Negame: A Cross-Cultural Role Play to Introduce Students to the Familiarization Stage of Negotiations

James W. Gentry, Diane Hambley


"Caught up in the international experientialism found at the 1990 ABSEL Conference in Honolulu, we developed an extended role play for use in an international marketing course. Unlike most existing international simulation games, the role play does not emphasize issues such as transportation, tariffs, pricing, or exchange rates. Unlike most negotiation exercises, the role play does is not intended to eventuate in a contractual relationship. Instead, the role play is designed to emphasize the familiarize ion stage of negotiations, and to demonstrate that the typical “get down to business†approach taken by Americans will lead to frustration. In ABSEL, as in nearly every other area of business related academe. We have consistently heard the admonition to internationalize. However, before the 1990 conference, ABSEL has stressed international issues only sporadically. Many of these efforts were due directly to Dan Brenenstuhl, either through his own work (Brenenstuhl 1977, 1981; Brenenstuhl and Raveed 1978, 1979) or through other presenters on pane Is which he developed (Brenenstuhl et al. 1983; Burden 1981: Maier 1981; Raveed 1981; Rue 1981). A reasonably systematic: search of the ABSEL. Proceedings finds only a few papers on international experiential learning and gaming (Axe 1989; Basuray and Blythe 1981; Bissada and King 1984; Connolly et al. 1978; Ehram 1982; Elliott 1978; Govahi and Ward 1984: Jolly and Fairhurst 1986: Kidron 1974; Murray 1981; Snyder and Jursa 1982; Tansuhaj and Gentry 1988; Williams Popp, and Muhs 1978). Last year, the dam broke, with presentations on international games (Hamm, Cabaniss, and Deaton 1990; Palia et al. 1990), international experiential exercises (Brislin 1990; Golden and Smith 1990; Graf and Hemmasi 1990; Hopkins 1990: Yuen and Lint 1990). as well as a workshop on Japanese marketing (Das 1990). Given the tradition among ABSELers of stealing ideas at one conference, modifying them for their classes, and then writing them tip for the next year’s conference, it is not unlikely that this year’s conference will also see a large number of papers with an international focus. Certainly this paper fits that script. We discuss an attempt to use an extended role play in an international marketing class in order to have the students experience notions such as collectivism/individualism, differing tine orientations, different definitions of in-groups and out-groups, differing tolerances For power distances between superiors and subordinates, low context versus high context cultures the reliance on one’s word is opposed to a written contract, and different expectations in terms of equity and/or equality. All of these issues had been discussed in lectures with the use of vivid examples, but. without great impact. For example, few of the students were able to incorporate cogent discussion of such variables into case analysis dealing with the introduction of a new product or a direct sales approach into Latin cultures The specific intention was to simulate actual early negotiations between Japanese and Americans through the use of structured role plays. The students playing the .Japanese negotiators had to adhere to structured roles that were “foreign’ to them. Students playing the roles of members of the American firms essentially played themselves , and became frustrated by the delaying tactics of the Japanese "

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