The purpose of this paper was to assist companies involved in international/intercultural business negotiations establish an orderly, informed, prepared, and empowered negotiation team within the corporate structure. The paper introduces and reinforces the importance of a systematic rather than situational approach to intercultural negotiations and assists companies establish the infrastructure, team, team coordination and alignment, preparation for negotiations, and intercultural skills necessary to maximize their success. China was chosen as the hypothetical international opponent because of its importance to the world economy and the value to American companies of establishing a business presence there. It also presented a prime example of the complexity of negotiations that has been so deeply influenced by a 5,000-year-old culture. In order to validate other research materials, the experiences of three expatriates who have lived in China and worked as business consultants there were explored in interviews. Each presented disparate views on the role of culture in successful negotiations, which underscored the importance of preparation to the negotiation process. The result was an outline of how a company can assemble and incorporate a team of ever-improving professionals for any foray into the global marketplace, with specific recommendations for expanding into China. Although the primary focus is on China, the suggestions and principles contained in this paper can be applied to any company of any national origin attempting to enter the global marketplace. By following some or all of its suggestions, companies will be in a better position to participate effectively in international / intercultural negotiations.
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