In November 2006, I went to Cambodia for 2 months as a volunteer for a French NGO called ASPECA Enfants d'Asie. I spent more than one month in one orphan center in Battambang in the north west of Cambodia, not far from the border with Thailand. My principal mission was to conduct an audit of the orphanage, to give French and English lessons to children from 5 to 21 years old. We were two students from my university in France. The girl with whom I went there spoke a little Cambodian but she was not fluent. We had a total budget of $400 to spend for the center. The last week, it remained $85 to spend for the orphanage. We planned to use this money to finance the organization to arrange a party for our departure. We fixed the amount around $70 for the food (target point). This might be a huge sum in Cambodia but there were around 110 children in the center and including the members of the staff, we had to buy food for more than 120 people.
[...] Consequently, our acceptance to pay more than our target point was increasing. Culture differences in this negotiation If we refer to the typology of Hofstede, Cambodia may be classified as a collectivist country (group focus) and France as an individualistic country. These cultural based differences in negotiations may be the reasons for failure in reaching a deal. That is why we repeated that we were helping Cambodian children and that our aim was collective and not individualist. Not losing face is another key cultural element. This concept comes from China. [...]
[...] Second, the price was much too high From step 1 to step Distributive Bargaining To t0 to t1 (Step1): an extreme opening offer Before negotiating the prices, we explained to the seller that we wanted to organize a party in an orphan center and we needed to buy some food. We told him the quantity we wanted and if it would possible to prepare some extra cakes before 6PM (the dinner would begin at 7PM). He said that it might be possible to prepare some more cakes. [...]
[...] We repeated that we had only 50$ to spend for the food and that our budget was very tight because we were volunteer workers for an NGO. The seller argued that it was the cost price of the food. On the one hand, he was right: if you negotiate for cramas (Traditional silk craft in Cambodia) at the market, it was less priced than food. But we knew that we could negotiate, because,we were at the end of the week. [...]
[...] But finally, as we just reached a compromise, it seems that the relationship concern of the other party was quite low Tactics I used several tactics during this negotiation: lowball tactic, surprise, bluff, play on emotions, exploding offer. First, I used bluff. Indeed, I kept repeating that I could get a better price in another shop (which was not true actually). This bakery was the first one I visited and I was eager to close a deal with him. Then I played on emotions. Feelings and behavior played a big part in the negotiation. Indeed, tried to use compassion on the seller. [...]
[...] He explained in Khmer that we were volunteer teachers in his orphanage and that we had a limited budget. The seller trusted him and he replied that he was ready to offer a special price for us. Nevertheless, he was unable to lower the price much. We should understand that this was not profitable to him. We should also understand that he made great concessions and he was waiting for us right now. He agreed to lower the price to $ To t3 to t4 (Step compromising As we were under time constraint (we had no more time to leave and negotiate with other sellers right now), we had to close a deal as quickly as possible with this baker. [...]
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