. However the deepening of it would be out of the ambit of the report. First, the objective is to identify both French and Chinese cultures. These are addressed (in the “1.2 part”) according to different theories on the subject. The following sections present these theories and introduce the identification of French and Chinese cultures part. 1.1) Hall, E. Hall’s work considers culture as a matter of contexts. Each society’s individuals would respond differently to the contexts. Context refers to cues and other information present in a given information (Phatak, Bhagat, Kashlak, 2005). With the notion of contexts, he notably considered the different ways of communicating in cultures and stated “culture is communication” (1976). From that perspective, Hall and Hall (1990) distinguished between highcontext and low-context cultures. 8 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION - Cyril BAZIN (2006) High-context cultures Those depend heavily on the external environment, situation and nonverbal behavior in creating and interpreting communications (Mead, 1998). Hall (1976) specifies that some languages value an indirect style of communication and the ability to understand this. This is the case of the Chinese language. - Low-context cultures The external environment and then the attention paid to it is less important. Mead (1998) states from the work of Hall and Hall (1990) that non-verbal behavior is often ignored, and so explicit information is valued. Therefore, direct and outspoken communication is used in these cultures. Mead (1998) emphasizes that Hall’s model is useful as to understand notably how members of different cultures negotiate as it relates to communication. 1.2) Lewis, R. Lewis’ work has to be linked to Hall’s one. Hall focused on the low/high context cultures scale but addressed what Lewis studied in more detail. Lewis (1992) classified cultures through a monochronic and polychronic scale. This indicates the relation people have with time notably when doing business. - Monochronic time Monochronic cultures act in a focused manner. They concentrate and do one thing at a time. Time-scales, deadlines, schedules are taken seriously. - Polychronic time Polychronic cultures act flexibly. They are often involved in many things at once. They often act in an unplanned and opportunistic manner. 9 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) According to Hall and Hall (1990), monochronic people are associated to low-context cultures whereas polychronic people are associated to highcontext cultures. 1.3) Hofstede, G. As addressed before, Hofstede (1984) defines culture as “the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one human group to another”. Hofstede considered cross-cultural analysis through four main dimensions of culture. They are referred to as Power distance, Uncertainty avoidance, Individualism and Masculinity. - Power distance (PD) Power distance represents the social distance between people of different rank or position (Brooks, 2003). Mead (1998) puts this dimension more into a workplace perspective describing the distance between the different levels of a hierarchy. Also, Phatak, Bhagat and Kashlak (2005) consider it as the extent of acceptance by less powerful members of the unequal distribution of power within organizations. A high PD ranking indicates an acceptance of inequality of power and wealth within the society/organization. A low PD ranking represents a stress on equality within the society/organization. (Hofstede, 1984 retrieved by ITIM International A, 2003). - Uncertainty avoidance (UA) Uncertainty avoidance is a measure of people’s attitudes towards ambiguity (Brooks, 2003). It represents the need more or less important to avoid uncertainty about the future (Mead, 1998). 10 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) A high UA ranking indicates an anxiety towards uncertainty. Laws, rules and regulations are developed to avoid such uncertainty within the society/organization. A low UA ranking indicated tolerance about uncertainty and ambiguity within the society/organization. Change is more likely to be accepted. (Hofstede, 1984 retrieved by ITIM International A, 2003). - Individualism (IDV) Individualism represents the extent an individual relies on a group or takes individual initiatives and decisions (Brooks, 2003), which determine the relations an individual has with his/her fellows (Mead, 1998). A high IDV ranking indicates a reinforcement of individual achievement within the society/organization. A low IDV ranking typifies more collectivist societies/organizations. Responsibility is shared and individual decisions are less likely to occur. (Hofstede, 1984 retrieved by ITIM International A, 2003). - Masculinity (MAS) Masculinity variable introduces the degree of discrimination especially against women. Further, it reflects the extent to which “masculine” values are considered such as assertiveness, competitiveness and results orientation (Brooks, 2003). It then divides roles and values in society (Mead, 1998). A high MAS ranking shows a gender differentiation with a male domination of the society and power structure. A low MAS ranking indicates a less important attachment to masculine values with lower gender discrimination within the society/organization. Also, equality and then collectivism are likely to be fostered on. (Hofstede, 1984 retrieved by ITIM International A, 2003). 11 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) France and China have scored as following: P. Distance U. Avoidance Individualism Masculinity France 68 (H) 86 (H) 71 (H) 43 (M) China 80 (H) 60 (H) 20 (L) 50 (M) From Brooks (2003) and Phatak, Bhagat and Kashlak (2005) 1.4) Trompenaars, F. Trompenaars (1993) stated “the essence of culture is not what is visible on the surface. It is the shared ways groups of people understand and interpret the world”. He considered culture in the business context and thus, his work (1993) focused on how cultural differences notably affect the process of doing business. He identified seven dimension of culture, namely: - First: Universalism v. particularism An universalistic culture tends to prefer rules, favouring the rational and logical approach thinking that universal rules are applicable everywhere. Whereas the particularism approach suggests a culture give much more importance to each situation, case and foster relationships. - Second: Collectivism v. individualism This dimension relates about the same fact as the Hofstede’s one (see previously). - Third: Affective v. neutral cultures This dimension indicates how much emotional behavior is found in culture given that in affective cultures emotions are openly shared and communicated whereas in neutral cultures these emotions are more kept for oneself. - Fourth: Specific v. diffuse cultures In specific cultures, people are likely to separate both private and professional life. In diffuse cultures the work life influences the life outside of it. 12 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION - Cyril BAZIN (2006) Fifth: Achieving v. ascribing status This dimension relates to the notion of status and how it is obtained. In achievement cultures, status is obtained or achieved according to competence (skills, knowledge, talent) whereas in ascription cultures, it is often obtained because of the belonging to groups or characteristics such age, gender or education. - Sixth: Time as sequence v. time as synchronization How time is considered and seen vary according to cultures. In sequential cultures, time is linear and divided into segments with the importance of schedules. Whereas in synchronic cultures, time is more circular and different activities could be handled at the same time. - Seventh: Inner directed v. outer directed It relates on how people see what happens to them. Inner directed culture would think they have control on what they are doing and happens to them whereas outer directed culture people do not control situations. Trompenaars related that to the relation with nature, whether people in certain culture seek to control it and to control events; or not and to live in harmony with it. Phatak, Bhagat and Kashlak (2005) precise the five first dimensions concern how people relate to each other. The sixth deals with time indicating whether past, present and/or future are stressed on in the culture. The seventh indicates the relation the culture and the people have with the nature, which implies on internal or external orientation. 2) French and Chinese cultures It is now obvious that culture is a broad subject, which can be considered from many points of views. However, different points of views do not mean totally different and theories are sometimes about the same facts that lead those to be often complementary. Therefore in that part, both French and Chinese cultures are identified and compared according to the theories and, when possible, in an interrelated way 13 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) to give a better understanding. However the objective is not to fully detail both cultures but to create an awareness of those in the reader’s mind so as to make him/her know in which cultural context both negotiation styles are “created”. 2.1) French culture overview According to Hall’s framework, France is a high-context culture. Hall’s concepts of high and low context have much to do with how these cultures tend to communicate which appears to be important when considering negotiation style. French are expressive people. Hall and Hall (1990) stated they use their whole body to communicate. Gestures, smiles, eyebrows and shoulders raising form part of their communication. This has to be linked to Trompenaars’s work (1993) and his third culture dimension (affective vs. neutral cultures). Trompenaars defines France as an affective culture which reveal thoughts and feelings verbally and non-verbally. French people relish conversations and can talk at length (Newson-Ballé, 1996). They share emotions, which flow easily making communication “lively”. Those are distinguished by tone changes in the voice and interruptions by the interlocutors, which form the characteristics of Latin languages according to Trompenaars (1993). Also and according to their high-context culture, French have a certain manner to sustain conversations. Indeed, they like some mystery and leaving some things to the imagination in these. As they often talk around the point, the listener needs to be intuitive so as to find out the rest of the message, which could be difficult for a low-context one who expects to get all the needed information via spoken words. Thus for the French “what matters is the overall effect, not the details” (Hall and Hall, 1990). 14 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) According to Lewis (1992), France is a polychronic culture. This has a direct link with the sixth Trompenaars’s dimension and defines France as a synchronic culture. Both determine that French do several things at once and time “restrictions” such as schedules, appointments and deadlines are not taken very seriously which lead them to often miss promptness and to change plans at the last minute. However there is a nuance emerging from Trompenaars (1993). Indeed, he stated that culture concerned with synchronic time are “more we-orientated” indicating a tendency for community well being or in other terms for collectivism. By referencing to Hofstede (1984), France is a highly individualistic country scoring at 71 on that scale. This is endorsed by the fact that French people prefer individuality to conformity and are not always caring about other people’s needs and requirements (Hall and Hall, 1990). This high individualism could explain the cautiousness of French people towards the others. Indeed, Hall and Hall (1990) determined that they tend to be pessimist and suspicious towards everyone leading to distrust anyone who is not known personally. More globally that tendency to be distrusting might indicate a fear of the unknown where the unknown is seen as risky. Newson-Ballé (1996) stated French always try to minimize risk. It leads to Hofstede’s framework and its uncertainty avoidance criteria. And indeed, France scores high with 83 on the uncertainty avoidance scale. Also, this indicates another tendency of the French people to be attached to their traditions and reluctant to any change, to be extremely conservative (Newson-Ballé, 1996). Regarding from the high-context culture point of view, Mead (1998) confirms that cultural patterns are ingrained and slow to change. Furthermore, he specified that insiders and outsiders are likely to be distinguished 15 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) considering outsiders to be non-members of the family, group, organization and then foreigners. In a certain extent it goes with the fourth Trompenaars (1993) dimension (specific vs. diffuse culture). According to him, France is a specific culture where French people totally separate both professional and private life. For a business partner, to ask personal questions about i.e. family to another is seen as very impolite, and professional partners are just seen as professional ones (Hall and Hall, 1990). Trompenaars (1993) assimilates specific and diffuse cultures to respectively low and high-context ones. Thus and following Trompenaars’s argument, France would be a low-context culture. Trompenaars also specifies diffuse and then high-context cultures are more likely to “circle around” before to get to the point when communicating which agree with Hall and Hall’s description of the French communication style (see previously). Thus, there is another subtlety of French culture. But this nuance can and has to be relativized as Mead (1998) states countries show high and lowcontext cultural behavior at different points. Therefore, French people communicate as diffuse and high-context cultures are likely to and behave as specific and low-context cultures would towards both business and private life. Another “contradiction” is noticeable as Brooks (2003) indicates diffuse cultures are likely to be characterized by a high power distance. Being a specific culture concerning private and work life, France should score low in power distance according to Brooks’ statement. However and according to Hofstede (1984), France scores relatively high on the power distance scale with 63. But this tends to be understandable and explainable precisely by the specific cultural aspect of France. Indeed, this aspect makes the power distance criteria only applicable in the specific considered group. For example, the authority of the boss due to the power distance in the business context shift to be nil or at least reduced outside of it. 16 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) France is indeed characterized by a high power distance. Hierarchical structures are very well defined in France (Newson-Ballé, 1996). At the work place, authority is highly centralized around the boss (Hall and Hall, 1990). Lawrence and Edwards (2000) define the French work place highly hierarchical where managers rely on authority to give directions or to instruct. One Trompenaars’ culture dimension takes great importance when considering business culture. It is the universalism and particularism one. Indeed, the tendency to standardize by rules (universalism) any business situation and partner might be shocking to people who foster on relationship in business and perceive each situation differently (particularism). France mixes both universalism and particularism cultural aspects. From Trompenaars’ study, a light tendency towards universalism seems to characterize France. Universalist cultures are likely to value rational and logical thinking (Brooks, 2003). Also, logic and rational thinking is well implemented in French education and training (Hall and Hall, 1990; Communal and Senior, 1999). This endorses the fact France is a universalist culture. However, how people relate is important for French people (Hall and Hall, 1990) and their polychronic and synchronic cultural aspect make them to be not very concerned about procedures and then rules. This reflects the definition of the particularism (Brooks, 2003). The overall cultural aspects of France have been now clarified and give a “feeling” of the French negotiation style, which follows from it. To sum up, French culture tallies with the following and different theoretical concepts: - High-context and affective culture, - polychronic and synchronic culture, - individualist culture with high uncertainty avoidance, - mix of specific and diffuse culture with high power distance, - mix of universalist and particularist culture. 