Managing cross-cultural negotiations in the current Northern Iraq international business environment: an exploratory study
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This study investigates factors that impact cross-cultural negotiations in the current international business environment of northern Iraq. In spite of considerable political volatility between the Kurdish regional government and the central government in Baghdad the region has attracted significant attention from Western companies targeting its rich oil resources. Therefore the focus of this small, qualitative study is on cross-cultural negotiations in the current IB environment. Eight in-depth interviews with negotiators from Western and Kurdish-Iraqi backgrounds were conducted to explore the differences in negotiation practices in this interesting region. The data from these in-depth and semi-structured interviews were then analysed through a modified grounded theory approach. The findings of this study showed specific behaviour patterns which are discussed in relation to the extant literature on intercultural negotiation. Major points of difference in the negotiating styles are the differing time expectations, motivational goals, communication approach and emotionalism. The variations in the underlying cultural concepts are explicit in the area of cross-cultural negotiation. These disparities are reflected in the negotiation goals and attitudes which either favour higher economic outcomes or the development of more general positive business relationships. Considering the limited number of studies on cross-cultural negotiations in Iraq, the identified negotiation patterns provide valuable insights into the local intercultural negotiation practices. Knowing these differences in negotiation behaviour shapes expectations of Western and local negotiators in the Kurdistan region. This initial research project should be seen as a first step in the attempt to expand the knowledge of negotiation practices in the area.