crc  .  syllabi collection  .  alumni syllabi  .  legal studies  .

   Course Title    Negotiations Skills in International Business Operations
Lecturer    Zorica Vasovic
Institution    University of Belgrade
Country    Yugoslavia






"We have come to this world to accept it, not merely to know it. We may become powerful by knowledge, but we attain fullness by sympathy. The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence."

Rabindranath Tagore, A Tagore Reader, editor Amiya Chakravarty


The Central and Eastern European countries have made an impressive start in their transition to market economies. The restructuring of industry has led to an expansion of the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector, reorganisation of public sector and big industries that resulted in closer and constant business contacts with foreign economies.

Scholars and practitioners in Central and Eastern Europe work in realms as diverse as international business, international relations, law, the corporate world and numerous other fields. All of these very diverse contexts are linked by the pivotal practice of negotiation - the way in which people and organisations work to reach agreement or resolve conflict.

The Untied Nations ranks Negotiation skills among 13 the most urgent educational needs in Central and East Europe. Negotiation is a life skill. Negotiations skills are ancient arts that have been learned in the past largely through personal practice and apprenticeship for specific fields of endeavour.

It has only been within last thirty years that scholars and practitioners outside the diplomatic community have come to recognise this area as comprising and distinct field of study. Today the topic is an inter-disciplinary one.

It is always possible to get results by chance. However, what marks out the skilled person is that she or he constantly gets the desired results with the minimum of effort and in the shortest possible time. Actually, when people talk about a skilled person, they are referring to someone who has hundreds of separate skills. In a similar way, a person who is considered skilled in negotiations draws on a large number of separate skills in obtaining his/her desired results. Manual skills can be learnt and so can negotiations skills. The every day work is not so much a question of learning new skills as developing and refining skills one already possesses.

So far, in Central and Eastern European universities, negotiations skills did not exist as a part of curricula. Therefore, Central and Eastern European students, lawyers, managers, scholars and practitioners were not and still are not trained how to deal in a cross-cultural setting with their foreign counterparts.

This course is aimed at:

- increasing skills and capabilities of Central and Eastern Europeans when dealing with their foreign business partners
- providing a better understanding of cross-cultural, economic, historical and political aspects and forces that shape the decisions and positions of foreign business partners.
Through exercises, role-playing and case studies, the participants will have the opportunity to be immersed in the negotiations approaches of other countries and will gain better appreciation and understanding of their own and the others' reasoning and perspectives.
Negotiations skills and persuasion are partly learned on the job and have to be seen in practice. The course aims at simulating this practice.
The course is interdisciplinary and includes aspects of law, economics, management, ethics, sociology, psychology. It is innovative since it proposes completely new topic to the countries in the region and to the universities' curricula. It offers new and modern methodology.
The course is very flexible both in terms of its length and organisational aspects. It could be tailored to last shorter or longer, depending on the needs and interest of the group of participants. Also, it can be offered both as the regular university course and as the summer school course. Finally, it can be organised on national level that is with the participants from one country only, and on interregional level with the participants from various countries of the region.


The course is specifically designed to meet educational needs in skills development from Central and Eastern Europe and to teach students and post-graduated students of schools of law, economics, management and related schools in the region.
The course is also open to scholars, researchers, teachers, practitioners, lawyers and managers.
It aims at strengthening the participants' capacity and, consequently, national capacity of the countries of participants' origin in the sectors of education, management and law.


The long-term development objectives of the course are oriented towards:
assistance to the countries in the region to address educational needs in skills development;
assistance to the participants from Central and Eastern Europe to make progress both in their professional career and their every day life by eliminating factors which negatively influence negotiations;
increasing participants' ability to negotiate constructively from the interpersonal to the international levels.


