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  • Archive for September, 2013

    East vs. West: 5 Cultural Negotiation Style Differences to Know

    September 26th, 2013  by  Asia-Pacific Global Research Group - Jasper Kim

    1. In the professional work setting, the Western individual (from a primarily Socratic-based culture) views a negotiation setting as relatively flat and horizontal. Although some hierarchy and reporting lines exist on paper, in effect, each employee is expected to be proactive, which includes the acceptance of suggestions to question and improve existing structures and methods.
    2. When the Socratic-based negotiator is given a task by another team member, asking “why?” is not a bad thing. In fact, not asking “why?” may be viewed as inappropriate inaction. In other words, from the outset, Socratic-based negotiators see most (but not all) things as potentially negotiable, in stark contrast to collective-based negotiators.
    3. In many Confucian (collectivist) negotiation settings, however, such rationale and negotiation approach is at times seen as a cold, impersonal and detached process, counter to the Confucian bargainer’s basic instincts and training.
    4. In stark contrast, the typical Confucian, collective-based individual is and has been brought up in a relatively more strict and vertically based social structure (which can also be viewed as one’s “operating system,” “thinking process,” and “cultural standards”), in which dominant authority figures effectively lay down the “law” in a particular working environment.
    5. The Confucian, collective-based future negotiator, is in many instances told (in a “command and control” method), not asked, what to do or execute in a business setting, rather than being asked for “creative feedback” as to particular task or negotiation issue (although this will vary from organization to organization).




    September 12th, 2013  by  Asia-Pacific Global Research Group - Jasper Kim

    Former NBA superstar Dennis Rodman has become a cult of diplomatic personality. In the past few months, the colorful “bad boy” (a term from his days as a player on the Detroit Pistons) has turned into a new post-NBA career track – as the world’s basketball diplomat-in-chief – through two high profile trips to North Korea.
    Here are 5 ways Dennis Rodman–the former NBA superstar–holds significant sway with North Korea and its unpredictable “X-factor” leader, Kim Jong-Un:
    1. RODMAN KNOWS MORE ABOUT NORTH KOREAN LEADER KIM JONG-UN THAN JUST ABOUT ANYBODY IN THE WORLD: No single person has had such a unique “backstage pass” into the mind and thinking of Kim Jong-Un through his two visits to North Korea. Kim Jong-Un granted Rodman one of the most scarce seats in the world – a seat next to the young DPRK leader – which culminated into a seemingly win-win relationship. Rodman wants recognition and fame, which access to the highest levels of North Korea’s leadership can provide. Kim Jong-Un wants an apolitical trustworthy global iconic figure that can portray a more flattering and perhaps more nuanced image of him—especially since he represents one of the world’s most reclusive and unknown leaders in the world—despite having one of the world’s largest militaries and a potentially devastating nuclear arsenal. 
    2. RODMAN AND KIM JONG-UN HAVE SIGNIFICANT SHARED INTERESTS: At first blush, Rodman and Kim may seems universes apart. But underneath the superficialities, the two have significant shared interests. Rodman wants to be known as “the person who brought global basketball to North Korea.” Kim wants to be known as “a leader that is not as brutish as the world may portray him to be.”  
    3. SUCH SHARED INTERESTS CAN LEAD TO “BASKETBALL DIPLOMACY”: How can the two shared interests be converted into an actionable outcome? One is through basketball diplomacy—a form of cultural diplomacy leveraging soft power (defined as “getting others to want what you want” by Harvard professor, Joseph Nye).
    4. BASKETBALL DIPLOMACY CAN LEAD TO REAL DIPLOMACY: Many have discounted the potential for basketball diplomacy leading to real diplomacy. One such argument is that North Korea is in effect “using” Rodman for its purposes. We disagree. The argument can be made that the alternatives—6-party talks, bilateral diplomacy, sanctions, etc.—have led to little or zero substantive results. So why not give it a try? Basketball diplomacy, as Rodman is envisioning it, is not a “state sponsored” event—not yet anyway. Surprisingly for many, the private sector and private citizens can also play a potentially important role in gaining trust between North Korea and the international community. Diplomats don’t have a monopoly on good faith diplomatic efforts, nor should they, in our view.
    5. RODMAN’S CALL OUT TO OBAMA MAY BE A NEEDED “WAKE UP CALL”: Rodman’s statements upon his return to Beijing from Pyongyang referencing President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in less than flattering terms were admittedly not ideal. But given the lack of progress in U.S.-DPRK relations, such blunt analysis from a well-known figure such as Dennis Rodman may be the unlikely informal diplomatic figure that “sets the ball in motion.” Even if his efforts come to no resolution, how much different is this than with what has transpired thus far with the so-called experts?

