Negotiate Like a Local

Negotiate Like a Local

7 Mindsets to Increase Your Success Rate in International Business

Hofstede Insights, 2017 more...

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Intercultural experts Jean-Pierre Coene and Marc Jacobs advise you 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 even understand 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.”


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

Marc Jacobs recruited 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 François would secure the deal, but, in fact, François stumbled.

François met with Bert, the prospect’s Dutch purchasing director. François thought Bert acted aggressively, and that this boded poorly for the deal. François, being French, believed that the parties in a negotiation should act diplomatically. He thought someone who acted aggressively was seeking to torpedo the deal. But Jacobs had a greater understanding of what was going on with Bert because he grew 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.

Marc explained this to François, and suggested that he act more openly with Bert. Though uneasy, François took this approach and secured the deal.


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.

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