17 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) 2.2) Chinese culture overview Chinese culture, philosophy and psychology have been greatly influenced by Confucianism and Taoism (Fang, 1999; Tang, 1991). Confucianism deals with human relationships and Taoism with life in harmony with nature (Fang, 1999). Both are fundamental philosophical traditions that have shaped Chinese culture for 2500 years. Therefore, Chinese culture cannot be studied without considering those. However, main theories used before are not going to be dropped as both “philosophical traditions” value certain behavior and ways of thinking which match the theories. Also, it could have been possible to just use the theories and apply them to China as it has been done with France, but it would miss to give an understanding of Chinese psychology. Many concepts and values are attached to Confucianism and Taoism. An important concept of Taoism is Yin Yang. Briefly and according to Fang (1999), Yin denotes female elements such as the moon, water, dark, soft and so on whereas Yang represents male elements such as the sun, fire, bright, strong and so on. Yin Yang indicates the dualism of everything, Yin and Yang are both necessary and complementary to create, maintain and develop “universal events”. This leads to the concept of unity and harmony. Linked to that, Confucianism value the avoidance of conflict and seeking of harmony by promoting group-based systems of social relations (Fang,1999). According to Hofstede (1984), it is noticeable that China scores low (20) in individualism. Indeed, in Chinese’s minds relationships with others, respect of them, reciprocity are the type of concept highly developed and ingrained. Interpersonal relationships are distinguished by some “rules”. There is a deep notion of reciprocity that can lead one Chinese to act in a very good way or bad way according to what another individual does towards him. 18 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Relationships involve reciprocal obligations (Fang, 1999), which are defined by the Chinese term Guanxi. This term involves to consider any relationships as “the establishment of a connection between two independent individuals to enable a bilateral flow of personal or social transactions” (Yeung and Tung, 1996). The notion of reciprocal obligations suggests that each individual in any relationships involves his self in order to respond to the potential demand of the other. Also, it implies to develop trust with the person. Confucianism conceives a certain value of moral, which is mainly based on trust (Tu, 1984). “Interpersonal trust” (Fang, 1999) or “individual trust” (Jansson, 1994) is sought, fostered and compulsory before lasting any relationship. It is now obvious that relationships are very important and fostered by Chinese people and that tendency indicates the particularism aspect of Chinese culture defined by Trompenaars (1993). Brooks (1993) states particularist cultures are based on people relationships, and cites the term Guanxi as an example. Another proof of the Chinese particularism is the reduction of rules that is laws. Indeed, Confucianism refutes the usefulness of laws to rule a group or society. In Chinese culture, law equals to notably a lack of trust (Fang, 1999) which is as said previously very important. Thus and in order to avoid untrustworthy, disrespectful behaviors and so on, Confucianism ingrains a moral notion of shame into people’s minds. As Fang (1999) states, Chinese people’s behavior are regulated by moral mechanisms. Those moral mechanisms and sense of shame match with the concept of face. Face can be defined as the image people owns (Goffman, 1955). Hofstede and Bond (1988) defined it as “one’s dignity, self-respect and prestige”. 19 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) So, Face is important to Chinese people as it represents their “value” in the society and then people avoid to lose face but also to make others lose face. Chinese concept of Face is included in the Confucian notions of shame and harmony (Fang, 1999). Again, Hofstede and Bond (1988) precise harmony is found in the maintenance of individual’s face. Thus, as no one wants both to lose face and to make people lose face, it tends to create harmony. According to Hall and Hall, China is a high-context culture. It is indeed a high-context culture and a lot more than France is. This high-context is related to some extent to the concept of face. Fang (1999) specifies, “Chinese meanings do not exist in coded and transmitted messages” which perfectly agree with the theory of high-context culture with shared code communication, interpretation of non-verbal communication etc. The notion of not losing face and not making others lose face can justify that high-context communication. Indeed, Chinese people value respect and dignity towards others; thus it is predictable that people will not offend others through aggressive behavior and or speeches. Tan (1990) stated Chinese people have difficulty with frank dialogues except with trusted friends. This willing to respect the interlocutor and the discussion is reflected by the verbal communication of Chinese. Interlocutors listen to each other respectfully waiting the speaker to finish. Silence between talks often occurs (Trompenaars, 1993) and represents both a time of considering on what has just been said and respect. Moreover, tone of voice tends to be monotonous and self-controlled showing again respect (Trompenaars, 1993). Self-control is important in Confucianism as a “Confucian gentleman is patient, maintaining self-control whatever the situation” (Fang, 1999). Selfcontrol and monotonous verbal communication are main characteristics of neutral cultures. 20 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) As mentioned previously, thoughts and emotions are not openly revealed, which increase again the high-context cultural aspect of Chinese. Keeping emotions for one self and not express them have even a medical reason. In The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine (as quoted in Veith, 1972) is stated that emotions of joy and anger associated to cold and heat are respectively injurious for the spirit (two former) and for the body (two latter). To avoid this, harmony is to be found referring to the concept of Yin Yang. That neutrality of expression and communication has to be referred to a second predominating Taoist concept called Wu Wei. Through that concept, calmness of mind is nurtured which “empowers one to swallow all the confronting forces and then become their master in the end” (Fang, 1999). It refers again to harmony avoiding conflict and self-control. Wu Wei means “non-action”, “doing nothing”. However, it has to be considered with the “calmness of mind” valued by it and as Fang (1999) defines it, Wu Wei means acting/doing things in a wise manner rather than “inaction”. According to Hofstede (1984), China has a high power distance scoring 80. It indicates an important inequality of power between members of the society or organization. It suggests that hierarchy is present and accepted by less powerful members. It is endorsed by the Confucianism value of respect for Age and Hierarchy. Wu (1996) determined that notably training for obedience and acceptance of social obligations characterized Chinese socialization. Lewis (1999) stated “parents, teachers, bosses, all must be obeyed” which order relationships and foster hierarchy. In Chinese culture, older people have to be respected and listened by the younger for their knowledge and experience. Putting this directly in the business context, Fang (1999) states that young Chinese people are not enough experienced and capable of doing good business; he cites a Chinese proverb saying “No beard, no business”. Fang (1999) adapting the words of Confucius, states people with “white hair” must get “honored places”. 21 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Therefore, and according to Trompenaars (1993) it is understandable to notice that China is an ascriptive culture mainly based on age, which means knowledge and experience. Even in the language words exist to distinguish an older to a younger uncle, brother and so on. According to Trompenaars (1993), China is a diffuse culture. This cultural aspect is not directly depicted by a value of Confucianism or Taoism but could be “guessed” anyway by the value of respect for age and hierarchy. Indeed, in the business context older people represent knowledge and experience but outside of it, the association of age with knowledge and experience endures and then older bosses in the organization still represent somebody to respect. It appears that Harmony and its seeking is an important factor in everyday life of Chinese people by mainly impacting on relationships to regulate society. Thus it is not surprising to understand why Trompenaars (1993) defined China as an outer-directed culture. According to Trompenaars (1993), outer-directed cultures are willing to compromise, keep the peace and focus on “other”. This corroborates what has been said previously about seeking of harmony and avoidance of conflict, and both collectivist and particularist cultural aspects of China. Finally but not least, Hofstede (1984) found a tendency for uncertainty avoidance. China scores 60 on that scale. That reluctance for the unknown can be perceive as a “security” to preserve notably harmony. Indeed, any new information, person, change can be a factor of modifying the equilibrium. This is certainly why Chinese people are so cautious, calm in discussion. Therefore it is expectable for a foreigner to be carefully considered. The overall cultural aspects of China have been now clarified and give a “feeling” of the Chinese negotiation style, which follows from it. To sum up, Chinese culture tallies with the following and different theoretical concepts: 22 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) - Collectivist culture and particularist culture - medium uncertainty avoidance which seeks harmony in everything, - high-context and neutral culture, - ascriptive culture with a deep notion of respect for age, - diffuse culture with high power distance, - outer-directed culture. 23 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Negotiation Culture is now defined and determined concerning both France and China. The next step is now to identify the cultural aspects of negotiation concerning the two countries in order to specify their negotiation styles. In that purpose it is first necessary to explain what negotiation is. 1) What is negotiation Negotiation occurs when common interests and issues of conflict exist (Iké, 1968). Those two elements give rise to a process occurring between at least two parties, which leads to a single decision of mutual interest (Zartman, 1978). Wall and Blum (1991) see negotiation as the process through which at least two parties exchange products or services by reaching an agreement upon the exchange rate for them. Thus, it appears that negotiation is an interactive process between conflicting parties which have both interests to get from the other, and aiming to find a good arrangement minimizing concession made to the other and maximizing getting from the other. The question is until which extent each party wants to minimize concessions and maximize gains. This leads to the agreement of the theories to classify negotiation into two perspectives. The first category is named Game theory (Fang, 1999), or Forcing negotiation (Lin, Miller, 2003) or again Distributive negotiation (Ma, 2006). This first perspective suggests to consider negotiation through a Win-Lose approach aiming to make the other party lose more and then to gain more from it. That approach indicates a tendency to use a certain negotiation strategy that all agree to call competition. Fang (1999) defines that strategy by a will to persuade the other party to get it to give up and finally accept a decision, which is not the best for it. 24 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) That negotiation process often leads to contentious behaviours (Ma, 2006) as bargaining continuously occur with the use of what Fisher and Ury (1981) calls tricky tactics and tricky bargaining. It suggests the use of phony facts, dubious intentions or the intention to put the other negotiator in stressful situations by refusing to negotiate or trying to rush decision by a “take it or leave it” position. The second category is named Social exchange theory (Fang, 1999), or Compromising negotiation (Lin, Miller, 2003) or again Integrative negotiation (Ma, 2006). This second perspective suggests to consider negotiation through a Win-Win approach aiming to reach an agreed and fair decision for each negotiating parties. In that case, no party is more advantaged than the other. That approach relates to the use of a negotiation strategy generally called cooperation. Putnam (1990) sees that strategy as an aim “to reconcile the interests of both parties, reach joints benefits, or attain win-win goals”. That negotiation process leads to a more collaborative negotiation unfolding than a conflicting one by focusing on interests and not positions and seeking mutual gains (Fang, 1999). Those different approaches to negotiation and the likeliness to use one more than the other is definitely due to and influenced by Culture. However, it might be a little bit limited to consider negotiation and the impact of culture just by drawing up the face-to-face interaction between the two parties. That is why in the following section, negotiation phases or steps are going to be addressed and illustrated by the impact of culture on each. Also, it has to be specified that each stages are important and have impacts on the negotiation outcome. 2) Negotiation phases and culture Through theories, many negotiation phases can be found. Phatak, Bhagat and Kashlak (2005) identify five stages, which are preparation, relationship building, information exchange, persuasion, and finally making concessions and reaching agreement. 