Review of Negotiate Like a Local

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  • Applicable
  • Well Structured
  • Concrete Examples


Intercultural experts Jean-Pierre Coene and Marc Jacobs advise that if you are selling or negotiating in other nations you first need to identify the differences between your cultural biases and the other party’s. This is difficult, since most people don’t understand even their own cultural perspectives. The authors list seven clusters of societies with shared mind-sets. Their fascinating, detailed approach offers examples and theory in a clear, useful framework. But, as they caution, your interpretation is likely to derive from “your own cultural perspective.”

About the Authors

Jean-Pierre Coene and Marc Jacobs are associate partners at Hofstede Insights in Brussels. Jacobs conducts workshops on intercultural competence, and writes about the application of the Hofstede 6D model in international business.


To negotiate with people from other countries, understand the difference between your “cultural framework” and theirs. 

Coene and Jacobs ask, “Have you ever experienced an international deal going wrong and not understood why?” In pursuit of an answer to that question, they cite as an example Marc Jacobs’ efforts to recruit a multinational company in the Netherlands as a new client. He turned the prospect over to his colleague, François, who knew the details of the negotiation. Jacobs felt confident he would secure the deal, but François stumbled.

François met with Bert, the prospect’s Dutch purchasing director. Coene and Jacobs relate that François thought Bert acted aggressively, and that this did not seem to bode well for the deal. François, being French, believed parties in a negotiation should act diplomatically. He thought someone who acted aggressively was seeking to torpedo the whole discussion. But Jacobs had a greater understanding of what was going on with Bert because he had grown up in the north of Belgium, and understood the Dutch preference for directness. Bert, being Dutch, acted bluntly to avoid misunderstanding. He had no ulterior motive.

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