George Kohlrieser on Negotiating Across Cultures
George Kohlrieser is an organizational and clinical psychologist, a professor of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour at The International Institute for Management Development (IMD), and consultant to global organizations around the world.
His research, teaching, and consulting activities are focused on high performance leadership, high performance teamwork, conflict management, change management, dialogue and negotiation, coaching, stress management, work life balance, and personal and professional development. He is also a Police Psychologist and Hostage Negotiator focusing on aggression management and hostage negotiations. Kohlrieser is founder and director of Shiloah International, a consultancy offering integrated programs to a wide range of organizations. He has worked in some eighty-five countries in North and South America, Eastern and Western Europe, Middle East, Asia, India, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Kohlrieser completed his doctorate at Ohio State University where he wrote his dissertation on cardio vascular recovery of law enforcement leaders following high stress situations. He is also the author of a recent book entitled Hostage At The Table: How Leaders Can Overcome Conflict, Influence Others, and Raise Performance.
Kohlrieser: The way you engaged in putting issues on the table, so that we have to understand the cultural mindset. However, there’s far more in common than there is indifference. So, in Asia, in Japan, other parts of Asia, for example, saving face is fundamentally a process. You simply don’t rip the face off of another person. You don’t also open so much of yourself in the beginning because you don’t want to lose face yourself. So, it takes longer to build those bonds and if you, the same way in the Middle East, if you go to the Middle East, you cannot go to a [shouk] and buy something without sitting and having a tea if it’s a significant purchase. In the West, we tend to be more direct, what’s your bottom line, you go right to it, which are fundamental mistakes.
George Kohlrieser says the directness common to negotiation in the West does not apply in other cultures.
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