Managing Across Cultures Case Study: Negotiating Between an American Manager and a Saudi Arabian Counterpart

 Managing Across Cultures Case Study: American Manager Negotiating with a Saudi Arabian Counterpart


Executive summary

The report begins with brief information on the cultural issues that can be anticipated when an American manager plans to negotiate with a Saudi Arabian counterpart. Through several kinds of research, it is seen that communication affects a lot in terms of negotiation. Conflict may arise in both the individual parties for the lack of communication. As both individuals are different from cultures, their thinking may also differ, their feelings, etc. Parties need to communicate for their betterment. Recommendations are made for the betterment and understanding of both parties. Listening skills will magnify communication, which will contribute to a successful negotiation. The main aspect of the research paper is to critically discuss the different types of cultural issues that have been anticipated when an American manager plans to negotiate with the Saudi Arabian counterpart. Different types of aspects will be discussed especially looking into the cultural perspectives. After that, the negotiation process will also be looked into with great importance. Looking into the perspective of the cultural negotiation process between the two official aspects is extremely important because of the cultural perspective as well As for the different types of understandings. Cross-cultural perspectives are also seen between these parties and that creates importance as well. This paper is about discussing the cultural differences and the situations that might occur and faced by an American manager who is working with a manager placed in Saudi Arabia. Through various pointers like Globalization, Culture, Effective Communication, and Negotiations the establishment of the cultural differences and the ways in which it can be worked upon to improve relations has been the main focus of the discussion. Since globalization plays an imperative role, therefore, the discussion began with how globalization has enabled establishing relations between nations and how that had led to shared skill and knowledge and at times even misunderstanding due to the variation in cultures and workforce.


In the present discussion, we will be seeing how the cultural differences between nations impact the relations and the people who work for that particular organization. In the course of the discussion, we will see how the cultural differences that lie between the American and a Saudi Arabic manager result in negotiations and affect certain business strategies that are needed for maintaining and establishing business relations. Through the discussion, it will be seen how globalization, culture, and effective communication helps in mitigating differences and how through mutual understanding they work together or to what level is the adjustment is done.


With the advent of globalization and the countries under the globe coming under a common confluence of trade and commerce, it had been seen that the travel of capital, the goods as well as the services that are essential for carrying business have been functioning at a global level. With globalization, more and more people have felt the need to move across continents to set up a business or to work in MNC’s, this has solely been possible because people, employees, and employers alike have realized the need for diversity in business as well as a diversified workforce (Alsanoosyet al., 2018). However, though cultural variations as well as cultural and ethnic confluence have been noticed, yet how far that has eradicated differences between nations or restored economic stability has been a matter of debate. Here, in the situation, where an American Manager is seen negotiating with the Saudi Arabic client is due to the fact that as a result of globalization, trade and business relations are getting established between US MNC’s and they are looking for an opening in Saudi Arabia (El-Adawayet al., 2018)Here while the US Manager is interacting with the Saudi Arabic counterpart might result in issues arising due to the different cultural backgrounds that the two belong from. Though globalization brings in different cultures yet the way an American Manager will function very differently owing to the difference in language, while one speaks English the other speaks Arabic(Kulwicki, 2020).In Saudi Arabia, Islam is the religion and they need to pray so the work hours clashing with their religious time might be another issue they both might face. While through similarities the onus to share skills and business growth can be seen the difference in language, in beliefs, in working patterns as well as carrying out operations. While the Americans are more flexible in working the Arabs are more rigid in terms of business deals (Farooq et al., 2019). Without considering globalization, business negotiations and differences between the two managers will not be mitigated.


