The Negotiator Magazine

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Who Participated?
The survey was conducted in June / July 2006 and attracted input from several hundred negotiators, representing contract management, commercial, procurement and legal in more than 20 countries. The community is - of course - predominantly handling business-to-business negotiations. Unfortunately, the level of input from many of the Asian, Middle Eastern and Eastern European countries was insufficient to enable reliable comparison for these at a country level.

Variations: What Do The Results Tell Us?
When asked whether they saw their goal as being more directed towards establishing 'a contract' or 'a relationship', those in the EMEA region are most likely to veer towards 'relationship' negotiation (43%) versus just 30% in the Americas and 36% in APAC. The EMEA numbers reflect a strong 'relationship' tendency in Benelux and Northern Europe (including UK). By function, Procurement are most likely to want a relationship (46%) and those in contract management / commercial are more likely to be focused on 'the contract'. And women are also more likely to prefer a relationship approach - just 23% chose 'contract', against 39% of men.

Americans are less committed to 'win-win' negotiations, with just 71% being strongly oriented to this style, compared with 88% in APAC and 84% in EMEA. Those in Central / Western Europe and Australia are the most fervent for win-win - though few in any country admit to a propensity for win-lose (if you want confrontation, your best hope seems to be a male lawyer from the Netherlands!). Procurement as a function is the least committed to win-win - though even here, 72% identify this as their favored style. The lawyers are the group that see themselves most strongly committed to win-win; with women also showing a marginally stronger inclination to this style than their male colleagues.

Australians and those in Benelux are the most informal when it comes to personal style in conducting negotiation. Central Europeans are the most formal. But according to the participants, those in the UK are substantially less formal than their US counterparts - 52% versus 34%. That certainly doesn't fit with popular perceptions! And nor perhaps would a majority see the legal profession as the most inclined to informality - yet 53% depict their style to be informal, compared with just 36% in Procurement. More men (19%) have a preference for formal style than do women (12%).

Time-sensitivity is a characteristic long associated with those from the US - and this in borne out by comparison with other English-speaking countries (UK, Australia). But surprisingly, Central Europeans topped the list of those who claim to be most time sensitive, with those from the Netherlands second. Less surprising is the fact that lawyers are significantly less driven by time than all other groups. Women, on the other hand, show themselves more time sensitive than males.

The Southern Europeans confirmed their reputation for emotionalism, with Australians coming close behind (and beating some groups, including those from Italy). North Americans came low on the emotional scale, along with Germans. The functional variations were mostly not significant - except that the lawyers once again were distinctive, showing a lower propensity for emotion in their negotiations. And women? They also selected lower emotionalism; just 14% rate their style as 'high emotionalism', versus 22% of men.

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October 2006