Negotiating Styles Around the World. Which Do You Use?

Meredith Wood at Fundera has suggested that there are 5 main negotiating styles, and 6 cultural dimensions that differ between countries. Let’s take a look.

Our personalities play a major role in dictating how we behave and interact with others. They also contribute to the way we resolve conflict and negotiate. As a small business owner, you’ll likely have to negotiate for your company and as you grow, you may find yourself wading into international waters where negotiation styles may differ.

Whether you hope to find a great new product for your company or want to get the best manufacturing deal possible, communicating with people in different cultures is probably in your future as a small business owner.

To help you navigate negotiations with a foreign company, we’ve created an infographic with 10 major countries around the globe. We detail important traits of each country, the negotiation style that best fits their culture, and how you can adapt your own negotiation style to find the best solution for both sides.

Understanding the Five Negotiation Styles

Before trying to negotiate in another country, it’s important to understand the basics of negotiation and how they are affected by psychology and personality.

There are five main negotiation styles (also called conflict resolution styles). These styles vary based on the personality and background of the negotiator, their needs, and the urgency needed to find a solution.

Understanding how to interact with and adapt to different negotiation styles is imperative in coming to a satisfactory solution and maintaining good relationships with business partners.

When conducting business in foreign countries, take the time to research your opponents and understand their perspective and needs before beginning negotiations.

1. Competing: Confident and assertive, these negotiators tend to pursue their own needs and focus on results. They may be perceived as aggressive and controlling.
How to adapt to a competing negotiator: Maintaining your ground is important when interacting with a competing negotiator. State your position firmly and do not back down from important self-interests.

2. Avoiding: These negotiators approach conflict with caution, preferring not to cause tension. They may not outwardly express their own interests and often sacrifice those interests if their opponent has a stronger voice.
How to adapt to an avoiding negotiator: Expressing deadlines and communicating details early is critical when negotiating with an avoider. If no solution is reached, consider escalating the issue with a higher authority.

3. Accommodating: Relationships are important to these negotiators; they prefer to smooth out conflict if it arises, focus on maintaining positive communication with negotiating partners and satisfy the needs of others before their own.
How to adapt to an accommodating negotiator: Do not accept unnecessary concessions from this negotiator. Allowing others to give up too much may be detrimental to both sides in a long-term relationship.

4. Compromising: These negotiators prefer to find a middle-ground solution quickly rather than debate back and forth for long periods. Coming to an agreement that pacifies both sides is the ultimate goal of this negotiator.
How to adapt to a compromising negotiator: Maintaining the importance of your interests is crucial in a negotiation with a compromising style. Communicate your needs clearly and take the time to explore multiple alternatives before agreeing on a solution.

5. Collaborating: The optimal solution is the goal for this negotiator. They tend to focus on finding results that satisfy all parties and express honest communication during debate. These negotiators would prefer to weigh many options before finding the best result.
How to adapt to a collaborating negotiator: While a collaborative negotiation partner is often interested in taking the time to find good solutions for both parties, it may not be in your best interest to invest significant time in the negotiation. Clearly define your needs and do not accept alternatives to hard requirements.

No matter what the negotiation involves, it is important to always:

  • Clearly state your party’s interests and requirements.
  • Approach every negotiation with a willingness to communicate.
  • Understand your opponent’s negotiation style and perspective.
  • Blend your negotiation style to best adapt to opponents.

Understanding the Six Cultural Dimensions

Renowned psychologist and professor Geert Hofstede published a theory in the 1970s that describes dimensions of international cultures. These dimensions describe important social elements of culture, including how they impact communication and connection between populations.

The six cultural dimensions have become a vital part of international business communication and are important to successful negotiations in foreign countries.