The culture is always reflected in the different types of business negotiations that take place and in this case scenario, it can be easily said that the business negotiation is taking place between an American manager with a Saudi Arabian counterpart. Culture plays an important role in different types of business negotiations. the most important aspect that could be seen that the different types of dimensions during the business negotiations were taking place which was between the two nations (Namenwirth and Weber, 2016). In this factor, different types of cultural frameworks can also be used keeping into mine the cultural differences between the USA and Saudi Arabia. The cultural issues that will be faced are related to the dimensions of culture because the feeling of unity is an important reason for the importance of business commentaries (Ahammad et al., 2016). These aspects also look into defining the company culture and also defining the different types of values and goals. Hofstede’s cultural theory has been implemented in this case scenario. Hofstede’s dimension of cultural tourists will be extremely eligible in this case scenario because different dimensions of the culture look into individualism, the masculinity-femininity aspects the power distancing, and also the uncertainty that is avoided in this case scenario (Alwan and Wolf, 2019). The main aspect of the cultural dimension is to look into cultural communication.

The way of life is constantly reflected in the various kinds of business dealings that occur and for this situation, it tends to be handily said that the business arrangement is occurring between American chiefs with a Saudi Arabian partner. The way of life assumes a significant function in various sorts of business arrangements. the main perspective that could be seen that the various kinds of measurements during the business exchanges were occurring which were between the two countries (Gao, 2017). In this factor, various kinds of social structures can likewise be utilized keeping into mine the social contrasts between the USA and Saudi Arabia. The social issues that will be confronted are connected with the elements of culture because the sentiment of solidarity is a significant explanation of the significance of business analyses. These angles likewise investigate characterizing the organization’s culture and characterizing the various sorts of qualities and objectives (Namenwirth and Weber, 2016). Hofstede’s social hypothesis has been executed for this situation. Hofstede’s component of social travelers will be amazingly qualified for this situation because various elements of the way of life investigate the independence, the manliness gentility viewpoints, the force removing, and the vulnerability that is dodged for this situation (Namenwirth and Weber, 2016). The fundamental part of social measurement is to investigate social correspondence.


Communication is the key to negotiate for two or more parties for the purpose of reaching a joint agreement with a variety of ideas and needs. Understanding the importance and nature of several big MNC’s, businesses, schools, organizations, hospitals, universities, etc., Cross-communications is an important goal. Negotiation becomes cross-communication when the parties involved are from different cultures. Interpersonal communication is a form of negotiation, both the individuals communicate as both of them want a proper agreement (Blue, 2019). Communication requires everyone’s involvement to exchange messages, as it is a two-way street. Between two different parties, communication includes the act of conferring knowledge, experience, giving advice, commanding something. Hence, their way of thinking including feelings and behavior differs from each other (Halkias et al., 2017).

Proceeding with the given analysis, The US and Saudi Arabia have been chosen to illustrate the communication issues in terms of negotiation. Saudi Arabia is chosen because of the fact that they represent US organizations in terms of doing business (Blue, 2019).

Communication requires everyone’s involvement to exchange messages, as it is a two-way street. Between two different parties, communication includes the act of conferring knowledge, experience, giving advice, commanding something. As the American manager is approaching Saudi Arabian, they might seem to be in a position that is weaker, they must adapt to the counterparts of the respective culture. The counterpart for Saudi Arabia is not familiar with the manager’s culture. The American manager must be aware of their actions. The American negotiators usually appear as wilful, but the behavior on cross-culture is consistent for making few adjustments. The American negotiator maintains a particular framework that is win-lose (Berkenkotter and Huckin, 2016). In the process of anticipating issues on culture in the context of cross-cultural negotiation, it is not possible or enough to counter culture. The American manager will use the culture of the Saudi Arabian together as a starting point, but will also consider the counterpart as a part of the culture. The US relatively scored very low power distance and that’s why it is more egalitarian, whereas in the case of Saudi Arabia it is a hierarchical society (Halkias et al., 2017).

Many states select members based on their verbal abilities, competitiveness, persuasive skills. In the case of Saudi Arabia, the status of their negotiator is valuable. Basically, the negotiation process with the Saudi Arabians involves building trust. Both the American and the Saudi Arabians belong to normative culture so adaptation might prevent the advanced strategy (Berkenkotter and Huckin, 2016). Based on the findings, the American manager may consume time in the process of negotiation in terms of face and harmony. If the result of the negotiation becomes successful, the American manager will continue a long term relationship.

