Negotiating Across Cultures; Toward Mutual Understanding White Paper

Author: 
Dr. Arthur Hochner, Temple University
Published Date: 
5 Nov 2014

1Quotations from Lee Kuan Yew, 1st Prime Minister of Singapore:

Corporations that get their ideas from only one culture will lose out in innovation. Those that have a creative meshing of cultures and ideas will forge ahead. (1997)

Japanese and East Asians are ethnocentric, close-knit societies. They do not easily absorb foreigners into their midst. There has to be a fundamental change in cultural attitudes before Japanese and other East Asians can compete with the Americans who, because of their different history, easily absorb peoples of different cultures and religions into their corporate teams. (2000)

Americans have a can-do approach to life: everything can be broken up, analyzed, and redefined. (2005)

The sense of cultural supremacy of the Americans will make this adjustment [the displacement of American dominance by East Asians] most difficult. Americans believe their ideas are universal—the supremacy of the individual and free, unfettered expression. But they are not—never were.  (2009)

In transforming Singapore from a poor colony into a rich, modern, and influential city-state, Lee Kuan Yew knew the importance of working with Singapore’s cultural mix and with multi-national companies from other cultures.

1All quotations from Graham Alison and Robert D. Blackwill, with Ali Wyne, Lee Kuan Yew:  The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2012.

Professor Hochner discusses the importance of conducting negotiations with mutual respect and strive toward mutual understanding.

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