1. Power Distance Index (PDI): This dimension focuses on how a culture perceives and interacts with authority. A low-scoring power distance culture emphasizes the importance of equality, while a high-scoring power distance culture exhibits a strong hierarchical structure.
Score of 0–49: equality
Score of 50–100: hierarchy

2. Individualism versus Collectivism (IDV): Cultures with high scores (individualistic) encourage their members to adopt a self-serving mentality and strive for personal achievement. Cultures with low scores (collectivistic) prefers tight-knit groups and emphasizes loyalty to a group or family before oneself.
Score of 0–49: group
Score of 50–100: personal

3. Masculinity versus Femininity (MAS): This dimension centers on achievement, assertiveness, and competition. High-scoring (masculine) cultures value success, heroism, and material reward. Low-scoring (feminine) societies focus on collaboration, consensus, and modesty.
Score of 0–49: modesty
Score of 50–100: heroism

4. Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI): This expresses the degree to which a society tolerates differences and ambiguity. Cultures with high uncertainty avoidance scores generally have rigid belief systems and low tolerance for unorthodox behavior or outsiders. Cultures with low uncertainty avoidance scores tend to be more relaxed when it comes to behavior, beliefs, and visitors.
Score of 0–49: tolerance
Score of 50–100: rigid beliefs

5. Long-Term Orientation versus Short-term Normative Orientation (LTO): Centering on the dichotomy of the past and the future, this dimension establishes how cultures interact with time. Low-scoring societies are long-term oriented, value tradition above all else, view social change with a skeptical eye, and set standards based on past events. Cultures with a high score (short-term normative orientation) encourage new ways of thinking, innovation, and education and set their sights on the future.
Score of 0–49: tradition
Score of 50–100: innovation

6. Indulgence versus Restraint (IND): This dimension focuses on quality of life, leisure time, and drive. A high-scoring (indulgent) society values leisure, gratification, and travel. A low-scoring culture (restraint) tends to limit this gratification in favor of stricter social norms like dress code or restricted travel.
Score of 0–49: strict norms
Score of 50–100: gratification

Negotiating in Different Cultures Across the Globe

To help you determine the best way to negotiate when conducting business in a foreign culture, Fundera created an infographic with 10 of the most culturally-diverse countries across the globe. We analyzed each country’s Hofstede scores and compared them to the negotiation styles that you will most likely encounter in that culture.

Remember: it’s important to research your negotiation partner before meeting with them. While our suggestions may fit your partner’s overall culture, negotiation style varies person to person! Be prepared to adapt to any negotiation style once you arrive at the meeting.

Click here to view the infographic.

Adapting to both conflict styles and cultural dimensions is crucial to successful negotiations in foreign countries. Remember, negotiators from other countries are unlikely to demonstrate the same negotiation style you use. For this reason, it is important to understand how you negotiate and how different cultures approach negotiations.

For the best results, thoroughly research appropriate business etiquette in the country you’ll be visiting and communicate your interests clearly when negotiating.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Eliott Reyna [1], [2], Joseph Grazone [3].

Relocation Africa’s EuRA Munich 2019 Key Takeaways

This article was written by our Director, Rene Stegmann, after her return from EuRA’s 2019 Conference in Munich.

Travel to Europe

Over time, with all the international business travel I have done, I have come to realise that Europe is a long way away from home, and each time I prepare to go, I pack way too much. So, on this trip I wanted to see why I overpacked, and I came to the following conclusions:

• I am so far away from home I don’t want to leave anything behind
• I like options, and my own wine
• The weather overseas ranged from 2 degrees to 22 degrees Celsius
• I took a large suitcase, which out of habit just needed to be filled

So next trip (note to self), take a smaller suitcase and realise that Europe’s 2 degrees and a conference means you don’t leave the hotel. You taxi to restaurants, thereby not requiring that big coat! Oh, and I guess drink the local wine!

I did also realise that most of the other conference attendees coming from Europe fly in last-minute and leave as soon as the conference is over. I think because a few of us travel from so far away, we certainly like to make more of a meal of our travels and include the “pudding”.

Berlin (The Pudding)

As has become customary, we have a diverse global “bubbles group” of four ladies, who travel from Australia, South Africa, Dubai and Ireland, and meet before the EuRA Conference at a new city that we’ve not visited before. This year that city was Berlin.

We absolutely loved Berlin, with its eclectic and authentic charm, which is lost in so many modern, Westernised cities that have a McDonalds and a Starbucks on almost every corner. Not to say Berlin did not have these, but it seemed to somehow be more supportive of the local business community, with made-in-Berlin items seeming to have a strong presence in the areas in which we travelled. It is a fairly spread-out city, and while I certainly felt we saw so much that Berlin has to offer, I would definitely go back to experience even more of the city’s authenticity and culture.

It was lovely to change the pace of work at home and laugh with friends in our industry who just enjoy life (and “pudding”).