At the end of the course, the participants will have:
acquired and strengthened basic negotiations skills;
identified their own negotiations styles and recognised how to apply those styles appropriately in negotiations to achieve their objectives.
developed the associated skills and qualities such as evaluation, judgement, critical thinking
adaptability, persuasion and decision making gained insights into cross-cultural negotiations;
acquired cross-cultural sensitivity;
recognised the main constraints in negotiations;
identified manipulative tactics and strategies to achieve hidden agendas;
improved negotiations skills on the basis of a written document;
recognised how misunderstandings can arise from imperfect knowledge of the others' phraseology, use of language, etc.;
understood advantages of collaboration over conflict;
acquired insight into adversary relationships and behaviour and their results;


The activities of the course will be covered in a period of 1 academic year and will concentrate on presentations and practical skills. The following are the topics of the course:
Introduction to negotiations skills
Historical Aspects of Negotiations Skills (de Caillères, de Fèlice, Erasmo da Rotterdam)
Factors in Psychological Level
Legal Importance of Negotiations
Key Elements of Negotiations
Standards in Negotiations:
- Positional bargaining
- Anchoring
- Bargaining Zone

- Standards of Fairness
Situations in Negotiations;

Language in Negotiations - Practical Examples:
- Co-operation (goodwill, tact, minimising obstacles, flexibility, caution)
- Competition (deadlock, evasion, dealing with a difficult issue, doubts)
- Compromise (easing the tension, agreement)

Principles in negotiations (What to do?)
- Method to evaluate your negotiating power
Negotiations Styles (How to do?)
Negotiations Tactics
Active Listening Skills and Skills in Asking Questions
Negotiation With Right Person'
Body Language in Negotiations
Barriers in International Negotiations
Importance of the Place of Negotiations
- Host? Advantages and disadvantages
- Guest? Advantages and disadvantages
- Neutral place? Advantages and disadvantages
- Without Direct Contact? Advantages and disadvantages
Time in Negotiations
Inter-Cultural aspects in Negotiations
Ideology and Negotiations;
Foreign Legislation and Its Impact in Negotiations
- The Influence of Government
- Different Legal Systems
Risk in Negotiations

10 Commandments in Negotiations
Internet-based Negotiations


The designer of the course developed:
a) Teaching materials that will be the basis for the course's activities
b) Transparencies
c) A daily workplan and the program of the teaching sessions
d) The pedagogical and methodological parts including exercises - case studies, role-playing and individual and group work.


The course will be conducted using a highly participatory, pragmatic and balanced approach. It will focus on practical issues. This approach will allow an active intervention of all participants. In such a way the participants will contribute to a conductive atmosphere and the constructive exchange of ideas, experience and information.
Teaching methods will include presentations, role-playing, case studies, discussions and individual and group work under the guidance of the professor. Case studies and role-playing are the ideal media for teaching negotiations techniques and improving the skills needed for successful negotiations. Video tapes will be used to show the examples of various negotiation styles. Also, the role-playing will be video taped. Afterwards, the professor will start the tape and analyse it through the discussion with all participants.
The method of the course is to teach tips and skills of negotiations, illustrate them and then reinforce them by exercises under each subject heading and suggestions for actions to be taken.


Most class days will be devoted to group discussion, case-studies, and role-playing. The professor will distribute to participants the guidelines for each individual or group activity in advance. The course participation will contribute to the grade of the participants. Tardiness and absences will result in missing materials and outcomes of the exercises will important for the understanding of the subject matter.


The grades will be based on class participation and attendance. Point values are assigned to grades as follows:

10 = A

9 = B

8 = C

7 = D

6 = E

5 = F


There will be a final exam. The final exam will include multiple choice, short answer identification, and essay questions.


During the course, a continuos feedback will occur between the professor and the participants through individual and group exercises foreseen throughout the programme.
At the end of the course, a course evaluation instrument will be used to register participants' reactions to the inputs from the professor, the teaching materials and learning aids used during the course, and various organisational and management aspects of the course. Participants will also be requested to provide suggestions to improve future courses on the subject matter.

   crc  .  syllabi collection  .  alumni syllabi  .  legal studies  .