Mediation as a Tool for Overcoming Cultural Barriers in Negotiations. A Comparison between Germany, Brazil, France and Sweden

Helena Alves

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Sozialwissenschaften, Recht, Wirtschaft / Kommunikationswissenschaft


Diploma Thesis from the year 2004 in the subject Communications - Intercultural Communication, grade: 1,7, , course: Diplomarbeit, language: English, abstract: The aim of this work is to investigate the role of culture in a cross-cultural business encounter and to investigate the potential of mediation for these specific situations. The results should help to reach an understanding and improvement of communication in these situations - knowing that communication is one of the most vital manager’s tasks that takes up between 50 and 90 % of a manager’s time. Therefore communication that is not disturbed by cultural misunderstandings is essential for the success of any cross-cultural enterprise. The first main part examines if there are any differences in the way that these nations approach business - especially negotiations – and if so, the disclosed differences will be laid down and explained with an outlook on the cultural roots of these specific issues of behaviour. The main focus rests on Germany as a starting point with which the other cultures will be compared. Different approaches regarding research findings in the cultural field will be presented and applied to the particularities found in the named nations. In the second main part mediation will be scrutinized as a possible tool to facilitate cross-cultural negotiations. It will be questioned whether mediation may be helpful in a cross-cultural context, which aspects of mediation can help to overcome the special barrier culture in negotiations, working methods and which factors may have to be considered with special care in such a situation. This will be done with a focus on the cultural dimensions presented in the first part. In a next step, cultural training will be briefly presented as a human resources tool that may help to prepare for a temporary stay abroad and for cooperation with members of other cultures. For this different training methods will be explained. In a conclusion the findings of this paper will be summarised, specific advice for negotiations with the cultures under scrutiny will be given and a general checklist for cross-cultural negotiations will be presented. It must be stressed that this paper will not be an empirical work, but concentrate on the analysis of the existing literature and partly resort to interviews carried out by the author. In total this work should be an inducement for further research on the influence of culture on negotiations within Europe and the advantages that mediation can offer for cross-cultural encounters.

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tool, overcoming, mediation, sweden, germany, brazil, barriers, comparison, negotiations, france, cultural