    Samsung’s “Mega-Mini” Strategy: Its Global Negotiation Strategy to Conquer All by Going Big and Small

    September 5th, 2013  by  Asia-Pacific Global Research Group - Jasper Kim

    Samsung Electronics is taking a massive bet: breadth will beat depth when it comes to smart electronics.
    The Seoul-based tech giant just introduced its 1-2 punch fall season product line up: (a) a revamped Galaxy Note III smartphone; and (2) a smartwatch dubbed the Galaxy Gear.
    Although both products–the Note III and Galaxy Gear–appear different from a product specification and visualization perspective, what is clear is that Samsung’s new 2013 product line reflects the following decision-making strategy for continued tech dominance:
    1. Samsung’s Strategy is to Conquer All by Going Big and Small: The tech giant now can claim the “honor” and “distinction” (to use Korean parlay) of being the only tech company (so far) in the world to offer both the largest and smallest mass-produced smart communication products at the consumer level with its Note III smartphone/phablet (6.3 inch screen) and Galaxy Gear smartwatch (1.6 inch screen).
    Such accolades may be nice in Silicon Valley, but have an even greater meaning from the Korean managerial mindset. Which is why it was likely an aspiration point in its internal strategy meetings months if not years ago, that is, to be able to stake its claim to both extreme ends of the consumer demand curve.
    2. Samsung’s New Product Announcement Signals that its Desire to “Beat Apple” is Still as Strong as Ever: It is not an accident that Samsung’s roll out of its new product line-up occurred less than a week before Apple’s own fall product roll out on September 10. The timing also represented a clear signal to Apple (and consumers, both potential and actual) that it can also attempt to be innovative by creating new products for new product lines, which is why its Galaxy Gear smartwatch was important symbolically as well as financially.
    Samsung’s simultaneous roll out of such two extremely divergent smart products reflect the South Korean firm’s aspiration to now be known as a technology “leader”–not just a “fast follower.” What value is placed on being referred to as a “leader” in the West (in places like California where Apple is headquartered) exists can be multiplied many-fold in a very Confucian, top-down jurisdiction like South Korea, Samsung’s home base.
    3. Samsung’s Sheer Breadth of “Mega-to-Mini” Smart Products, Sizes and Prices is a Negotiation Strategy and Decision-Making Process with Consumers: The sheer breadth and depth of consumer electronics products now offered by Samsung Electronics is both breathtaking and dizzying. One the one hand, more choice is generally better than less choice. But at some tipping point, diminishing returns can exist. Studies have shown that consumers tend to prefer a smaller amount of choices than a super-extended amount of choices. While Samsung’s strategy is offer something for everyone (the “31 flavors approach”), Apple has chosen so far to stay with a handful of select products and choices (the “specialty, chosen-for-you flavors approach”). It’s unclear whether one strategy will be the dominant strategy in the end, or whether the two can co-exist in a Nash equilibrium type environment.
    What is more clear is that Samsung and Apple’s efforts represent two different “negotiation strategies” with its consumers, both in effect taking “bets” on two opposing sides in terms of which one may ultimately gain more sustained market share and consumer attention.