TIRA (The International Relocation Associates)

We then made our way on EasyJet to Munich. These low-cost airlines really do offer no frills at all. But then again, that’s what you’re paying for, so they live up to their names.

We then enjoyed a day of education on “Scaling Up”, which is a fantastic approach for the TIRA members to start looking at their own businesses, and to see if and how we can scale our businesses. I certainly had many takeaways from this workshop – my main one being simply the four things we should all focus on to maintain a successful business; strategy, implementation, people, and cash. I know it this is easier said than done, but I keep coming back to these basic principles at Relocation Africa, and I am hoping to scale based on having these four principles top of mind.

We also hosted our TIRA annual general meeting. This year, I am stepping down as TIRA President, and will play a more supportive role as Immediate Past President for the next year or two. We believe in developing and diversifying the board at TIRA, and keeping ideas fresh, and this requires a roll-over of the board every few years. We now have a new board and great goals for the future, with the plan being to announce the new president at the next board meeting, at the end of May. For more information about TIRA, feel free to visit our new website here.

EuRA Conference

I started out at the EuRA Conference feeling motivated as a result of the inspiring Scaling Up workshop the day before, and was ready to hit the ground running. We attendees all probably over-book our calendars at the EuRA Conferences, feeling the need to see as many people as possible. After so many years of doing business, you’d think we would have other, more holistic strategies for these conferences, but sadly it seems we need to fill every gap in our diaries to make the most of the opportunity to engage with as many of the EuRA participants as possible. We certainly did so, and this year we also managed to fit a couple of educational sessions in, to learn about some of the trends in the relocation industry. Like most industries, ours is rapidly changing, and we consistently need to ensure that our business is nimble enough to alter course if necessary, as opposed to being too stuck in its ways. It’s about balancing the traditions that have allowed us to get to where we are, with being open to necessary changes in order to keep up with our ever-evolving industry. And it’s a balance I think we’ve achieved at our business.

I would say our biggest takeaway from the Conference relates to the assignee (customer) experience (CX), and the methods we can use to ensure that the journey of relocating using our services is one that creates a positive and powerful individual experience. Emphasis on the individual, as each relocation is unique, and therefore requires an individualized approach from our side.

Emphasis was not on the technology component of the Conference as much as it was in previous years, but rather on finding ways to humanize our processes, ensuring our effort is focused on customer experience. The rest of the technology and processes will then follow suit. That’s what we believe, at least.

Luckily I managed to have a sightseeing day in Munich, during which I had a chance to absorb the English Gardens, the Town Hall, and the view of the city from the 90-odd stairs up St Peter’s Church, as well as enjoying great food, a museum, and of course, pudding at Café Luitpold.

We also had a lovely evening at a brauhaus, and even rented outfits to experience more of the local culture.

Below is a gallery of some of the beautiful sights in Munich, so you can share in the environment that I was fortunate enough to enjoy during my trip.

Here’s to a prosperous second half of 2019, until the next conference has us packing and jetting off once again!


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7].

How to Survive a Long-haul Flight

With the development of the commercial aviation industry, non-stop flights have become longer — no one could have imagined back in the 1950s that the journey from the UK to Australia which was made of nine layovers would become a 17-hour direct flight. As an expat, you are probably travelling more often than the average person; it’s therefore important for your mental and physical well being to know how to manage discomfort during eight, ten, or seventeen hours of flying.

Reserve a seat that meets your needs

What is a good seat for you, isn’t necessary for your co-passenger. If you are the type of flyer who falls asleep before the takeoff and wakes up just before landing, definitely secure a window seat. Not only you won’t be disturbed by walking-down-the-aisle-passengers and crew members, but also you won’t make those sitting next to you feel uncomfortable for having to wake you up every time they need to use the lavatory. Exit seats offer some extra leg room, but you must be physically able and willing to perform emergency actions, as well as not accompanying children under the age of 15.

Wear comfortable clothes

Don’t make long-haul flights more tiring than what they already are by squeezing yourself in tight jeans or wearing synthetic materials which don’t let your skin breath. The ideal traveller’s outfit has layers to help you manage the changes in temperature throughout the journey, and is composed of wrinkle-resistant items. For example, wear trousers that stretch, a t-shirt, and a cardigan, and choose comfortable footwear — remember feet usually swell during air travel due to inactivity.