Negotiation Process

The negotiation process is extremely important to look into because of the different types of steps that are included in this case scenario between the different cultures. The main essence of the negotiation process can be identified as an agreement to maintain a proper bargain situation for different types of parties that are involved in the process (Ahammad et al., 2016). In this case scenario, it is extremely important to notice that with the process of reflection the different types of negotiation come with the parties concerned with America and Saudi Arabia. In this factor, there must be some type of cultural issues that can be found between the aspects of America and Saudi Arabia (Ahammad et al., 2016). Due to different types of nationalities and culture, the negotiation process between these two parties can be successful as well as there can be certain strategies which will be used for solving the alternatives and making the process easy.

In this particular aspect, it is extremely important to plan and define certain ground rules and also clarify or justify the different aspects too with problem-solving and negotiation will take place. The exchange cycle is critical to investigate due to the various sorts of steps that are remembered for this case situation between the various societies. The primary pith of the exchange cycle can be distinguished as consent to keep up a legitimate deal circumstance for various kinds of gatherings that are associated with the cycle (Alwan and Wolf, 2019). For this situation, it is critical to see that with the cycle of reflection the various sorts of exchange accompany the gatherings worried about America and Saudi Arabia. In this factor, there must be some kind of social issues that can be found between the parts of America and Saudi Arabia. Because of various sorts of identities and culture, the exchange cycle between these two gatherings can be effective just as there can be sure systems that will be utilized for illuminating the other options and making the cycle simple (Alwan and Wolf, 2019). In this specific perspective, it is critical to design and characterize certain standard procedures and explain or legitimize the various viewpoints too with critical thinking and exchange.


Through the detailed discussion that was being done on the given topic through globalization, there has been the availability of capital, goods as well as employment across the globe yet there are certain cultural differences that still plague international relations and the professional work culture. The USA and Saudi Arabia as countries are totally different from each other rather they are poles apart in their beliefs, their ways of life, their political scenario, and their access to information. Thus through the cultural differences, the negotiations as well as through effective communication certain mitigations have been done. Mutual tolerance is highly recommended to avoid conflict and for harmonizing the relations between the managers of the two nations.


The American manager will adapt all the deviations. Adapting will be an advanced strategy. The responsibility of the negotiators is to anticipate the counterpart’s willingness to adapt. Cultural issues may arise if the American manager makes the wrong assumptions. Also, if the manager fails to differentiate the similarities and dissimilarities between the culture. Concerning the culture of the opponent’s familiarity, the strategies must be taken. The organizational culture should know the differences between the headquarters and subsidiary. However, the US manager will have to observe, adapt, and evaluate all the deviations for the success and betterment of their negotiation.

It is recommended that keeping in mind the difference in their language, functioning, and the way they believe in working in a business environment through might be conflicting at times but both need to practice equal tolerance so that they can work up as a team and make sure that the outcome is positive for the business development. While in Saudi the official language is Arab and they are initially rigid to let go of their beliefs but it is highly recommended that they adhere to English as that is the official language and can be understood by all people across the globe. Secondly, since the Saudi people put a lot of emphasis on trust and without that, they do not indulge in business relations thus the American manager should adhere to this issue so that they can get on equal footing and work in a hassle free and professional manner. Next, while the American has greater access to data and has the liberty of speech, those are restrictions in the Saudi Arab thus the American manager is recommended to help his Saudi Arab counterpart in getting news and act accordingly. Lastly, it is globalization that determines the world in which we live and therefore also determines the relationships that we form so there should be mutual tolerance as well as an understanding of the cultural differences that might be present to avoid conflict. Since managers are important people who lead the business thus both of them to share good relation is imperative for the overall business development.