25 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Graham and Sano (1984) distinguished two stages that are first non-task related interactions and second task-related interactions. Holmes (1992) talks about three stages starting by an initiation stage, carrying on then by a problem solving stage and ending by a resolution stage. Therefore, negotiation could be dissected and divided into multiple stages but Holmes’ scheme seems the easier to use and to understand with a “before, a during and an after negotiation”. In that sense, Fang (1999) determined also three stages that he made even easier to understand calling them pre-negotiation, face-to-face interaction and post-negotiation stages. This “summarization” of negotiation phases is going to be now used and addressed within the context of culture and its impact on those. Also it is going to smoothly introduce the identification of French and Chinese negotiation styles. 2.1) Pre-negotiation stage This stage considers all the interactions both parties have together before running the actual negotiation that is all the interactions “excluding the exchange of information regarding the business” (Simintiras and Thomas, 1998). It represents moments during both parties “get to know the other”. Conversations, dinners, exchange of business cards are included in that phase (Phatak, Bhagat and Kashlak, 2005). Fang (1999) describes that stage as “the establishment of a rapport by getting to know one another socially often in an informal manner”. According to cultures, that stage could last a more or less long time because of a more or less important signification. Thus, for cultures, which foster on relationships and people, this stage represents an important moment and should last a longer time than for deal-focused cultures. Also it has been said in the previous parts, that particularist and collectivist cultures were fostering on relationships. It is then understandable that stage is important for such cultures, which is especially the case of China. 26 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Mead (1998) determined that different cultures are more or less willing to trust the other side in a negotiation. Also, this is crucial as if the “suspicious negotiator” does not get a feeling of trust or does not have time to get it, both the unfolding and outcome of the negotiation might be negative. This has to be linked to the level of uncertainty avoidance developed by Hofstede (1984). This concerns both France and China. 2.2) Face-to-face interaction stage That stage deals with what has been described previously with both negotiation perspectives. Culture impacts on that stage especially again determining a deal-focused orientation or relationships-focused orientation. The former orientation defines logically the first perspective and the WinLose approach. The latter orientation relates to the second perspective and the Win-Win approach. Depending on what the negotiator value more through his culture, that stage might last again a different length. Deal-focused negotiators are likely to rush the negotiation whereas Chinese negotiators valuing trust, patience and relationship are likely to make it last. It is a question whether the relationship is seen as instrumental to make business or not. The part of particularism and the uncertainty avoidance characterizing the French culture let speculate to be the main reasons of the similarity with the Chinese concerning the pre-negotiation stage and the need to spend time for the relationship building. However, French tend to be more deal-focused during the actual negotiation interaction stage, which could be explained by the universalist aspect defining also French culture. 2.3) Post-negotiation stage It relates to what the agreement means and thus the form of it, which can be a “gentleman’s agreement” or a formal “Western-style contract” (Simintiras and Thomas, 1998). 27 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Is it a binding agreement which settle up conditions, obligations for both parties or is it more a guideline, which is flexible and might be the subject to modifications and fittings afterwards? Those divergent visions are the effect of culture and again the relationship or deal orientation. It depends on whether the negotiation and then the business are seen as a collaboration, which suggests constant communication between parties or rather as a short-term mean to make business, which suggests that after the agreement, no or few communication occurs while each party does what they are supposed to. Obviously, the main impact that culture has on negotiation is to condition the negotiator to be deal or relationship-focused. The likeliness to be more one than the other determine how one relates with the other and the importance given to that relation (pre-negotiation stage), how one sees the actual negotiation interaction and the outcome expected of it; Win-Lose or Win-Win (face-to-face interaction stage), and finally how one perceives the agreement and how one considers the future business relationship with the other (post-negotiation stage). However, many other cultural aspects have impacts on the negotiation stages and thus the outcomes. Those are notably the importance given to status (age, rank etc), the neutral or affective cultural aspect or also, as negotiation is done through communication, the high or low-context aspect of the culture. This is through those aspects and others mentioned in the culture section that both French and Chinese negotiation styles are going to be identified. 28 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) French and Chinese negotiation styles Both French and Chinese negotiation styles are now going to be defined. These are based on the findings on the French and Chinese culture and thus have to be linked to them when reading. Some further literature is used in order to endorse the findings. Both negotiation styles are addressed according to the three phases developed previously. 1) French negotiation style 1.1) French pre-negotiation style French are a bit suspicious towards people they do not know and have the need to know the other. This socialization is most done in restaurants. Business lunches are the French favorite time to do it and could last between two or three hours with plenty of courses. 70% of the French consider business lunches as an important part of doing business (Gesteland, 1996). Those are moments where business talks are banished at least until the dessert. This stage is compulsory before addressing business, however, even if they need to know a good deal about the other (Gesteland, 1996), they need more to get a feeling about the other rather than to know his life. Thus, talking about private life and notably family is avoided. Therefore, that stage is likely to last a relative long time until they establish some connections. 1.2) French negotiation style - Win-Win approach Their objectives are long-term and seek firm personal relationships (Lewis, 1999). Being relationship-focused in the previous stage, French tend to be more deal-focused while negotiating (Gesteland, 1996). 29 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) - Greetings Moderate handshakes are the common, and always done, greeting in business context. A steady eye contact is given during the handshake. Those occur both at the start and end of the meeting (Gesteland, 1996). They are more formal than outside the business life and use last names (Lewis, 1999). - Communication They have a high-context communication style and are not likely to negotiate straight to the point (Gesteland, 1996). They favor subtle and indirect language. Also, small talks occur beforehand but less than in some other cultures. They are affective and thus expressive (Gesteland, 1996; Lewis, 1999) in their communication as Latins are. Argument is relished as a form of entertainment (Hofstede, 1984 retrieved by ITIM International B, 2003). Therefore, conflicting debates often occur in business meetings with use of body language. - Logical thinking They apply reason and logic to negotiations (Acuff, 1997). Verbal confrontations frequently punctuate negotiations interactions on the basis of “illogical” arguments. (Gesteland, 1996; Lewis, 1999). It could appear as a high bargaining strategy aiming to put down the illogical arguments of the other, however they are polite restating their position and it is more a way for the French to make the deal totally clear (Lewis, 1999), to be sure of having cover everything and to avoid bad surprises afterwards. - Negotiation team and decision-making They are conservative and thus any deal proposition implying important change(s) takes time to be considered by the French through their logical thinking. 30 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) This logical thinking leads them to consider any aspect and decisions are then made after much deliberation often outside the meeting. The negotiation team is likely to be argumentative and cautious as they are reserved about their intentions (Acuff, 1997). They seek to know first what the other wants, make many assumptions and hypothesis and then reveal late in negotiation their intentions (Lewis, 1999). They collect all the information to make up their logical understanding of the deal. Therefore, negotiation stage might last a relative long time until they have weighed up the pros and cons and applied logic on everything (Gesteland, 1996). - Other aspects They are hierarchical and status conscious on the basis of level of education and indirectly of the family background (Gesteland, 1996). Senior managers are likely to have been highly educated (notably in one of the Grandes Ecoles) and to be the ones making the decisions in the negotiation team. They tend to be more punctual in the business context (Acuff, 1997). They can be a bit touchy against disrespectful behavior or the nonobservation of protocol, but question of “honour” is not a big deal and to lose face is not worrying (Lewis, 1999). 1.3) French post-negotiation style Oral agreement after negotiation has sense for the French due to the highcontext of their culture. However, written contracts are definitely binding both companies (Acuff, 1997). Further, the contract binds the two companies both in terms of business relations and in terms of obligations. A wish for a long and fruitful relationship is often the object of a toast after a completed negotiation (Acuff, 1997) as they aim long-term benefits. 31 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) 2) Chinese negotiation style 2.1) Chinese pre-negotiation style As Fang (1999) states “Chinese do business with you, not with your company”, Chinese need to spend a lot of time to get to know the potential future business partner. The more they know their counterpart the more they are willing to do business and then they are likely to ask personal questions about notably family and personal hobbies (Acuff, 1997). They treat very graciously foreign negotiators with evening dinner parties at hotels or restaurants (Acuff, 1997) in order to socialize and establish that relationship. Beyond the business relation they seek a personal one, which might lead to friendship they base on trust and mutual connections. A strong relationship is often indispensable for the implementation of a contract (Chen, 2004). Therefore, that stage can last a very long time until the establishment of a personal trustworthy relationship. 2.2) Chinese negotiation style - Win-Win approach The Chinese value harmony, collaboration and in negotiation they aim to reach a compromised agreement (Chen, 2004; Gesteland, 1996). - Greetings Handshakes are not the only one greeting; besides a nod or slight bow are more common forms of greetings (Acuff, 1997). Eye contact is moderate as a stronger and steadier one may be perceived as an attempt of intimidation or hostility (Gesteland, 1996). They like formality and use titles and last names (Acuff, 1997). - Communication They are high-context and are not likely to go straight to the point by using a lot of small talks. 32 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) They use a lot of indirect language and are vague and ambiguous. A direct and explicit language could offend the other party. They are subtle and never express their disagreement by a blunt “no”. They are polite and respectful at all times and avoid open confrontation in order not to lose face. They do not sharply disagree, embarrass counterparts to avoid to make them lose face. They avoid to interrupt people who are talking and speak softly (Gesteland, 1996). They are reserved and neutral people and thus are low contact. Unless the relationship is well established, personal distance is greater than in the West and they do not like to be patted on the back and shoulders (Acuff, 1997). Their body language is very limited and use small gestures. They perceive loud, expressive and impatient behavior as offensive (Gesteland, 1996) and a lack of self-control (Chen, 2004). They do not use the connoted individualistic “I” and are “we-oriented” (Acuff, 1997) and then prefer having the feeling to deal with a group (Chen, 2004). - Negotiation team and decision-making Negotiation process and then decision-making are time-consuming. It involves a lot of people and not only the one in the negotiating team (Chen, 2004). The Chinese are very cautious and patience is a virtue, therefore they do not like to rush decisions. Negotiation meetings are just information gathering and decision is made outside the meeting after many reviews (Chen, 2004). - Other aspects They are hierarchical and status conscious on the basis of age and the oldest members are likely to be the most important (Acuff, 1997). Also, they expect to negotiate with an equal ranked and aged person as the contrary might be a sign of lack of sincerity and even of disrespect (Chen, 2004). 33 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) They value punctuality; a lack of it is disrespectful (Acuff, 1997; Gesteland, 1996). 2.3) Chinese post-negotiation style Chinese value more the strength of the relationship with both the negotiators and the company than the final written agreement, which is more an expression of intent. They do not feel the obligation to strictly comply with a contract and consider that both parties can renegotiate it afterwards if it is required (Acuff, 1997; Chen, 2004; Gesteland, 1996). They consider the use of lawyers as meaningless as trust and friendship should be established between both parties. Finally, to reach a business agreement is seen as a collaboration with a trusted friend by focusing on long-term benefits. It means to be able to do business with them as long as trust and friendship is still present. It suggests that the next negotiation is likely to be easier and also that the Chinese friend is likely to help with his connections. Summing up This part showed the impact of culture on negotiation style. The established link between the two concepts proved the usefulness of such study. Within the ambit of the report, this part meets the two first objectives of the research in first identifying both cultures of France and China and second determining their respective theoretical negotiation styles. It shapes the basis for the following step that is the actual research. This research or investigation meets the two next objectives before reaching the aim of the research. 