GRA 6842 Cross-Cultural Negotiations: Doing Business in Japan

GRA 6842 Cross-Cultural Negotiations: Doing Business in Japan

Course code: 
GRA 6842
Communication and Culture
Course coordinator: 
Derek Edward Matthews
Mark Brown
Course name in Norwegian: 
Cross-Cultural Negotiations: Doing Business in Japan
Product category: 
MSc in Business - Elective course
2018 Autumn
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

(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 outcomes - Knowledge
  • 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

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

Learning outcomes - 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. Students will also:

  • Improve their presentation skills
  • Improve their cultural awareness and internationalization skills
  • Expand their’ international network
Learning Outcome - 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.

Course content

The course will be a joint project with the Japanese business school, Ritsumeikan University (APU). The first part of the course 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, 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.

Learning process and requirements to students

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

Please note that while attendance is not compulsory in all courses, it is the student’s own responsibility to obtain any information provided in class that is not included in Itslearning or the text book.

This is a course with continuous assessment (several exam components) and one final exam code. Each exam component is graded by using points on a scale from 0-100. The components will be weighted together according to the information in the course description in order to calculate the final letter grade for the examination code (course). Students who fail to participate in one/some/all exam elements will get a lower grade or may fail the course. You will find detailed information about the point system and the cut off points with reference to the letter grades when the course starts.

At resit, all exam components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course.

Software tools
No specified computer-based tools are required.

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 specific prerequisites and will assume that students have followed normal study progression. For double degree and exchange students, please note that equivalent courses are accepted.

Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Group (2 - 3)
Exam code: 
Grading scale: 
Point scale leading to ECTS letter grade
All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Written submission
Group (2 - 3)
1 Semester(s)
Consultancy Report
The Consultancy Report and presentation will be based on research on one of the following themes:
- The Consultancy Report will include a critical case of the students’ choosing which includes cross-cultural challenges within a negotiation context.
- 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.
Exam code: 
Grading scale: 
Point scale leading to ECTS letter grade
All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
Exam organisation: 
Continuous assessment
Grading scale: 
Total weight: 
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 6 ECTS credits corresponds to a workload of at least 160 hours.