Pack your carry-on smartly

Unless you are travelling business or first-class, every inch of your limited space in the economy class is vital for your comfort. Thus, it’s crucial to use the space under the seat in front of you to stretch your legs rather than keep your handbag. To achieve this practicality, you should limit the amount of stuff you bring on board, and store, all except the necessary, in the overhead bin. Keep in the pocket in front of you your book, headphones, neck pillow, and a toilet kit. The rest, such as your laptop, scarf, or notebook, you can reach out for when needed — it’s a good opportunity also to stretch your legs.

Stay hydrated

The cabin air is cool and dry, and the humidity levels are between ten to 20% — lower than in the Sahara desert. However, the average human body is used to higher numbers of humidity (30 to 60%). To reduce the symptoms of dehydration and jet lag (e.g. fatigue, headaches, nausea), and to make up for the water your body loses during the flight, you should drink about a plastic airline cup of water for every flying hour. If you cannot resist the in-flight alcohol, keep in mind that alcoholic beverages don’t count towards dehydration; quite the contrary.

Be kind to cabin crew

Generally speaking, being kind to people who serve you is a principle. However, when you are at 30,000 feet altitude, you have some extra reasons to bring your best self to the plane. The more the flight attendants positively notice you, the better service you will get during the flight — yes, the extra blanket and snacks will feel like a much-needed luxury after the seventh hour of flying. So, put on your big smile, leave your stresses outside the cabin, and let the people in charge help you enjoy your flight.

Get some sleep

Sleeping is probably the best way to pass the time on a long-haul flight. However, the limited space, the noise, and often the nerves can make it difficult for you. To create a more comfortable space, recline your seat back after you have given the person behind you a heads up, slip off your shoes, and wrap yourself with the blanket to stay warm and cosy. Use your traveller’s accessories (neck pillow, sleep mask, earplugs or earphones) for extra comfort.

Move around

Getting into the habit of moving regularly during the flight is essential to help your blood flow, and prevent from the unpleasant symptoms of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is blood clots in the legs. Toilet breaks are an excellent opportunity also to stretch your legs, as long as you choose to use the most inaccessible lavatory which demands a longer walk down the aisle. Also, there are basic stretching exercises for flyers, such as pointing your toes, pulling your calves, and moving your ankles in round movements.

Expand your network

Spending many hours next to a stranger and facing the same uncomfortable conditions are good enough reasons to get to know this person. Initiating a conversation with your co-passenger can help you find out something new about your destination, or who knows? — Maybe this is the contact you have been longing to help you find accommodation or give you expat advice because they have been there done that. As an expat, you should get into the habit of expanding your social network with every given opportunity, and this is definitely a good one.

Complete a pending task

If you left your office in a hurry the day before, or you have yet to complete a freelance project whose deadline is approaching, you can use the flying hours to make some progress with your work. Make sure your laptop is fully charged, and that you can access your documents while offline if you don’t wish to pay the extra charges for in-flight Wi-Fi.

Enjoy the in-flight entertainment

In-flight entertainment is a guaranteed way to pass your time in a relaxed and fun way. Whether you decide to do a movie marathon, listen to your favourite music, or play candy storm, airlines have made sure there’s something for every taste and age. However, we strongly recommend you avoid watching the interactive map on your screen, which shows the route along with facts about your flight (e.g. altitude, outside temperature, hours left to go), as it has the opposite effect than helping the time pass by fast. The map is actually a reminder of how slow and restrictive the flying experience can be. These days, many planes have power outlets (even for economy seats), so you may even be able to power your own entertainment device, if you have something you’d rather watch than what’s on offer on the built-in screen.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Ashim D’Silva [1], [2].

The Challenges of Developing and Maintaining Friendships as an Expat

Building friendships as an expat
Making new friends and maintaining an established friendship is one of the biggest challenges for expats. But remember: there are other people looking for friends like you! Others who are also new to your location, hoping to make indelible impressions that will translate into long-lasting friendships; friendships that will evolve into late evenings, trying out new restaurants together, and sharing brunch on Saturday mornings.

Forming long-lasting bonds
Some people are lucky to form lasting bonds. Given that most expats are almost always in transit, though, friendship in the form of seeing the other often lasts only a short while. Some stay friends on social media while others find that certain friendships fizzle out, having served their purpose.

