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IT Negotiators: What’s Your Approach?

February 28, 2017 • TECHNOLOGY, Strategic Spotlight

By Will Baber and Arto Ojala

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.

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.



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About the Authors

Will Baber has combined education with business throughout his career. His work has included economic development in the State of Maryland, language services in the Washington, DC area, supporting business starters in Japan, and teaching business students in Japan and Europe. Currently he is at Kyoto University teaching and researching negotiation and other topics as an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Management. He is lead author of the 2015 textbook Practical Business Negotiation.

Arto Ojala is working as a University Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems at the University ofJyväskylä, Finland. He is also Adjunct Professor in Software Business at the Tampere University of Technology. His articles have been published in Information Systems Journal, Journal of Systems and Software, IEEE Software, IT Professional among others. Ojala has a PhD in economics from the University of Jyväskylä.

References
1. G. Hofstede, J. G. Hofstede, and M. Minkov, Cultures and Organizations: Software of the mind, 2nd ed. New York , NY: McGraw-Hill, 2005.
2. M. Kamppinen, “The Cognitive Schema,” in Consciousness, Cognitive Schemata, and Relativism: Multidisciplinary Explorations in Cognitive Science, M. Kamppinen, Ed. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, 1993, pp. 143–162.
3. W. W. Baber and A. Ojala, “Cognitive Negotiation Schemata in the IT Industries of Japan and Finland,” J. Int. Technol. Inf. Manag., vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 87–104, 2015.

 

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