34 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Chapter Two: Methodology CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION A qualitative and exploratory investigation This part deals with the actual research, that is all its aspects, and what followed from that. Briefly, it was decided the research nature to be qualitative due to the research topic itself. Thus the part aims first to depict the entire research methodology following what Saunders, et al. (2003) call “the research process onion”, and second to justify the different choices made. CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Research philosophy That section relates to the way the development of knowledge is thought and so the way the research is carried out (Saunders, et al., 2003). The topic is about cultural aspects narrowed down to negotiation styles. It is understood from the theory that culture is unique to every country reflecting itself on negotiations styles. Thus, even if every single person of a same culture cannot be expected to behave, to think exactly the same way, major patterns are definable. Due to the link between culture and negotiations styles, major patterns for the negotiation styles have been defined. Therefore it has been thought that general patterns do not need to be proven or verified by numbers (positivism) but by discovering “the details of the situation to understand the reality or perhaps a reality working behind them” (Remenyi et al., 1998, cited in Saunders, et al. 2003). Therefore an interpretivist philosophy was preferred in that context, which would give more flexibility concerning both the exploration of the topic and the interpretation of the results. The aim of the research is to understand why French negotiators are likely to negotiate in a particular way in order to make sense of the final recommendations for them when negotiating with Chinese counterparts. This process defines the role of the interpretivist according to Saunders, et al. (2003). Research approach That section deals with the rapport between the theory and the research itself. Does the research test the theory or does the research build a theory? In other terms, it concerns whether the research moves from theory to data or from data to theory (Saunders, et al., 2003). 36 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Those different approaches are respectively called deductive and inductive approaches. As suggested by Saunders, et al. (2003), it is beneficial to use a combination of both approaches and thus it was decided to do so in some extent. 1) Deductive approach A deductive approach has been chosen in the purpose to test and thus to validate or disprove the theory concerning both French and Chinese cultures and thus negotiation styles. However this is the only justification to call it deductive. Indeed and because of the interpretivist nature of the research and so the low value given to numbers to endorse the research, the “theory test” was done through only qualitative data and not quantitative or scientific ones. 2) Inductive approach The further and most important part of the research was this time carried out inductively based on the validation or disproval of both cultures’ and negotiation styles’ theories. Those collected qualitative data aimed and allowed to identify potential French cultural inhibitors within the context of Franco-Chinese negotiations. Those determined cultural inhibitors have been used in order to explore what is going on during Franco-Chinese negotiations, which led to develop a theory about how to negotiate with Chinese from a French perspective represented by the final recommendations. Research strategy That section is about the decisions made so as to get the required answers for the research in stating clear objectives, specifying the sources and the constraints (Saunders, et al., 2003). 37 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) As evoked previously, the main research has an exploration characteristic. Therefore an exploratory study strategy was chosen in order to fulfil the final aim of the report. However and before that exploratory phase, a part of the research has been carried out through a descriptive phase. 1) Descriptive strategy A descriptive strategy was decided in order to “portray profile of persons” (Robson, 2002, cited in Saunders, et al., 2003), who in this case are both French and Chinese. As it is obvious, this descriptive study phase is linked to the deductive approach mentioned before and aimed to verify cultures’ and especially negotiation styles’ theories. Due to the qualitative aspect of the research, two samples of six persons (one French and one Chinese) were determined to be enough. How the data have been collected from them is discussed later. It was easy to access to the “required” French and Chinese people due to the proximity of them and the relations maintained with them during the whole year, which led to a quick collaboration. The outcomes of it have then been used to carry the next phase of the research. In other terms, the descriptive study was used as a forerunner to the exploratory research as Saunders, et al. (2003) define it. 2) Exploratory strategy Thus, the exploratory research was used so as to find out “what is happening, to ask questions and to assess phenomena in a new light” (Robson, 2002, cited in Saunders, et al., 2003) in the context of FrancoChinese negotiations. This exploratory study is linked to the inductive approach mentioned before aiming to develop the recommendations (new theory) sought by the research. 38 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) The recommendations are defined as new theory because those are focused from the French perspective, which gives a unique characteristic to the recommendations. One way to conduct an exploratory research is “to talk to experts in the subjects” (Saunders, et al., 2003). In the context of the report, it was decided to collect experiences from French managers. Still due to the qualitative aspect of the research, it was decided to contact a maximum of three French managers who experience Franco-Chinese negotiations. The result was that only two have been possible to carry out, as the third one never replied when the time came to do the research. Thus, the exploratory research is based from two point of views, which have been considered all the same reliable given that the research focussed on the “why it is happening” and not “how many times it is happening”. Of course, different point of views mean different experiences but it does not mean that the fundamental French manner of thinking and acting during negotiations (or the willing to do so) is totally different. This is why two points of views were assumed to be enough. Also, in an ethical concern, the name of both companies and of both French managers will never be cited and used in the report. Pseudonyms will be attributed to them in that purpose. The first company is situated in the area of Paris. It is a subsidiary of a Dutch airfreight company formed in 1994. This one was chosen because of the ease of access. Indeed, an acquaintance that worked there helped to establish the relationship. Also, it is not a big company and thus people within it were relatively easy to contact and reach when needed. The contact in the French company is the manager of the external relations and has the experience of Franco-Chinese negotiations for nearly eight years now. He will be named Jack. 39 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) The second one is situated in the area of Paris as well. It is a subsidiary of a famous American company in the printing equipment. The nature of the negotiation relation with Chinese is about buying materials used to construct the range of the different products. It was a bit more difficult and longer to establish contact with it, as it required search to find it and then time to reach and contact the “needed” person in the company, as the company was bigger than the first one. The contact person is a member of the purchase department and participates to Franco-Chinese negotiations for two years now. He will be named John. It was not possible to contact and deal with its chief executive, who would have provided a better credibility. Data collection method Data have been collected through qualitative semi-structured interviews. It is important as the focus is given to the understanding of the meanings. Through such qualitative interviews a “rich and detailed set of data” can be collected (Saunders, et al., 2003). It is useful, as it makes possible to explore in depth the issue notably because the interviewees “talk freely about events, behaviour and beliefs in relation to the topic area” (Saunders, et al., 2003). Given the research topic and the research philosophy, more value is given to such qualitative data. 1) Semi-structured group interview/Focus group Concerning the data about both French and Chinese cultures and negotiation styles, semi-structured interviews have been used through a group basis or focus group. Those took place in the descriptive part of the research. The aim was to cover the cultural points found in both negotiation styles. It might suggest that some part on both cultures sections in the literature review could be then useless and meaningless but on the contrary, it helps the reader to understand the cultural context, which shape negotiations styles. 40 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) The reason why the focus group did not aim to cover the whole part on cultures is simply because it would have been too long and produced too much information, which most of them would have been out of the report’s ambit. The main concern of the focus groups was “to keep one person or coalition of persons from dominating the group and to encourage recalcitrant respondents to participate” (Denzin, & Lincoln, 2003). It required some directivity to obtain responses from the entire group. However, that directivity needed to be balanced so as to avoid hindering the interviewees when expressing themselves and to ensure to get as more information as possible. Also in a concern to avoid lack of trust and to ensure to get people at ease during the focus groups, the individuals were not chosen at random. Indeed, only people with whom relationships was established have been chosen. There was another reason to choose to carry such focus groups. Indeed, one point was to define how French and Chinese relate to each others. Observation was determined to be a way to study it. 2) Structured observation It aimed to observe either a collectivist behaviour or an individualist one. By extension, it is related to the manner decision in a group are likely to be made. Do the individuals tend to concert each others seeking to obtain a kind of consensus or rather to challenge each other’s point of views? Rather to ask a simple question about that, it was preferred to observe individuals’ behaviour especially when answering to questions. Therefore observation was used to collect some primary data. It was used in a really focussed manner and concerned an unique and only one behaviour. Thus a structured observation was decided as the aim was to 41 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) quantify that behaviour (Saunders, et al., 2003), either consultation or challenge of point of views. To facilitate the observation, the focus group was carried at a round table. Thanks to that, it has been easy to notice whether individuals were more looking at the others (consensus) when answering or if they were more looking at me (more individualist). Also, that configuration favours the emergence of both behaviours as individuals are clearly seeing each others. Beyond that, the round table facilitate as well the control of the focus group, and to put everyone at ease in a more interactive configuration. 3) Semi-structured one-to-one interview Two semi-structured interviews on a one-to-one basis were conducted. Those took place in the exploratory part of the research seeking to find out what is happening during Franco-Chinese negotiations. Personal contact with the participants have been established and maintained in order to gain the essential trust to carry successful interviews (Denzin, & Lincoln, 2003). It allowed as well to ease the request of a meeting and to favour the acceptance of it. Face-to-face meetings have been preferred so as to ensure to get the required information in case of misunderstanding. As Saunders, et al. (2003) state, interviews are more likely to achieve the getting of answers to all the questions than the use of a questionnaire. Also and given the semi-opened nature of the questions, participants were expected to reflect and develop their answers, which can be a factor of reluctance when those have to be written down through a questionnaire (Saunders, et al., 2003). 42 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) 4) Aspects to consider When deciding to carry interviews whatever the nature of it, some ethical concerns have to be respected. Also, there are inevitable constraints encountered doing so. - Ethical concerns Both interviews and both focus groups were conducted on an ethical basis. Firstly, the agreement to record has always been asked beforehand (focus groups and one-to-one interviews). No refusals were received but in case of one, record would not have been occurred. Record helped to ease the analysis of the data but also ensure the “veracity of the reports made by the author” (Denzin, Lincoln, 2003) in order to protect both the participants and the interviewer. Secondly, high confidentiality (especially for companies) is maintained on the participants and their information whence the allocation of pseudonyms. Thirdly, all participants have been protected from any kind of harming and had all the time to express themselves. - Constraints The principal constraint encountered during the research concerned the third “participant”. Indeed, as a meeting was required, no replies came even after the sending of many emails. Fortunately, it did not generate bad consequences except the fact of one fewer point of view. Concerning both one-to-one interviews, the constraint was definitely the location of those. Indeed, it required time and money to do and finance the necessary travels from Derby. However, once arrived, time and money were not constraints anymore as living in Paris, I could stay as much days as wanted. Meetings were arranged before going to Paris and no special delays and changing dates occurred. 43 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) One factor was feared though, which was simply my capacity to conduct such interviews, as those were the first ones. However, the interviews were conducted before a period of vacation and both participants had less pressure as usual and gave me the necessary time. Concerning both focus groups, the organisation of the actual meeting was a bit irksome as a possible time for everybody had to be found. It needed to diffuse the information but as well to wait for the positive replies. The French focus group was pretty simple to organise and the date after having been decided was not changed. However, the Chinese one was longer to establish as two times, the established time and date were changed due to inconsistencies of some individual’s agenda. Otherwise, the actual unfolding of those were without any major problems. Nevertheless, an attention to refocus the discussion was necessary as sometimes it completely moved away from the topic with jokes. However, no drawback is seen from that as it demonstrates a certain enthusiasm and good mood from the participants. Data analysis method This section explains how the collected data have been analysed. Saunders, et al. (2003) recognize that qualitative data can be analysed either from a deductive position or an inductive one. Both were used respectively to what have been explained in the research approach section (2.2). A deductive position was adopted concerning the focus groups outcomes and existing theory was used to shape the data analysis. Concerning the one-to-one interviews, an inductive position was adopted to build up the final recommendations. 