Item description for French Negotiating Behavior: Dealing With LA Grande Nation (Cross-Cultural Negotiation Books) by Charles Cogan...
Even before it led opposition to the recent war on Iraq, France was considered the most difficult of the United States' major European allies. Each side tends to irritate the other, not least at the negotiating table, where Americans complain of French pretensions and arrogance, and the French fulminate against U.S. hegemonisme and egoisme. But, whether they like it or not, the two nations are going to have to deal with one another for a long time to come.
Charles Cogan's timely and insightful study can't guarantee to make those encounters more fruitful, but it will help France's negotiating counterparts understand how and why French officials behave as they do. With impressive objectivity and authority, Cogan first explores the cultural and historical factors that have shaped the French approach and then dissects its key elements. Mixing rationalism and nationalism, rhetoric and brio, self-importance and embattled vulnerability, French negotiators often seem more interested in asserting their country's "universal" mission than in reaching agreement. Three recent case studies illustrate this distinctively French mlange.
Yet agreement is by no means always elusive. Cogan offers practical suggestions for making negotiations more cooperative and productive---although he also emphasizes the long-term damage inflicted by the crisis over Iraq.
Drawing on candid interviews with many of today's leading players on the French, American, British, and German sides, this engaging volume will inform and stimulate both seasoned practitioners and academics as well as students of France and the negotiating process.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 5.75" Height: 9.25" Weight: 1.3 lbs.
Publisher United States Institute of Peace Press
ISBN 1929223528 ISBN13 9781929223527
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More About Charles Cogan
Charles Cogan is a senior research associate at Harvard University s John F. Kennedy School of Government, after a distinguished career in the intelligence community. He has also been a journalist and a military officer. His previous books include "Oldest Allies, Guarded Friends: The United States and France since 1940".
Reviews - What do customers think about French Negotiating Behavior: Dealing With LA Grande Nation (Cross-Cultural Negotiation Books)?
To know French better than they know themselves. Nov 15, 2007
I claim to be a knowledgeable person on the subjects of French behavior and certain aspects of French domestic policy, and I spent many years on the French soil. That's why I was eager to read French Negotiating Behavior. I didn't waste my money with it.
Muffled as we are so often by the filters of political correctness, it comes as a welcome liberation to read the clear words of Charles Cogan on the French mind. There aren't many wasted words in "French Negotiating Behavior," and you won't be in any doubt about its author's knowledge and objectivity, both of which are clear and honorable. That's why I consider that the title may be somewhat deceptive since the information you'll find in this book will provide you with valuable knowledge whose scope extends well beyond the mere subject of negotiation. Well, the author is a diplomat who has been in poste at the U.S. Embassy at Paris from 1984 to 1989 as C.I.A. Chief of station, after all; and this experienced and highly knowledgeable lecturer on French-American relations had previously authored "Oldest Allies, Guarded Friends: The United and France since 1940."
So, Charles Cogan knows whom he is talking about and he brilliantly and accurately introduce us to the depths of the mind of the French decisionmaker and negociator. I mean he doesn't limit his description to what a good American observer may see and ear, but it explains indeed the hidden French turn of mind and that's what makes this book enlightening for the neophyte and an interesting and thought-provoking study on French behavior on sensible issues for the others. The chapters II and III, titled "The Cultural Context" and "The Historical Context" are much helpful in our attempt to understand the roots of the "Exception Francaise" (French Exception).
Here are two representative examples of certain French peculiarities I personally noticed when dealing with French officials, which I picked up at random in the enthralling chapter titled "The Process:"
"Americans often had had the experience of listening to a French interlocutor drone on, leaving those on the other side of the table wondering what is the point. Suddenly, at the end of an extended presentation, the French negotiator presents his conclusions. 'You have to pay the closest attention to what the French negotiator says at the end,' remarks Ambassador George Ward Jr., a U.S. diplomat who has worked extensively on European security questions."
"A `straight-from-the-shoulder' bluntness is not in keeping with the French style; hence, when Gerhard Shröder, in one of his first meetings with Jacques Chirac, plunged right in at the beginning of lunch and asked Chirac what he thought about the situation in Afghanistan, the French leader was startled. The French prefer to wait for the appropriate moment, after a certain amount of scene setting. The French expression `entre la poire et le fromage' (between the pear and the cheese) is an allusion to the habit of discussing important business at the end of a meal. The French philosopher Michel de Montaigne used the expression that one needs to speak `à l'heure' (at the right moment)."
So, you must know that "French Negotiating Behavior" puts the emphasis on politics, policymakers and diplomats, and on the spirit of the schools and universities where French diplomats and "sherpas" are trained. This certainly owes to the professional activity and past responsibilities of the author, and a chapter titled "Case Studies: NATO, Iraq, and the Uruguay Round" will provide you with enlightening examples at this regard. But since French private and public business are traditionally less or more officially connected--especially when it comes to foreign trade--many helpful tricks and descriptions will certainly prove to be an invaluable source of information for the American businessman who is reading me and to whom I recommend to keep one issue in his suitcase, as a reminder, when tripping to France for business purpose.
I miss Charles Cogan didn't add some other case studies on less important issues relating to pure business. Also, he seems unwilling to elaborate on certain unofficial and sensible realities of French politics which may fairly tip the balance at some point when Americans and French are in business or competition together--but isn't the author a diplomat?
If ever the ambiguity of the French attitude toward the United States and capitalism still puzzles you, then "French Negotiating Behavior" is an indispensable complement to certain pieces of works approaching less ambiguously the subject of French-U.S. relations, such as "Anti-Americanism," by Jean Francois Revel; "Our Oldest Enemy," by John H. Miller and Mark Molesky; or the widely acclaimed "The American Enemy," by Philippe Roger. Because we must call a spade a spade at some point "French Negotiating Behavior" is nothing but a working-book about negotiation and certain important cultural differences between French and Americans, after all.
Very highly recommended and critically important reading Mar 4, 2004
Also readily available in a hardcover edition, French Negotiating Behavior: Dealing With La Grande Nation by Charles Cogan (Senior Research Associate, john F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University) offers an informed and informative "window" into French cultural, diplomatic, and business styles and habits that are of immense importance to anyone from other nations pursuing private, corporate, or international negotiations. From the legacy of history; to illustrative case studies; to specific tips, tricks and techniques for negotiating with the French government either unilaterally or through multilateral organizational frameworks, French Negotiating Behavior is very highly recommended and critically important reading.