IT and software industries appear to be collaborative in projects in house and among organisations as they plan and negotiate for mutual benefit. How can skilled, aware negotiators better match up their thinking to avoid communication and process failures?
Collaboration is a fact of life throughout the IT industry especially in the development of large scale communication systems and software applications. Collaboration arises through successful negotiations that clarify the path for close work among employees, freelancers, outsourced services and other parties in completing projects and satisfying stakeholders.
The importance of negotiation to the well being of the IT industry led the authors to investigate the expectations and approaches that negotiators in this industry have in mind as they negotiate. The literature on the IT industry shows how important negotiation is, but has not looked into the thinking that might impact communication and the success or failure of a negotiation. To what extent is it possible for negotiators’ thinking about negotiation to match or conflict?
We chose to investigate negotiation thinking in two different cultures in order to help highlight differences and similarities and identify a range of styles. We can assume that practices of negotiation participants vary in different cultures because cultures are demonstrably different and because previous research has shown that negotiation styles are associated with cultures. Further, research on negotiation has shown that successful and smooth communication leads to better results for the parties.
The cultures we chose are geographically distant: Finland in Northern Europe and Japan in North East Asia. Finland and Japan differ in their philosophical backgrounds, one Protestant and Rationalist and the other steeped Confucian and Buddhist traditions. Additionally they have various differences described in the literature such as attitudes towards power, gender equality, and individualism.1 At the same time, the two countries have similarly aging populations, reputations for advanced use and implementation of technology, and high ethnic homogeneity.