WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 13
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City University Law Professor Phyllis Bernard
recently returned from Istanbul, Turkey where she led a workshop at the international conference “Rethinking Negotiation Training.”
Bernard is working on a project, titled “Next Generation,” that seeks to make the standard models for teaching international negotiation more relevant to cross-cultural needs. The project involves about 70 scholars, practitioners, trainers and government officials from multiple disciplines throughout the world.
Bernard said business negotiations are changing rapidly, mainly because of increasing globalization.
“You have to deal with other cultures now if you want to make money,” Bernard noted.
As part of the conference, Bernard introduced differences in approach and tone consistent with a Muslim culture.
“People have values that shape their behavior,” she said. “In a Muslim culture you approach business negotiations as relationships built on friendship and trust. The meeting starts with, ‘May I get you some tea?’ It’s very subtle and it may take hours, but it’s the formalities and rituals that matter. It’s a business model built on integrity, not just profit.”
Bernard received enthusiastic feedback on her workshop from participants including an Israeli hostage negotiator and an intelligence officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Bernard said she enjoys working with such a diverse group of people.
“This has been one of the most moving experiences of my life,” she said.
In conjunction with the project, Bernard has published an article in the Harvard Negotiation Journal and a chapter in the book Rethinking Negotiation Teaching: Innovations for Context and Culture.
Bernard currently is working on additional articles, one with Turkish international banker R. Murge Duygun tentatively titled “Beyond the Economic Hit Man,” one with OCU Religion Professor Dann May on “Teaching Teachers about Islamic Business Values” and one with Former Ecuador President and Harvard Law Fellow Jamil Mahuad and May titled “From Tourist to Traveler: Using Music to Enhance Cross-cultural Negotiation Training.”