44 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Concerning the actual analysis, a narrative strategy was preferred. Simply because, the nature of the interviews encouraged the participants to share accounts of their experiences through their subjective interpretations (Saunders, et al., 2003). More value was given to do that way to relate the actual points of the participants Thus, “understanding and meaning were promoted through analysing narrative accounts in their originally told form” (Saunders, et al., 2003). That way, relevant and significant points were easier to emphasize. Summing up Through this part, it has been developed how the research was carried out. Based on justification, it was decided then to choose an interpretivist philosophy undergone with some extent of deductive approach but mainly through an inductive one. The research adopted a descriptive strategy (focus groups) at the beginning, to be fully exploratory at the end (two one-to-one interviews). The qualitative aspect of the research led to collect data through mainly semi-structured interviews of which outcomes are narrated in the following chapter. The following chapter meet the third and fourth objectives of the research. 45 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Chapter Three: Findings and Conclusions CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION What have been found out ? And so what ? The judgements This part aims to first transcribe what have been found from both focus groups and the one-to-one interviews and second to make appropriate judgments on the outcomes. In a concern of clarity, questions are addressed separately and answers are followed by the conclusions. CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Focus groups Questions have been addressed following the flow of the conversation with the participants. However, questions have been formulated and ordered, which give a framework to address those and simplify the reading as well as the understanding. Please refer to appendices to get full questions and their reasons. The tendencies of answers are given followed by the most interesting quotes. Simple approbations are not cited. Answers of both focus groups are treated simultaneously to help the comparison and the building of conclusions. 1) Trust and relationship French: Trust is likely to come more or less quickly and easily. “It depends on the person” “I am very suspicious” “If the person is nice to me and/or inspire me, the trust will come easily” “Time is the factor to realize there is trust in the relationship” All agreed to say Trust is the most important thing and is necessary to make a relationship last. “Without trust, hypocrisy settles” “Trust equals sincerity” Chinese: Trust is not likely to come quickly and easily. “I don’t trust others easily […] it requires long time to develop the trust” “Yeah, we need time, because some friend just want to use you sometimes” “Some people just want to be your friends for some reason, which is not friendship” 47 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Trust was given a big importance in friendship. “Friendship is important to me and trust is the factor to decide to keep it any longer” “Trust means honesty to me” Analysis: Both focus groups highlighted the fact French and Chinese are not likely to be quickly trusting to an unknown person. This corroborates the theories according to those French are suspicious (Hall and Hall, 1990), the high uncertainty avoidance rates of both France and China (Hofstede, 1984), and the importance of trust for Chinese in any relationship (Fang, 1999). Also, it justifies the fact pre-negotiation stages are likely to last a long time. 2) Private questions in friendship French: None are likely to ask private questions at the first encounter, rather later. “It depends on my willing to build a relationship or not” “It is about making someone entrust something private, time is required before that” “Those questions are asked when a friendly climate is there” Chinese: All are not likely to ask private questions at the first encounter. “It may feel curious […] I do not make friendship with the family” “Unless the person starts, I will not ask” “It does not help to build friendship or speed up the friendship building” One had an interesting remark: “I will not ask private questions because I have overseas study experience. But most people in China do not believe others and think to get more awareness in asking those” This remark had the approbation of some others. 48 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Analysis: All agreed to say private questions should come later on. For the French, it is some like the confirmation of the friendship and are then shared only with friends. For the Chinese it seems not to be an indispensable part of the friendship to know the other’s family life. It is not put in a business context but it puts into perspective the theory suggesting Chinese negotiators ask private questions in order to build friendship with their counterparts. Those questions are not definitely sure to be asked. The last Chinese remark suggests this is the tendency for Chinese who have been out of China, thus the theory is right when obviously applied to Chinese people who have never been out of China. It is not enough to affirm that, but this outcome makes think that Chinese culture is maybe slightly changing due to the opening of China and the abroad studies. 3) Friendship with colleagues French: Different answers were expressed. Some were definitely negative ones as: “It seems difficult to me to have a friendship with colleagues especially if I am a manager” “No, definitely not” followed by a laugh Some were more mitigated as: “It could happen but only after a long time to know them, then they might become friends” “Friendship with colleagues? Yes but I would not share my private life” Chinese: They are likely to build friendship with colleagues but not so likely to share private life. 49 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) “Yes, I think it is important for my career life. However, I will not share my private, family life unless it is necessary” “Yes, I will build friendships with colleagues, but I do not like share private things” “I strongly think building friendship through professional life. But I will not share private, family life with everyone” “It would depend on how close the friendship is” Analysis: The specific French culture aspect is showed but the diffuse Chinese one is again somewhat put into perspective as all expressed not to like sharing private life with colleagues. Trompenaars’ finding about diffuse Chinese culture seems to be a bit old or at least not as strong. However, the outcomes are from Chinese who have life experiences out of China, it sends back to the highlighted fact by the second question last remark with the shift of Chinese culture. 4) Steady eye contact when encountering French: A steady eye contact does not seem to be an issue: “[…] I expect it otherwise I do not want to speak, so NO PROBLEM” followed by a mutual laugh “It shows kindness, respect and is a way of communicating as well” “I feel like he is interested in what I am saying and thus encourages to carry on, it makes me feel at ease” Chinese: Obviously, a steady eye contact is well perceived, even expected. “It shows whether concentration or respect from the others” “Keep eyes steady with the person when talking is my habit” “I will feel it is friendly” “It is very important and will make me feeling well” Analysis: The French answers were expectable from the theory and notably Gesteland (1996) on the greetings. However, the Chinese ones were more surprising. Indeed, a steady eye contact does not seem to be associated with 50 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) an attempt of intimidation or hostility as Gesteland (1996) suggests and is even expected. It suggests the French eye contact when greeting should not be badly perceived by the Chinese. 5) Handshake when meeting French: All males expressed the necessary aspect of a handshake especially with other males to start a first interaction and notably in a business context. Females determined in a business context a simple nod or a hand sign is enough, except for an interview. If the handshake does not occur All females and males agreed around: “It is a bit weird as something was missing” “The conversation would go somewhat wrong” “It might be perceived as something rude” Chinese: Handshake seems to be spread in China. “In Chinese culture it seems important to have a handshake especially when first meeting people or business context” “Yes, handshake is a start point” If the handshake does not occur “They are not friendly or do not respect you” “I will think the person is so rude” “It is a lack of politeness” 51 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Analysis: Again, French answers corroborate the theory whereas Chinese ones are disproving a bit the theory. They did not say it was the only form of greeting but they associated the non-occurrence of it as something rude, lack of politeness. Thus when Acuff (1997) says a nod or slight bow are more common, he seems to be a bit out-of-date. Following that, the French greeting behaviour seems to be appropriate with Chinese. 6) Communication and expressiveness French: Differences in being expressive, but none affirmed not to be so. “Yes, I usually talk loud to make people notice I am here, I use gestures and I especially love using my hands” “I am from the South of France, therefore I am used to see people communicating this way, I guess it was compulsory for me to do the same” followed by a laugh “I use my hands but I do not talk too loud” If yes They said either to be aware about culture differences and thus/or simply not to be bothered about calm conversation. One however said: “I can be bothered by a person too calm as it is likely to make the conversation laze” Chinese: Except one, talking loud and using body language is not the habit. “I do not like talking loud in public areas as well as using too much gestures” “I might use a little hand action” “In public, I will not talk loud and use sometimes body language” 52 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) If no That type of communication is perceived negatively. “I do not feel comfortable […] it gives me an impression of impoliteness” “I think the person has no self-restraint” “It makes me feel uncomfortable” One had an interesting remark: “I perceive a calm person as someone knowledgeable” All approved. Analysis: The answers verify the theories about the French affective and Chinese neutral cultures and their respective use of body language (Trompenaars, 1993; Hall and Hall, 1990). Given the Chinese answers, it is obvious that the French communication style would be detrimental for a Franco-Chinese negotiation. It is a major inconsistency between the two cultures and has to be carefully considered. 7) Disagreement and arguing French: The argument was defined as important and a mean to express themselves. “To argue allows to endorse my point of view and to eventually make someone learn something or on the contrary to learn something” “I like arguing to show that my point of view is the right or best one” “It is important not to let the person limited by his/her opinion, to argue help to do so” “I always debate when I disagree, but I always seek to know why our opinions are different” Chinese: On the contrary of the French, Chinese do not favour debates and arguments. Moderately used: 53 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) “Yes, I sometimes like arguing with my friends but in a polite way to transfer the ideas instead of quarrel” “I will argue if it is necessary” “I argue when it is a good friend” Avoided: “I tend to avoid the verbal confrontation and find another way of persuasion” Analysis: French and Chinese tendencies to respectively relish conflict (Hall and Hall, 1990; Hofstede, 1984 retrieved by ITIM International B, 2003) and to minimize it (Fang, 1999; Trompenaars, 1993; Gesteland, 1996) are verified. It defined again an inconsistency between the two cultures way of communicating, which could inhibit a Franco-Chinese negotiation. 8) Perception of verbal confrontation French: They developed the usefulness of arguing/debating but: “Limits have to be there and people have to listen to each other. Otherwise, it is useless and becomes a quarrel” “It is good to defend opinions but sometimes it can create tensions” One had an interesting remark: “I like debating with friends, to contradict each other in order to demonstrate who is right. It is a part of the game” All agreed then. Chinese: The major patter is that conflict is not liked. “Conflict always make me feel upset and fed up. I do not like people communicating this way” “If the person is not a friend, I would see it as aggressiveness and unfriendly” “Unless it is necessary, conflict is useless and spoil conversation” 54 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Analysis: Linked to the previous question, it reinforces the idea that even if French are conscious of the potential bad consequences of debating, their relish to use it could be definitely detrimental in a Franco-Chinese negotiation given the Chinese answers. 9) Direct language and its perception French: Some associate directivity with disrespect whereas others define it as sometimes positive and even expect it. Pros: “It is not disrespect, on the contrary it makes you realize what you maybe need to change or to understand” “I think that it is normal and honest if someone tells you what he doesn’t like” Cons: “I feel offended, tact is a quality and respect of others is important” “Yes, a direct critic makes me ill at ease, and it could lead me to react negatively with a quarrel” Chinese: All agreed it depends whether the person is a friend or not and also expressed an awareness of culture difference. “If the person is a good friend and tell the truth I will accept the critic” “Yes, that is right. If the critic is useful, I would like to know it” “No, the person might have a different personality or even a different culture. He/she might never mean to hurt you” followed by a mutual agreement Analysis: Chinese expressed a culture difference awareness, which definitely comes from their experience abroad. Thus, it implies that Chinese who do not have such experience could perceive negatively such critic especially if the person is not well known. 55 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) This corroborates the concept of face (Fang, 1999; Hofstede and Bond, 1988) developed in Chapter One and suggests French should pay great attention to it. Also, This outcome is another, which suggests that Chinese culture is maybe changing. 