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Culture has a significant role in communication styles. In recent years, more and more Japanese
and Russian companies are expanding into the international market. When negotiating with
other parties from different perspectives, values, and beliefs, the knowledge of the other parties
would determine the outcome of the negotiation. This presentation introduces the fundamental
elements of cultural behaviors or attitudes observed in business negotiations.

In developing economic relations between Russia and Japan, intercultural communication in

business is one of the crucial issues to deal with. With the globalization of the world economy,
many Japanese companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises, have sought a way
to expand into the international market. Although cultural behaviors, attitudes, and norms in
one group may vary depending on contextual factors, cultural values do not change rapidly.
Therefore, it is essential to begin with understanding the elements of culture: behaviors,
attitudes, norms, and values of other party to avoid misunderstanding or resolve conflicts
effectively in negotiations.

Main body:

C: Japanese managers are generally pragmatic, they focus on development and

competitiveness. Although they are known as the ones who discover the telecommunication
technology, the Japanese prefer verbal communication, instead of the written one, because
negotiation requires experience and patience. They usually don't lay their cards on the table,
being vague and confusing in statements and they don't tell directly the truth, practice which
would be insulting in their view.

Ex, O: Japan has a relatively high index of hierarchical level and consequently they will require
to negotiate with representatives of the same hierarchical levels. L: In the decision-making
process, the important role is played by the leadership of corporations, namely managers from
different departments. For them, the statute has a high importance. C: During the negotiations,
the Japanese use indirect communication and they try to avoid excessive confrontation. The
decision-making is based mostly on intuition. O: They are inclined to consult themselves with
the group from which they belong before making a decision. (collectivism) Japan is a very
bureaucratic society with many procedures, regulations, and rules. Decisions don’t come
quickly, and deals are almost never completed in the initial meetings. L: Consensus has a high
importance in their view and will require the negotiators to seek approval from management,
so negotiation will take time. This need for approval is a normal practice, but stalling is also a
common negotiation tactic by the Japanese.

V: Avoiding a direct and categorical denial is also a peculiarity of the indirect Japanese style
of negotiation. The Japanese are hesitant to say directly and emphatically "NO." When a
Japanese says, "It is difficult", in response to a business proposal, he often wants to say that the
proposal is unacceptable. "It is difficult" or "Maybe" usually means "No" for the Japanese and
insisting on negotiating in this situation will be seen as a highly aggressive and even hostile
behavior. It should be kept in mind that the Japanese avoid direct confrontation, seeking to
maintain harmonious relations with those with whom they are negotiating.

V/E: An essential element of rhetorical Japanese style is silence. Long breaks between two
sentences, allow Japanese to weigh and analyze better the situation. Failure to respect these
quiet breaks, which are designed to help Japanese business people to reflect, is seen as an
unbearable pressure and disrespect. As negotiators, the Japanese speak less than most cultures.
When the Japanese do speak in a negotiation, it is almost always in the form of questions to
get the other party to reveal information. This approach is also why it so hard to negotiate with
them; it is nearly impossible to get them to disclose their interests or motivations.

E: The Japanese are well-known for their concern to analyze customers' or competitors'
behavior. Their focus is on clothing, which has to be decent, without any eccentricity. The
partner should be dressed formally, with dark blue business suits, white shirts, dark tie, and
polished black shoes. No kissing or hugging. This can be very embarrassing to the Japanese

– Business cards are presented and received with two hands. Always pause and reflect on the
business card; look at the back of the card.

1. Communication style: indirect (Encircles the point, Saves face, Avoids disagreement,
Addresses issues indirectly)
2. Working style: formal (Prefers business dress, Uses surnames and titles, Closed door,
Formal style of speech)
3. Discussion style: slow and measured (Never interrupts, Measured tone & pace, Pauses
are acceptable, Is tolerant of silence)
4. Business attitude: traditional (Needs change to be based in present practice, Is cautious
in adopting new technology, Prefers ‘tried and tested’ solutions, Prefers loyal staff)
5. Leadership style: vertical (Communicates through hierarchy, Leader decision (often
after consultation), Top-down feedback, Dotted line matrix reporting)
6. Business relationship: relationship (Takes time building relationships, Won’t work
with you unless (s)he likes and trusts you, Takes an interest in understanding the people
‘My business colleague is my friend.’)
7. Decision-making style: collective (Is risk averse, Seeks consensus, then decides,
Decisions and budgets agreed with higher management, Takes decision agreed by
higher mg and is accountable for implementation)
8. Basis for decision-making: instincts (Makes decisions on instinct and intuition,
Personal connections are an important factor in decision-making, Prefers to work with
existing contacts, Agreements are usually accompanied by hospitality and gift-giving.)
9. Attitude to time: flexible (Being late is tolerated, Don’t like (avoid) to sign a contract
on the first meeting)

Power: hierarchical


As this short exposition indicates, negotiating with the Japanese involves complications
unknown in the Americas and Europe. The culture is an old one, and, since the Japanese
politico-economic system is so successful, there is little likelihood it will be rapidly changed.

Understanding the Japanese business practices certainly will enhance good communication
between Japanese and Russian business people. After all, cross cultural awareness between
Japanese and Russians is a key for good communication between two cultures so far apart from
each other and yet, so in need of effective communication.

Works cited:

Kadoi, M., 2015. Japanese Negotiation Styles in Business. [pdf] Available at:
<http://elar.urfu.ru/bitstream/10995/34446/1/urrr_2015_71.pdf> [Accessed 3
December 2018]

Lewis, R., 2014. What You Should Know About Negotiating With Japanese. Business Insider.
Available at: <https://www.businessinsider.com/negotiating-with-japanese-2014-
5?IR=T> [Accessed 4 December 2018]

Van Zandt, H.F. How to Negotiate in Japan. Harvard Business Review. Available at:
<https://hbr.org/1970/11/how-to-negotiate-in-japan> [Accessed 4 December 2018]