And then there are those who are brave enough to start a new friendship all over again with another friend or couple. They are in it to win. They believe that, somewhere out there, is the friend (or group of friends) that will be just the match they are looking for! They will go on long weekend trips together and sit around a bonfire while their children play together. They will share many memories and milestones. That is the goal after all, to create a “new family” abroad, and this is what real friends are.

The challenge for long-term expats
We can all agree that one of the worst parts of being an expat is having to regularly say goodbye to friends. Either they are leaving, or you’re leaving, or both!

It is no easy task saying goodbye over and over again. It sometimes makes you wonder what the point is of investing in friendships when you know that one of you will move in a couple of years. This creates a sense of the temporary, of less stability. Friends come, you invest in them, then they leave and you may feel lonely in a host country which seems so familiar but is without real friends to enjoy it. Some long-term expats admit that they will always ask how long the other person will stay and, if the answer is a year or less, they distance themselves. They get detached to protect themselves from another painful goodbye.

Don’t let fear rule
Can you really limit who you like and want to spend time with? How can you stop yourself when you are attracted to a person’s friendship? Why lose an opportunity for friendship because of fear or a past experience? Perhaps it can help to approach this from a different perspective: because your time together may be limited, you know to enjoy the friendship to the fullest and make the most out of it.

What about the locals?
Here is another solution for having meaningful friendships as long-term expats: make friends with locals. Mingle with them, learn about the local culture and the language. Moreover, there is a bigger chance that the friendship will last longer as they are less likely to move away. Of course, nobody can guarantee that that your time together will be infinite.

Real friendships last a lifetime
Friends do not always have to be together to remain friends. Good friends may be separated for years, but when they meet again, they feel as close to each other as they used to. Real friendships last forever. And even though your friends might get busy with their own families, love life or work, all it will take is a little message or a reunion to rekindle all the happy memories and make new ones in the process.

For the long-term expats out there who have said goodbye countless times to their friends or who feel lonely because some of their best friends are a continent away, remember your friends in other places and know that the friendship and love are not gone! They are still there, perhaps in different times zones, but waiting for you to (re)connect or plan your next meet-up.

Remember: having to say goodbye to your friends is one of the worst things of being an expat, but saying hello to them again is just about the best thing!

Don’t let yourself be discouraged
Having a strong friendship is one of most beautiful parts of life and aspects of us being human: laughing out loud, going out for movies, singing songs, making crazy plans about marriage, career and life.

To all the expats out there sitting at home waiting for that Skype call, shorten the conversation on Skype, and get out.

Don’t be discouraged if your first evening at a social event doesn’t yield a Saturday spent at the beach with your newly found friends. Attend the next meeting, and the next one. Eventually, bonds will form, and you will have your coveted long weekends or day at the beach with friends.

It takes time to build long-lasting friendships, and common experiences and values will lead you to this gift.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: Vivian Chiona (Expat Nest) [1], [2]. Image sources: Val Vesa [1], [2].

Relocation Africa Attending EuRA Munich 2019

Relocation Africa Director Rene Stegmann will be representing the company at EuRA’s 2019 International Relocation Congress in Munich. The conference will take place between 30 April and 3 May 2019.

The European Relocation Association (EuRA) is a professional industry body for relocation providers and affiliated services. As a non-profit organisation EuRA aims to promote the benefits of a professionally managed relocation to companies with globally mobile employees.

The 2019 EuRA International Relocation Congress will take place in the stunning Bavarian capital Munich. This ancient city is a centre of commerce and manufacturing and is currently ranked number 4 in Mercers Most Liveable Cities index.

The 2019 Conference theme is “Celebrate the Future | Opportunity Defined”. EuRA aims to move away from the VUCA paradigm and concentrate on the opportunities that change can bring. Each year EuRA works hard to deliver exceptional learning and networking opportunities and 2019 will be no different. A program of training, breakout and plenary sessions and keynote speakers has been planned. The primary venue is the Hilton Munich Park, set in the Englischer Garten – a pleasant 20 minute away from the city.

Tickets for the conference have sold out, and non-delegate sponsorships are full. The conference will also feature a Gala Dinner in the Paulaner Brauhaus, one of the great Munich Bier Kellers.

For an overview of the conference program, click here. For a list of sponsors, click here.

To arrange to meet with Rene during the conference period, kindly send a mail to


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].