10) Use of direct or indirect language French: Some are indirect to avoid offending the other whereas some see a waste of time in being indirect. “When it can hurt the person, I will be indirect” “I prefer being indirect, the person is then less aggressed and understand at the same time” “I do not agree as the message can be misunderstood. I consider being indirect as a waste of time” Chinese: It generally depends on whom they talk to. “If I know very well the person and keep a good friendship I will try to say it directly” “Yes, with friends I will be more direct” Some other remarks have been said: “[…] However, I would prefer say things indirectly if more other people are around” “[…] Also, I am indirect when talking to older people, otherwise they might think I am impolite” Analysis: The high contexts of both cultures (Hall and Hall, 1990) are shown here. Linked to the previous question, it seems that Chinese accept directivity when it comes from friends, that directivity is to be avoided in public and in front of older people surely to avoid to make someone lose face. Therefore, directivity has to be carefully used and awareness about when it is possible to use it is important. 56 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) 11) Value of logic for arguments and decision-making French: Logic was given an important value for debating. A logical decision was defined as better, righteous. “Logic is a proof and demonstration of righteousness in either case of an argument and decision” “I definitely give more importance to logical arguments […] When I can use my logic to make a decision, I use it” Chinese: They considered logic as very important concerning arguments and decisions. “A good logical argument is much more valuable and easy to be accepted” “I expect people to communicate this way […] I like logical persons” “Logical thinking can help my friends to understand me easily” Analysis: As expected (Hall and Hall, 1990; Communal and Senior, 1999; Acuff, 1997), logical thinking is favoured by French and highly valuable when debating. The Chinese appeared to give importance to it as well, but frequent interruptions of negotiation on the basis of “illogical” arguments (Gesteland, 1996; Lewis, 1999) from the French could lead the Chinese to feel offended, even disrespected as it is a direct critic on what they say. 12 French) Association of high education level and status A high education level was associated with status and defined thus as important. “I think even if it is not everything, education is important for a job” “It gives a status. I would be respectful and impressed with someone having a PHD or an MBA. It is a proof of knowledge” 57 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Analysis: It verifies the status ascription of French culture according to the education (Trompenaars, 1993). Thus, French negotiators are likely to be high-educated managers. 12 Chinese) Perception of age They all said it does not mean anything. They could talk and behave differently but not in order to show respect or expect of getting respect according to them. “There are no differences for me” “I just behave and talk different to older or younger people, but I do not associate specific characteristic with Age” From a business context perspective, a remark was given: “Age does not mean too much […] if the person could give useful suggestions, age is not a problem” Analysis: The status ascription by the Age (Trompenaars, 1993; Acuff, 1997) seems to be attenuated compared to what the theory describe. The respect due to elders (Wu, 1996; Lewis, 1999; Fang, 1999) is certainly applicable but the association Age-Knowledge and thus capability is less important according to the participants’ answers. But again, if it is a consequence of a culture change, it means that attention have to be paid to particularly the Chinese counterpart age as elders are less likely to have abroad experience. 13) Perception of rules French: Rules appeared to be necessary to all but some feel limited by those. 58 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) “People should control themselves but laws need to exist” “Rules can limit ourselves and I can feel bothered by a rule which does not fit me” “I feel okay with rules as far as those are for the well being of everyone” “I think rules give the right guidelines to people, thus I am ok with this” All agreed Chinese: All expressed to be okay with rules, which are necessary. “It is acceptable if rules are reasonable because we cannot live without” “I do not feel like rules are controlling my behavior” One remarked: “Rules are just references” All then agreed Analysis: All participants seem to have the same opinion that rules are necessary and agreed when one participant in each group said rules were references, guidelines, which must not hinder people to evolve in the right sense. This corroborates the particularism aspects of both cultures and concerning Chinese the likeliness to consider the terms of a contract renegotiable. 14) Use of self-deadlines French: The tendency was to say it is useful but difficult to follow. “I always establish some but I never manage to respect those” “I work according to circumstances, thus even if I set deadlines to myself, I am not always following these” “No, I do not use that and I do not tempt to set some” Chinese: They all determined that: “It is hard but worth to manage to respect those” “I always plan when I work” “I am a good time management person and like to have my life in order” 59 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Analysis: The French polychronic and synchronic (Lewis, 1992; Trompenaars, 1993) aspect is clearly showed whereas the Chinese are likely to follow and respect the deadlines and schedules. This, when applied to a post Franco-Chinese negotiation, could be an inconsistency between both cultures and lead to a discontentment of the Chinese if deadlines are not respected by the French. Collective or individual behaviour observation French: It was observed those interviewees before and when answering questions were not looking to each other, which happens only after answering. Generally, when disagreement came up from another, attempts to interrupt the speaker occurred. Contradictions were expressed quickly and defended many times. Chinese: It was noticed a time of silence was occurring before to get an answer. It lasted not more than five seconds while they were looking very often to each others. Agreement were expressed mutually if not endorsed by another answer. Participants always expressed their disagreement after the speaker had finished. Also, it never led to another argument from the first participant. Analysis: The French individualism and Chinese collectivism (Hofstede, 1984) is highlighted from that. The individualism of French led them to let flow opinions confrontation whereas the collectivism of Chinese stopped it when there was not a consensus. Applied to a Franco-negotiation context, it could lead the Chinese to perceive the French team disorganised and maybe not unified, which might be a bit detrimental according to Acuff (1997) and Chen (2004) if such opinions debating occur in front of the Chinese team. 60 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) One-to-one interviews These interviews have been conducted on the basis on what have been found from the focus groups. Again, a framework for the questions has been put in appendix. According to the interview, other questions sometimes came up. In that case, it is mentioned within the text. The two interviews are addressed simultaneously in order to only highlight important facts and to avoid potential remarks repetition. 1) Franco-Chinese negotiation experience The two participants have different experiences. Jack negotiates with Chinese for almost eight years now whereas John has an experience of two years. 2) The need to know the other Both expressed the fact Chinese talk a lot before starting to negotiate. John: “I guess they love having friendly talks, which is a pretty good thing” Jack: “Well yes, they spend time to talk with and about you” Jack: “I remember a negotiation when I traveled to China with my colleagues around five years ago. I do remember that before having an actual business meeting to address the negotiation, five days were spent in restaurants and entertainment. I really enjoyed it” I asked if he did not think it was a too long time. Jack: “Well, not really because I enjoyed it and it was very welcoming. However sometimes, days are spend as well without talking business but it is not that enjoyable and it becomes a bit annoying” 61 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Analysis: It then corroborates both theory and what have been found from the focus groups. They expressed the fact it was enjoyable and a good thing. Therefore, a French should not negatively perceive it. However, Jack’s second answer suggests Chinese pre-negotiation time is longer than French one and could get annoying if it is not really pleasant. 3) Private questions Different perspectives were expressed. John: “Well, it depends. It happened I would say half of the time. Nevertheless when it happened I was never asked such questions at the first encounter” I asked him if he could determine why it sometimes happened and sometimes not, but he could not find a veritable reason. Jack related the same fact. However, after John’s interview I revised the Chinese focus group (interesting remark of the second question) and asked him to think about the overall ages of the Chinese who asked him and those who did not, if the former were older than the latter. Jack: “Well, if I remember well and generalize, I would say that I have been more asked those type of questions by the older Chinese I have negotiated with” It was assumed that older Chinese are less likely to have been abroad than younger ones whence the link between the interesting remark and the age of the “askers”. Analysis: Compared to the Chinese focus group answers, it suggests it happens more often in a business context. Also, it definitely highlights and endorses, if not a shift of Chinese culture, a difference of behaviour between young and old. 62 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) 4) Reaction face to private questions This question showed the difference of experience between the two participants. Indeed, John said it was not really natural for him to talk about that. John: “Well, I do not really like to share that part of my life especially in a business context. Thus, I am really vague and try to talk about something else when it happens” Jack shared his experience about that fact. Jack: “Well, I evolved I would say towards that point. At my debuts, I was a bit reluctant to keep going on that kind of conversation until I realized something. […] I think it hindered the relationship as he was then behaving slightly differently. […] I now never negatively react and consider it is part of the business and I perceive such questions as a good thing for the coming negotiation” I asked him if he could remember the approximate age of the one he was talking about and when it happened, still in the purpose to maybe highlight a behaviour difference between ages. He was obviously around fifty and it occurred around four years. Analysis: John and Jack’s answers show the specific culture of French, which could be an inhibitor as “socialization” with the Chinese counterpart through this way is stopped and avoided. Jack’s experience makes clear that it could be an inhibitor as he stated it is a part of business. Thus, if a part is missing of the business, the business is not complete I would say. Further, Jack’s second answer implies again the difference of behaviour between ages mentioned previously. 63 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) 5) Greetings Jack and John had different answers. John always shakes hands but had an anecdote. John: “[…] I went to shake his hand and he looked at me like he did not know what I was intending to do. After a while he all the same shook my hand but completely without any conviction” Jack said it depends on the person and he always let the counterpart the initiative. I tried to define a reason and asked if according to him it was linked again with the age. Jack replied: “Well yes, I would say older ones are likely to put more distance and thus the handshake is less likely to happen” About the steady eye contact, they expressed not to have a precise any idea about it. Analysis: It appears again that different behaviour can be encountered with different Chinese counterparts. Even if from the focus groups this cannot be defined as an inhibitor, John’s anecdote implies it could be one in some cases. 6) Small talks too long? Both agreed to say Chinese take a long time but that they do not try to push them. John: “Yes, it is sometimes too long and gets a bit annoying. I guess it is their manner to do and I never try to accelerate because it could lead to the reverse effect” Jack: “I have understood if they do that is because they need to do so. Further, I guess it is better to let them the initiative to get to the point” After their respective answers, I have asked if they would then prefer getting straight to the point and forget the small talks. 64 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) It was the same answer like John’s: John: “No, no, it is not what I mean. I just say that to me I would stop the small talks before they do” Analysis: It corroborates perfectly the theory especially Hall and Hall (1990) highcontext characteristics. French seem to be more deal-focused as Gesteland (1996) mention when actually negotiating. Therefore, the longer time Chinese spend before getting to the point could be a factor of impatience for the French and becomes a detrimental cultural inconsistency for a Franco-Chinese negotiation. 7) Disagreement expression Once again, this question showed the difference of experience. John expressed to be generally indirect but sometimes he is more direct. John: “[…] for example, sometimes they are so vague that you feel like they do not talk about the right thing. It gets me maybe a bit annoyed and make me to disagree more easily because I want to refocus the discussion on the negotiation” John related he could to some extent lose his patience during the actual negotiation. Thus, I have then asked if in these cases he was likely to interrupt the evasive counterpart and how he was “proceeding”. John: “Well, it happens when an important aspect of a negotiation is … not avoided but not addressed properly. I then try to stop the speaker with my hand and face expression, for example, and make him notice my willing to refocus” Jack showed more experience in this domain. Indeed, he said to be most of the time indirect as he realised to be too direct with a Chinese could be detrimental. Jack: “I am usually indirect when I disagree except when I really have to affirm my position. However, to be too direct on every disagreement could lead the Chinese to 65 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) be quite bad in exchange if not disrespectful. Believe me, I talk by experience” he laughed Analysis: John expressed the ambiguous characteristic of Chinese when communicating determined in the theory. He described his reaction as using body language, interrupting the counterpart and indirectly making a critic towards him suggesting the Chinese is not enough precise and focused on the real point. From the Chinese focus group, it is proved that Chinese do not bear body language (question six), do not interrupt speakers (collective behaviour observation) and a critic especially from someone not well known made in public (questions 9 and 10) is not well accepted as the Chinese could lose face. It is a kind of a concentrate of not advisable reactions and behaviours to have with a Chinese as it is concluded from the theory, Chinese focus group and Jack’s experience. Also, the question nine made the Chinese participants to express culture difference awareness and then to be more likely to accept it. Again, it suggests a difference of behaviour from those who lived abroad. 