Course Information
Introduction and Background

Culture affects how negotiators reach deals, resolve disputes, and make decisions, it also affects their agreements. Needless to say, a negotiators interests, priorities and strategies are affected by culture. This online course is designed to explore the dimension of culture and how it affects international negotiations. Based on UNITAR's previous training in negotiation issues conducted on a worldwide basis, this course delves into the multiple interfaces between culture and negotiation/conflict/compromise to arrive at a more systematic understanding of intercultural negotiation practices. It is specifically aimed the professional and practitioner who has more and more inter-cultural dealings as part of his/her work commitments.

Culture is a unique character of a social group. Culture consists of psychological elements, values and norms that are shared by members of a group as well as structural elements: economic, social, political and religious institutions that are the context for social interaction. Cultural values direct attention to what issues are more or less important and influence a negotiator's interests and priorities.

This UNITAR Cross-Cultural Negotiations online course is a foundation course developed to help professionals -- in full time work -- understand the elusive dimension of culture in relation to international negotiations. It revisits important and time tested concepts of culture in relation to negotiation, which form the building blocks for skilled negotiators. The skills and techniques which are exposed in this online course are designed to help officials from all sectors, including public, private, civil society and the academia. This course forms part of a series of Negotiation Training courses that UNITAR is developing for a worldwide audience of officials and professionals.

An understanding of the 'cultural dimension' in negotiations will be reinforced for all participants to this course through online exchanges and group discussions among a culturally-diverse group of participants.

Registration Status: OPEN
Deadline for Enrollment: when slots are full
Course Dates: November 8 to December 17, 2010
Estimated learning time: Minimum of 35 hours
Format: Online/Internet-based (asynchronous)
Language of Instruction: English
Fees: US $ 400/-
Helpline: UNITAR Geneva (Course Administration and Technical Questions)
  Course Objectives  
The overall objective of this course is to provide professionals and interested individuals with a powerful and time-tested understanding of the cultural dimension in relation to international negotiations. The core question which will run through this course is: How does culture affect international negotiations?

As negotiators understand that their counterparts may be seeing things very differently, they will be less likely to make negative judgments and more likely to make progress in negotiations.

  Target Audience  

This foundation course is designed for professionals from all sectors and professions, including: government, public finance, investment, trade, corporate finance, project management, treasury, as well as academic circles and civil society. Neophytes will learn time-tested negotiation frameworks and seasoned negotiators will be able to re-visit core concepts and techniques.

  Expected Course Outcomes

This course will help you:

  • Create greater value from your negotiations with external (culturally diverse) parties.
  • Understand the dimension of culture in international negotiations and apply the underlying concept of negotiation theory in this context to your advantage.
  • Build more productive and sustainable relationships with culturally diverse counterparts.
  • Increase awareness of the importance of understanding the cultural dimension in negotiation.
  Course Structure / Outline  

Course Structure

This online course will involve a mix of self-study and online interaction culminating in a practical understanding of cross-cultural negotiations through online group work. Throughout the duration of the course, participants will go through theoretical and conceptual material prepared by UNITAR and will have an opportunity to relate it to real-life situations through online discussions and peer-to-peer interaction. There will be a quiz/assignment at the end of the course which is a requirement for obtaining a course certificate.

Course Outline

This course will comprise of the following modules, each covering a one-week period.

Module #1: Overview of the Dimension of Culture in International Negotiations
(What is culture? How does culture affect negotiation? Can parallels be drawn between different cultures while negotiating at an international level? What are the characteristics of a culturally-sensitive negotiator?)

Module #2: Cultural Approaches to Negotiation
(The challenge of cross-cultural negotiation; communication tools for understanding cultural differences; Orientations of culturally-different negotiators; Examples)

Module #3: Practical techniques for improving Cross-Cultural Negotiation
(Guidelines for preparation; tools for difficult problems; dealing with complex cross-cultural negotiations; understanding the other side; building respect: sustaining relationships)

Module #4: Online Discussions and Peer-to-Peer Exchanges
(Group discussions to bring out a better understanding of the cultural dimension in negotiation; exchange of culturally diverse experiences in negotiation among participants)

  Other Course-related Information
This course will be conducted over the internet using UNITAR's e-Learning infrastructure for a four-week period. Participants will require a minimum of 90 minutes of study each day. The course pedagogy will allow for three levels of interaction. At the first level, the participants will interact with the training content. At the second level, the participants will interact with other participants to share experiences and learn in a contextual manner (using an online discussion board facility). At the third level, the participants will interact with a seasoned international negotiator (course mentor) who will moderate the course for its entire duration. At the core of this course is a set of online interactions and discussions, each of which will be coached by an expert.

UNITAR online courses attempt to create a networked learning environment, in which participants have the flexibility to learn at their own convenience and pace but also are able to interact with peers and experts through the discussion board facility.

This online course will be conducted in the English language.


This course is designed as an online course in which participants will be primarily responsible for their own learning. Each lesson will consist of the following components:

1) Basic Reading Materials (Compulsory Reading Materials): these materials are intended to educate the participants about the basic concepts and principles applicable to the subject-matter of the lesson. It will include, where appropriate, sample materials. These materials will constitute the required reading materials for the lesson

2) Advanced Reading Materials (Optional Reading Materials): this will consist of optional reading materials for participants who wish to learn more about the topic than what is covered in the lesson.

3) External Links: This will refer the interested participants to additional books, articles, documents, and websites that deal with the issues raised in the lesson.

4) Quizzes: At the end of each lesson there will be a set of quizzes for participants to answer. These quizzes are designed to test the participant's understanding of the lesson. Participants are required to pass each quiz and obtain at least 80% or more passing grade in order to be eligible for a certificate. All quizzes will need to be taken online.

5) Community Discussion Board: There will be a community discussion board available on which participants can post questions or comments that can be seen by the instructor and the other participants. This discussion board will be moderated by the course director and UNITAR. Structured discussion strings will be posted on a weekly basis.

All successful participants will be eligible to a certificate after completion of this online course.


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