5 Questions with William W. Baber and Chavi C-Y Fletcher-Chen

Practical Business Negotiation authors William W. Baber and Chavi C-Y Fletcher-Chen talk to the Business team about the challenges of publishing with the non-native speaker in mind and the impact of culture and gender negotiations.

About the Authors

William W. Baber is an Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Management, Kyoto University, Japan, where he teaches business negotiation, cross cultural management and communication. He was a marketing strategist and business attraction specialist for the Maryland State Department of Business and Economic Development, Baltimore, Maryland, USA from 1998–2005. He has worked frequently with business decision makers from Europe, Asia and around the USA, and has accumulated rich experience in practical business negotiation.

Chavi C-Y Fletcher-Chen is a Professor at IÉSEG School of Management, Université Catholique de Lille, France, teaching practical negotiation skills, interpersonal communication applied to negotiation and e-negotiation. She has published case studies in the area of negotiation. Coming from an international business background, she has extensive experience in international marketing and conflict management through working for years in international patent, trademark and commercial law firms in the Far East. In addition, she has experience in training commercial managers in cross-cultural communication. She specializes in information communication technologies (ICTs), and has consulted for global companies.

Read The Interview

1.What inspired you to write Practical Business Negotiation?

Will: I live in Japan where most people have some skill in English but most do not have very high skills. However I found that the most commonly used textbooks in negotiation were written for native speakers. Having a book that is hard and slow to read is really difficult for a student!
So I decided to make a textbook that would be more accessible.

Chavi: Teaching negotiation helps me see how the process of negotiation can simply end up debating instead of focusing on problem-solving or solution offering.

2.How does Practical Business Negotiation differ from other books available on the topic?

Will: By fundamental design: it contains easier language, more graphics, and a workbook structure. As a workbook, students write and express their ideas in the book. The educator uses the additional on line materials to develop what the students write.

Many negotiation textbooks highlighting theoretical perspectives or descriptive experiences. Hence, creating more case simulation and scenario reflection aspects could help students better evaluate negotiation process.

3.Practical Business Negotiation was written specifically with the non-native English speaker in mind. What unique challenges do these students and professionals face, and how does your book address those challenges?

Will: One of the challenges is time – students generally have high demands on their time to read, write, complete projects and manage deadlines. Reading is a foreign language is slow, but normal textbooks are written for fast native speaking readers. Therefore this textbook tries to make it easier on the student. Layout, content tables, graphics, language level – all is designed for the reader.

Confidence is another challenge, a student with medium strong English is likely to avoid books that weigh kilos and have pages dense with print. Too exhausting! This book is user friendly.

Another challenge is knowing if you are on the same page as other students of the subject around the world. Therefore this textbook includes the jargon business negotiators expect globally. This textbook also identifies the supporting research so students know it is not merely the impression and thinking of the authors.

4.How do culture and gender impact negotiations? Are there particular skills that certain cultures excel at and/or struggle with?


Expectations about process

Details of outcomes

Where the stopping point it
Culture can have a big impact on negotiation because different people have different expectations about the process. Some will want to start with a lot of talking around the issues; others will want to go straight to the business issues. Some will prefer more formal or more casual talks, some will prefer a stricter or more flexible agreement. The different expectations can be difficult to manage – the good news is that we can talk about them instead of just falling into the mistakes.

Gender is more difficult than culture because the issues are developing quickly in most parts of the world. The behaviors are successful now may not be successful or acceptable in a few years. The lesson of cross cultural business is to know as much as possible and adjust. The lesson of gender in negotiations and business is to know more and adjust faster!

Chavi: Furthermore, language can be embedded in culture. The use of language in e-mail negotiation can create a certain perception that how a message receiver evaluates the personal traits of the message sender. The perception through the use of language can affect how negotiators decide to react to the counterpart in terms of attitude as well as task responsiveness.

5.Why is learning by doing – rather than simply reading and studying – so important to becoming a successful negotiator?

Will: Negotiation is about skills more than theory. We can use theory and practices to find the skills we need. But we need to do it and practice it. That is why this book is a workbook with lots of space for students to write and share and reconsider their answers. For that reason we also include cases. Some of the cases are from the real world in recent years. Others are designed to present certain difficulties. All were chosen with care to provide fresh challenges to students.

Look Inside Practical Business Negotiation

About the Book

Practical Business Negotiation introduces university students to business negotiation as practiced in the globalized business world. There are no other textbooks that take on this topic in depth with non-native English speakers in mind. Current textbooks about negotiation tend to be dense, academic and less than practical in content. Many are demotivating to students who are not easily able to consume a few hundred pages of academic writing.
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