8) Logic in argument I have linked this question to the previous one and asked it right after it. Both related the same feeling (John’s answer were the clearest) that is: John: “Yes, definitely. I favour a lot logic to make my argument clear and valuable […] I would not say they are illogical but they are less receptive to it I guess. When I say a good argument with logic, I do not usually get the feeling they value it as much as I do” Analysis: It agrees with the conclusion of the eleventh question of focus groups that a French could be led to use too much logic in front of a Chinese who is not as 66 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) much receptive to it as the French is. Thus French’s relish for logic could be an inhibitor for such negotiation. 9) Oral agreement and signed contract Concerning the respective value of an oral agreement and contract, both were pretty clear. John: “To my mind, a signed contract is the end of a negotiation and is the real value of the agreement. Unless the company is an old partner and so trustworthy, I do not see other cases in which an oral agreement has a big value in negotiation” Jack: “Well I cannot imagine an agreement between my company with the other without a signed contract. But I cannot imagine either to sign a contract with a counterpart without orally agreeing. The oral agreement defines the contract, which is a mutual security. I would say both are complementary but the latter is necessary” Further both had the same opinion. Jack’s answer was more complete though: Jack: “Well, a contract sets conditions […] if there is the possibility to renegotiate the contract whenever one likes, where would be the use to sign a contract then. Nevertheless, I already have seen such renegotiation occur” Analysis: The tendency, which comes up described the contract as an end of negotiation that both companies have to respect. The possibility of renegotiation is not taken-for-granted for the French but sometimes happens. The mix of particularism and universalism of France seem to be shown here. A further judgment is made in the next question. 10) Chinese’s willing to renegotiate contract’s terms John simply said “No” whereas Jack related it happened. Jack: “I do remember cases when renegotiation of certain terms occurred. It was not about big changes but rather adjustments […] if it is occasional, I also think it is fine and can just improve the outcomes of the relation but if it is too common and for big changes, I guess it is not very serious. 67 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Analysis: This completes the finding of the previous question. A signed contract is not to be renegotiated for the French on the contrary of the Chinese who consider rules as just guidelines (question 13). This could be a hindrance for a good relationship with Chinese if strong reluctance to do so is shown. 11) Intervention of a lawyer Reflecting what they said about the value of a contract, they both affirm it was standard and necessary to use a lawyer. Analysis: The thirteenth question of focus groups revealed Chinese consider rules as necessary even those are guidelines. Therefore, the use of a lawyer should not be seen as negative as the theory lets supposed but should not have an important contribution in the negotiation and intervene just at the end concerning the contract. Summing up This part revealed some contradictions between the theory and what have been found out concerning some Chinese cultural aspects. The exploration of Franco-Chinese negotiations revealed as well inconsistencies between how Chinese are likely to culturally negotiate according to the theory and how they do according to the French negotiators. This part is the final step before the production of the aimed recommendations, which are developed in the following and last chapter of this report. 68 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Chapter Four: Conclusion, Recommendations and Discussion CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION The new theory and further research This part is composed of a conclusion, the recommendations and a final discussion on the research. The recommendations represent the “new theory” that whichever exploratory and inductive research aimed to produce. The final discussion relates the main generalisability limitation of the research opening on further research in that sense and giving insight on a discovered phenomenon about Chinese culture. CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Conclusion Culture is a so huge and interesting topic having so many implications on different facets of the actual international business that many studies have been and are still produced about culture. Throughout the report it has been seen international negotiation is one of those facets, which culture influences on. Culture differences can be the “enemy” of the international negotiators, but if awareness is developed about it, culture can become one of their best assets. The empirical study of Culture develops a global knowledge of it but cannot replace the study of a specific case, which aims to explore it in depth and develop expert knowledge of it. Then this report allowed to explore in depth the case of Franco-Chinese negotiations to develop expertise of French negotiators confronted to Chinese ones. Through the exploration of it, some theories have been confirmed whereas some others have been put into perspective or even contradicted implying to be out-of-date. These contradictions concern exclusively Chinese culture suggesting a possible shift of it due to the opening of China and the abroad studies. Therefore, this critical exploration ensured to develop the sought recommendations with up-to-date information. Franco-Chinese negotiation recommendations Those recommendations are issued from the analysis of both focus groups and both one-to-one interviews. The recommendations are developed following the three phases of negotiation already used previously. 70 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) 1) Pre-negotiation phase 1) Chinese spend a longer time than French in that phase, which is very important for Chinese. The French negotiator has to be patient or at least not to express and show their impatience in case this phase is unpleasant. Relationship could be altered and impatience could be perceived as an attempt to rush things. 2) Private questions on private life could be asked, especially from an older Chinese negotiator, during that phase. Despite of their specific culture, the French negotiator should not react negatively in trying to avoid this when it happens. It has to be perceived as a part of the business auguring well the coming negotiation. 2) Negotiation phase 3) The handshakes seem to be used a lot in China. However, the French negotiator should repress his willing to systematically shake hands, as the Chinese counterpart could be “old-fashioned” and prefer another greeting. First initiative has to be let to the Chinese counterpart to use the handshake or not. 4) The Chinese negotiators use much more small talks than the French ones before getting to the point. The French negotiator needs to attenuate his deal-focus during that phase so as to avoid to be perceived again as trying to rush things. 5) The Latin communication style of the French has to be “controlled” and the French negotiator should avoid to interrupt the Chinese counterpart, especially when disagreeing. Disrespect and impoliteness are associated to such interruptions while talking. 71 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) 6) France is an affective culture and is reflected in the use of body language and tone of voice. Even if the French negotiator is likely to be more formal than outside of a business context, use body language has to be limited as it is perceive as a rude, impolite, not serious and uncontrolled behaviour by the Chinese. Calm behaviour is synonymous of knowledge. Thus tone of voice has to be watched and blatant changes in it suppressed. 7) The French’s relish for arguing and debating must be attenuated as the Chinese do not like arguing and do not perceive that as a good way of communicating (aggressiveness, unfriendly, spoil the conversation). 8) The French negotiator must avoid to directly critic the Chinese counterpart. It could lead the Chinese counterpart to lose face, which is highly maddening for the Chinese and then detrimental for the negotiation. 9) Logical thinking of the French negotiator could be a main source of such “direct critic”. The tendency to systematically interrupt the conversation and critic the “illogical” arguments of the Chinese counterpart have to be diminished. 10) Age of the French negotiator could be important. The status ascription by the age seems to be less right now but it does not mean it is not true anymore especially concerning the “old” Chinese negotiators. Therefore, the French side should get information about the Chinese negotiation team. 11) The French negotiation team has to “save” their different opinions and express them outside of the negotiation meetings. It will give the Chinese side the feeling to deal with a group, which is what they value. 3) Post-negotiation phase 12) The contribution of a lawyer should be limited at the end of the negotiation. 72 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) 13) Rules are just guidelines for the Chinese and expect to be able to renegotiate contract terms, which is not taken-for-granted by the French. The aim is to make last the business relationship and thus room should be let for renegotiation. 14) Finally, the French company should pay attention to respect schedules and other deadlines set with the Chinese company so as to avoid any tensions. Discussion 1) Limitations This research has got, as whichever research, some limitations. It is important to set them and be aware of those to allow future and further research to make it more complete. Regarding the focus groups it is obvious that questions are not put into a negotiation context, simply because interviewees did not have such experiences. It would have been very difficult to do it with French and Chinese negotiators because of time and lack of connections. The only difference is the asked cultural aspects are put in a context different to a negotiation one. Therefore, question of reliability could be highlighted on the basis to wonder whether cultural aspects expressed by the French and Chinese in the focus-groups are applicable to a negotiation context even it is assumed that culture influences in the same way individuals whatever the situations. The main research’s limitation is especially due to its qualitative nature. The empirical limitation of it is the question of generalisability. The question of generalisability is, in that research, especially on the oneto-one interviews. Indeed, it is assumed that the focus groups produced enough answers and gave the tendencies for each. 73 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) However, concerning the one-to-one interviews it is legitimate to wonder if more interviews and thus participant’s experiences would have produced more different answers and enlarge the scope of the conclusions. Therefore, further research should focus on interviewing more French negotiators experiencing Franco-Chinese negotiations. Nevertheless, it has to be noticed that when the one-to-one participants expressed different answers, it was mainly due to their different background in Franco-Chinese negotiations. Then, it is expectable to get similar answers, as again the main characteristics of culture remain very alike in every individual of a same culture. 2) Phenomenon discovered Further, the research came up with an interesting phenomenon. Indeed, it has been expressed by some participants of the Chinese focus group, potential difference of behaviour between Chinese people who have lived out of China and those who have not. This has been further suggested by the analysis of other Chinese focus group answers and even to some extent confirmed by the analysis of some answers of the one-to-one interviews. This discovery implies to think and wonder whether Chinese culture is changing. 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Beverly Hills, Sage. 79 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Appendices Appendices Here are the questions for both focus groups (and their reason) and one-toone interviews. Here are also the translated ones when carried out in French. APPENDIX I: French focus-group questions (English version) I APPENDIX II: French focus-group questions (French version) V APPENDIX III: Chinese focus-group questions VIII APPENDIX IV: One-to-one interviews questions (English version) XI APPENDIX V: One-to-one interviews questions (French version) XIII 80 CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) APPENDIX I: French focus-group questions (English version) 1) When you build a relationship, do you trust easily the other person? Or does it require time to develop that trust? What is the value of trust in relationship? It aimed to verify the theory about the uncertainty avoidance of both France and China and by extension to validate those about the time spending during the pre-negotiation phase. The likeliness to make it last a short or long time. 2) Still in the same context, do you ask private questions about family at the first encounter or are you likely to ask this kind of questions later on? Specific French culture had to be verified as well as the tendency of Chinese to ask those type of questions, as French does not seem to like that in a business context, which can be an inhibitor within a Franco-Chinese negotiation. 3) Do you think building friendship with colleagues in your professional life? Would you share your private, family life with them? This one is an extension of the previous in order to reinforce the outcome of it. 4) When meeting someone or even when talking, how do you perceive a steady eye contact from the other (friendly, disrespect…? How does it make you feel? Is it the same if the person is a friend or not? A French steady eye contact could be an inhibitor as Chinese perceive it as an intimidation and hostility according to theory. It had to be verified. CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) 5) Still in the context of meeting someone (known or not), is a handshake necessary, inevitable to start the interaction (if you are a girl, see yourself in a business context)? If no, do you use other kind of greetings? If yes, how do you feel if the handshake does not occur? The use of handshakes has been determined sometimes inappropriate with the Chinese. As it is the systematic greeting of French, this question aimed to determine or not an inhibitor from the use of handshakes. 6) When communicating, are you talking loud, using gestures (arms, shoulders, head, eyebrows…)? If no, do you feel comfortable with people communicating like this? What do you feel and/or how do you perceive such communication behavior? If yes, do you feel comfortable with people communicating in a more calm and reflective way? What do you feel and/or how do you perceive such communication behavior? The opposition of French and Chinese communication styles could be an important hindrance for the well unfolding of a Franco-Chinese negotiation. This question allowed to determine how Chinese feel and/or perceive such behaviour. 