The Negotiator Magazine

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Reader's Review

John Baker

The Global Negotiator: Making, Managing, and Mending Deals Around the World in the Twenty-First Century
By Jeswald W. Salacuse
320pp. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2003.
Hardcover Editor: (US) $ 35.00.

Roger Fisher, Director of the Harvard Negotiation Project and author of Getting to Yes, has written for the book jacket that The Global Negotiator "...is the best book I know to help business negotiators expand their skills to meet the needs of negotiating internationally." It is high praise and well deserved.

The author, Jeswald W. Salacuse, is the Henry J. Braker Professor of Law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, and a member of the Steering Committee of the Harvard Program on Negotiations. Professor Salacuse has an extensive background in international negotiations. He has participated in negotiations involving persons from over forty countries, spent years living abroad and explored the field of global negotiations through research and teaching involving hundreds of international executives, lawyers and officials.

This is a guidebook about "making, managing, and mending international business transactions" (p.viii). Its aim, Professor Salacuse tells his reader, "...is to equip business executives, students, lawyers and government officials to navigate each of these stages effectively" (p.3).

Unlike most books on the art of negotiating, Professor Salacuse goes far beyond making the deal and gives careful attention to managing and repairing deals once made. It is, therefore, a work with special insight and value for the negotiator. Let us examine some of these insights.

The central issue in global negotiations, Professor Salacuse tells the reader, is about the nature of the deal itself. "Is it a contract or a relationship?" (p. 20).

The answer to this seemingly simple issue should be at the heart of the preparation for any negotiation. Alas, far too often, it is a topic casually addressed by negotiators. Ideally, it should be both a relationship and a contract in most deals.

In fact, however, in American practice the contract often takes the central focus. As unfortunate as this approach may be, its problems are amplified in an international arena in which the goal of a potential partner in a negotiation may be a relationship and the contract is secondary. Neglecting that core difference in expectations may not only destroy the possibility of reaching a deal, but also imperil the success of future fulfillment of any agreement reached by the parties. Without clarity on this matter, any agreement may be founded on the most fatal of flaws: the failure of the parties to have a meeting of the minds.

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