GRA 6842 Cross-Cultural Negotiations: Doing Business in Japan


GRA 6842 Cross-Cultural Negotiations: Doing Business in Japan

Responsible for the course
Gillian Warner-Søderholm, Derek Matthews

Department of Communication and Culture

According to study plan

ECTS Credits

Language of instruction

(Max 30 students each semester)

This course focuses on cross-cultural negotiations, specifically within Norway and Japan, and will combine intercultural communication theory with integrative and distributive negotiation theories. Consequently, an interdisciplinary approach with perspectives from cultural studies combined with key international business and leadership issues will be applied. Classroom sessions will be based on international research discussions, group work simulations, video-taped exercises and case studies. Empirical cross-cultural research and cases used in discussions will focus on issues related to international companies operating both in Scandinavia and Asia. This course will help prepare students to meet the challenges of international negotiations within multi-national business operations where different national contexts can impact the way we negotiate, lead and co-operate in everyday business dealings.

Learning outcome

  • Familiarity of culture theory and application/analysis based on lectures/discussion in Norway and Japan
  • Familiarity of negotiation (win-win/win-lose) theory and application/analysis based on lectures/discussion in Norway and Japan.
  • Experience of a foreign culture both in the classroom and in negotiation.
  • Students get to know each other socially through cooperation on Skype before departure and thus maximize learning outcomes on both sides
  • Improving presentation skills, both online and live
  • Improving video-conferencing skills
  • Improving cultural awareness and internationalization skills
  • Expanding students’ international network

Knowledge: students will be able to identify and discuss main theories in cross-cultural management and in win-win, win-lose negotiation styles.

Skills: students will be able to demonstrate their ability to analyze the differences in culture and the impact culture has on negotiations and/or negotiation theory. Students will also be able to identify and manage challenges in a multicultural negotiation and work environments and apply cultural profiling and mapping skills in an international management situation.
Through group work discussions and presentation practice, students will therefore acquire and develop communication and cultural awareness skills. Consequently, with the application of a case study approach, students will develop international business acumen by developing communication strategies used in the management of international business.

Reflection: students will be able to demonstrate reflection when processing their experiences and observations abroad and when determining to what extent it coincides with the intercultural and negotiation theory they have learned. Students will ideally therefore develop cultural diplomacy and management skills within an international context,, improve cross- cultural negotiation skills and gain better insight into communication, ethics and management approaches within a multi-cultural environment, specifically within a Norwegian-Japanese context.


All courses in the Masters programme will assume that students have fulfilled the admission requirements for the programme. In addition, courses in second, third and/or fourth semester can have spesific prerequisites and will assume that students have followed normal study progression. For double degree and exchange students, please note that equivalent courses are accepted.

Compulsory reading
Brett, J. 2014. Negotiating Globally: How to Negotiate Deals, Resolve Disputes, and Make Decisions across Cultural Boundaries. 3rd ed.. John Wiley & Sons
House et al. 2004. Culture, leadership, and organizations: The GLOBE Study of 62 Societies. Thousand Oaks, California. (Selected chapters)

Book extract:
R.J. Lewicki, B. Barry and D.M. Saunders. 2016. “Strategy and Tactics of Distributive Bargaining” from Essentials of Negotiation. 6th ed.. Boston: McGraw Hill

4 Cases for Negotiations (Harvard cases, TBC)

Recommended reading
Chapters from Hofstede (2010), Trompenaars (2012). Cultures and organizations : software of the mind : intercultural cooperation and its importance for survival, Riding the waves of culture : understanding diversity in global business
Fisher, Ury and Patton. 2011. Getting to Yes

Course outline
The course will be a joint project with the Japanese business school, Ritsumeikan University (APU). Weeks 42-44 will consist of teaching in Norway on intercultural communication and negotiation theory. During this time, the Norwegian student groups will make contact with similarly-sized APU student groups on Skype where they can discuss and compare cultural differences. The Norwegian students will prepare a PowerPoint presentation on how they see Norwegian business culture and use that as a point of departure. Upon arrival in Japan (between weeks 44-46), Norwegian students will receive lectures on Japanese business culture plus a company visit while the APU students (predominantly Southeast and South Asian) will be given tuition by the Norwegian professor(s) on what is deemed most relevant for them (intercultural communication theory, negotiation theory, English language etc.). The next two days will consist of negotiations between BI and APU students. Two more days will focus on cultural exchange.

Computer-based tools
Not applicable

Learning process and workload
A course of 6 ECTS credits corresponds to a workload of 160-180 hours.

Use of Skype in the initial phases plus relevant sources of IT on culture.

The examination will consist of a term paper worth 60%, a presentation worth 30% and 10 % class participation (in Japan: networking, cross-cultural participation and initiative) (see below).
The term paper and presentation will be based on research on one of the following themes:
· Determine to what extent the cultural theory coincides with experience and observations.
· Determine to what extent the Japanese or Norwegians use Integrative vs Distributive bargaining and to what degree it might be culture based.
· Compare culture and negotiation styles.

Form of assessment Weight Group size
Term paper 60% Group of max 3 students
Presentation 30% Group of max 3 students
Class participation 10%

Specific information regarding student assessment will be provided in class. This information may be relevant to requirements for term papers or other hand-ins, and/or where class participation can be one of several components of the overall assessment. This is a course with continuous assessment (several exam components) and one final exam code. Each exam component is graded using points on a scale from 0-100. The final grade for the course is based on the aggregated mark of the course components. Each component is weighted as detailed in the course description. Students who fail to participate in one/some/all exam components will get a lower grade or may fail the course. You will find detailed information about the points system and the mapping scale in the student portal @bi. Candidates may be called in for an oral hearing as a verification/control of written assignments.

Examination code(s)
GRA 68421 continuous assessment accounts for 100 % of the final grade in the course GRA 6842.

Examination support materials
Not applicable
Permitted examination support materials for written examinations are detailed under examination information in the student portal @bi. The section on support materials and the use of calculators and dictionaries should be paid special attention to.

Re-sit examination
It is only possible to retake an examination when the course is next taught. The assessment in some courses is based on more than one exam code. Where this is the case, you may retake only the assessed components of one of these exam codes. All retaken examinations will incur an additional fee. Please note that you need to retake the latest version of the course with updated course literature and assessment. Please make sure that you have familiarised yourself with the latest course description.

Additional information
Honour code. Academic honesty and trust are important to all of us as individuals, and are values that are integral to BI's honour code system. Students are responsible for familiarising themselves with the honour code system, to which the faculty is deeply committed. Any violation of the honour code will be dealt with in accordance with BI’s procedures for academic misconduct. Issues of academic integrity are taken seriously by everyone associated with the programmes at BI and are at the heart of the honour code. If you have any questions about your responsibilities under the honour code, please ask. The learning platform itslearning is used in the teaching of all courses at BI. All students are expected to make use of itslearning.