7) When you disagree with a friend, are you likely to argue (not aggressively) to show and defend your point of view? Or, on the contrary, you seek “to calm” the conversation to avoid the verbal confrontation? CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) From the theory Chinese seek to avoid conflict whereas French relish it. Such a difference could be highly detrimental to a Franco-Chinese negotiation. A validation or disproval of the theory had to be determined. 8) What does conflict (not aggressiveness) of point of views make you feel? How do you perceive it (good, bad…)? It is an extension of the previous question in order to get a more fully understanding of how conflict is perceived and managed in both cultures. 9) When you receive a direct critic about you or what you are saying, do you feel offended and think the person is disrespectful towards you? If yes, how this critic should be said? It is linked to the concept of face of the Chinese culture highlighted by the theory. As it is an important part of Chinese individuals life, careful attention should be paid to it. Thus, the verification of such a concept was necessary. 10) When communicating and want to make someone understand something, do you say it directly or rather indirectly? Can you define a reason? It is linked again to the previous question and the concept of face. When the previous was about “losing face”, this one was about “making someone losing face”. It aimed to validate the concept and to determine the potential of French communication to make lose face to a Chinese It also has a rapport with the high-context cultural aspects of France and China. 11) Do you give much importance to logic when you have to endorse a point of view? Is that the logic of the argument, which gives the value to it? If no, what does give this value? CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) It was determined that French negotiators often interrupt discussions because of illogic from the counterpart. As Chinese are, according to theory, negatively responsive to be interrupted and direct critic, this could be another inhibitor. 12) What does the high education level of a person mean to you? Do you consider that the level of education gives a status of knowledgeable and capable person especially in the business context? In case the Age is such important in Chinese people minds, the difference with the French status ascription according to the education could lead to an inconsistency between who the Chinese counterpart expect to talk to and the actual French negotiator. 13) Do you feel okay when rules (laws, uni’s rules, company’s rules…) are “controlling” your behavior? How do you perceive rules? If not or not really, do you think about another way? Apparently, Chinese have a particular tendency to expect to renegotiate contract. The term of rule in the question is associated to contract to verify this Chinese tendency. Also, if the outcome is different between French and Chinese, this could represent another inconsistency. 14) Do you use self-deadlines, schedules to work? Why yes or no? This final question aimed to test the polychronic or monochronic aspect of French and Chinese. It concerns directly the post-negotiation phase and again could be a hindrance for a good Franco-Chinese business relationship. CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) APPENDIX II: French focus-group questions (French version) 1) Au moment de construire une relation, faîtes-vous facilement et rapidement confiance à la personne ou cela prend-il du temps ? Quelle est la valeur de la confiance dans une relation quelqu’elle soit ? 2) Toujours dans le même contexte, posez-vous des questions privées notamment à propos de la famille lors de la première rencontre ou posez-vous ce genre de questions plus tard ? 3) Pensez-vous avoir des relations amicales avec vos collègues de travail ? Partageriez-vous votre vie privée et familiale avec eux ? 4) Quand vous rencontrez quelqu’un que vous connaissez ou même pendant une discussion, comment percevez/ressentez-vous un contact visuel soutenu de la part de votre interlocuteur (amical, manque de respect…) ? Est-ce la même chose si la personne est un ami ou non ? 5) Toujours dans le contexte de rencontre d’une personne (connue ou pas), est-il nécessaire, voire inévitable de serrer la main à cette personne pour débuter l’intéraction/discussion (si vous êtes une femme, mettez-vous dans le contexte professionnel) ? Si non, avez-vous d’autre manière de saluer ? Si oui, que ressentez-vous si vous ne lui serrez pas la main ? 6) Quand vous communiquez, parlez-vous fort, utilisez-vous des gestes (mains, bras, tête, épaules…) ? CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Si non, vous sentez-vous à l’aise en présence de personne communiquant comme cela ? Comment percevez-vous ce genre de comportement pour communiquer ? Si oui, vous sentez-vous à l’aise en présence de personnes communiquant plus calmement et de manière plus réfléchie ? Comment percevez-vous ce genre de comportement pour communiquer ? 7) Quand vous êtes en désaccord avec un ami, avez-vous tendance à argumenter pour montrer et soutenir votre point de vue ? Ou au contraire avez-vous tendance à « calmer » la conversation et à éviter la confrontation verbale ? 8) Pouvez-vous définir une ou plusieurs raison(s) à préférer l’une ou l’autre tendance ? Qu’est-ce que ce genre de confrontation verbale vous fais ressentir ? Comment le percevez-vous (bien, mal…) ? 9) Quand vous recevez une critique directe sur votre propos ou sur ce que vous dîtes, vous sentez-vous offense et pensez que la personne vous manqué de respect ? Si oui, comment cette critique devrait-être dîtes? 10) Quand vous voulez faire comprendre quelque chose à quelqu’un, estce que vous le dîtes directement ou plutôt indirectement ? Pouvez-vous définir une raison ? 11) Accordez-vous beaucoup d’importance à la logique pour soutenir un argument ? Est-ce la logique d’un argument qui en fait sa valeur ? Si non, qu’est-ce qui en fait sa valeur ? CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) 12) Qu’est-ce que le haut niveau d’éducation de quelqu’un signifie pour vous ? Considérez-vous que le niveau d’éducation donne un statut de personne capable et ayant de la connaissance spécialement dans le contexte professionnel ? 13) Vous sentez-vous à l’aise avec tous ce qui est règles, lois, règlements etc pour « contrôler » votre comportement ? Que pensez-vous de cela ? Si non ou pas vraiment, pensez-vous à un autre moyen ? 14) Vous fixez-vous de propres objectifs, des dates limite, des emplois du temps, pour travailler (notamment quand vous êtes/étiez en cours) ? CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) APPENDIX III: Chinese focus-group questions 1) When you build a relationship, do you trust easily the other person? Or does it require time to develop that trust? What is the value of trust in relationship? 2) Still in the same context, do you ask private questions about family at the first encounter or are you likely to ask this kind of questions later on? 3) Do you think building friendship with colleagues in your professional life? Would you share your private, family life with them? 4) When meeting someone or even when talking, how do you perceive a steady eye contact from the other (friendly, disrespect…? How does it make you feel? Is it the same if the person is a friend or not? 5) Still in the context of meeting someone (known or not), is a handshake necessary, inevitable to start the interaction (if you are a girl, see yourself in a business context)? If no, do you use other kind of greetings? If yes, how do you feel if the handshake does not occur? 6) When communicating, are you talking loud, using gestures (arms, shoulders, head, eyebrows…)? If no, do you feel comfortable with people communicating like this? CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) What do you feel and/or how do you perceive such communication behavior? If yes, do you feel comfortable with people communicating in a more calm and reflective way? What do you feel and/or how do you perceive such communication behavior? 7) When you disagree with a friend, are you likely to argue (not aggressively) to show and defend your point of view? Or, on the contrary, you seek “to calm” the conversation to avoid the verbal confrontation? 8) What does conflict (not aggressiveness) of point of views make you feel? How do you perceive it (good, bad…)? 9) When you receive a direct critic about you or what you are saying, do you feel offended and think the person is disrespectful towards you? If yes, how this critic should be said? 10) When communicating and want to make someone understand something, do you say it directly or rather indirectly? Can you define a reason? 11) Do you give much importance to logic when you have to endorse a point of view? Is that the logic of the argument, which gives the value to it? If no, what does give this value? CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) 12) What does the age of a person mean to you? Do you behave differently in front of an older, same age, younger person? Which behavior do you expect from a younger person? What do you associate with the age? As Age seems to be an important factor and regulator of Chinese life and manner to do business, to verify its impact on Chinese minds was required. 13) Do you feel okay when rules (laws, uni’s rules, company’s rules…) are “controlling” your behavior? How do you perceive rules? If not or not really, do you think about another way? 14) Do you use self-deadlines, schedules to work? Why yes or no? CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) APPENDIX IV: One-to-one interviews questions (English version) 1) Since when do you negotiate with Chinese? 2) Is it true that Chinese want to know a very good deal about you before negotiating? 3) Are private questions notably about family asked? When are they asked, at the beginning or after? 4) How do you then react? Can you easily talk about your private life with your Chinese counterpart(s)? 5) When greeting a Chinese counterpart, do you systematically tend to shake the hand of your Chinese counterpart? Do you give him a steady eye contact while the greeting? 6) Do you think Chinese negotiators take a lot of time before starting the actual negotiation? If yes, do you then try to move the discussion towards the negotiation? Why? If you do not try, why do avoid doing so? 7) How do you express your disagreement to a Chinese counterpart? Rather directly or indirectly? Do you interrupt? CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Do you use body language (hands, arms, head, shoulders…) to endorse your point of view? 8) Do illogical argument make you disagree easily? Does it often happen with the Chinese counterparts? 9) When an agreement has been reached, do you give more importance to the oral agreement or to the signed contract, which follows? Do you consider a contract more as a guideline, which can be subject to renegotiations afterwards or as a proof of mutual business obligations or a mix of both? 10) Have you encountered cases when Chinese wanted to renegotiate contract’s terms afterwards? 11) How do you perceive the intervention of a lawyer during a negotiation? What the use of it? CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) APPENDIX V: One-to-one interviews questions (French version) 1) Depuis combien de temps négociez-vous avec des chinois ? 2) Est-il vrai que les chinois veulent connaître le maximum de choses sur vous avant de négocier ? 3) Est-ce que des questions à propos notamment de la famille sont posées ? Quand sont-elles posées, au début ou après ? 4) Comment réagissez-vous par rapport à cela ? Pouvez-vous parler facilement de votre vie privée et de votre famille avec votre/vos homologue(s) Chinois ? 5) Lors de rencontres, avez-vous tendance à systématiquement vouloir serrer la main de votre homologue Chinois ? Soutenez-vous le regard de celui-ci pendant les salutations ? 6) Considérez-vous que les négociateurs Chinois prennent trop de temps avant de débuter la véritable négociation ? Si oui, essayez-vous dans ce cas de faire dériver la discussion vers le sujet de négociation ? Pourquoi ? Si vous ne tentez pas, pourquoi ? 7) Comment exprimez-vous votre désaccord face à un homologue Chinois ? Plutôt directement ou indirectement ? L’interrompez-vous ? CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Utilisez-vous le langage du corps (gestes de la main, bras, tête, épaules…) pour appuyer votre point de vue ? 8) Est-ce que les arguments manquant de logique vous font contester facilement ? Cela arrive-t-il souvent avec les homologues chinois ? 9) Quand un accord à été trouvé, donnez-vous plus d’importance à l’accord oral ou au contrat signé qui suit ? Pourquoi ? Considérez-vous un contrat tel un guide qui peut être sujet à des renégociations ultérieures ou plutôt tel une preuve d’obligations commerciales réciproques ou encore un mélange des deux ? 10) Avez-vous rencontré des cas où les Chinois voulaient renégocier les termes du contrat après coup ? 11) Comment considérez-vous l’intervention d’un avocat lors d’une négociation ? Quelle en est l’utilité ? Pourquoi ? CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Personal reflexion Concerning exclusively the dissertation’s topic, it was interesting to me in the sense that I studied my own culture. It made me realized true aspects that I had never paid attention to before, such as the relish to debate with people, to interrupt the interlocutor etc. Also, having the willing to go to live in China and to have a work experience there, it made me learn that my way of behaving could be perceived differently and even badly by the Chinese. Regarding what I have learnt doing this dissertation, I discovered out that carrying primary data research is very time consuming and not that easy. I consider that a more “professional” research aiming to collect many information from much more perspectives would take a very long time to carry out but also to analyze the outcomes. Indeed, I was surprised by the time I have spent to select the information and to actually analyze them. I thought about three or four days, but actually it took me at least a week. Also, I feel a bit lucky concerning the one-to-one interviews. Whereas the focus groups were easy to organize as participants were friends, the one-toone interviews required professional people I did not really know. And what happened with the third potential participants could have definitely occurred with the two. To me, it was almost taken-for-granted that they were going to help me but when the third did not reply to me, I then considered the help of the two others interviewees highly valuable and I have been very grateful to them. If I would have to redo the dissertation, I would approach differently the research and notably the sources I aim to get information from. I would ensure myself to be able to “use” those sources by building an even more stronger relationship. CULTURE AND NEGOTIATION Cyril BAZIN (2006) Also, even I am pretty happy how I managed my time, I could have done better notably by being aware of the real time I would have to spend for the analyze. Finally, I would draft my abstract along the advancement of my dissertation.
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