Bisnis Asia

Negotiating merry-go-rounds

19 May 2022 | By Ika Dastin

I was negotiating a contract last week and it struck me how different the process is here in Indonesia to what I was used to in Australia and New Zealand.


In a western business culture, negotiating tends to be pretty straightforward and quite linear. You identify the issues then work through them, ticking them off one-by-one until you have agreement.


In Indonesia (and many Asian countries), negotiation is less straightforward. It can feel like a merry-go-round. As you go round, issues come up and fall away (like kids jumping on and off as they need).  It is not uncommon to go over old ground and it can often feel like you’re not making progress.


What I have also found though is that the merry-go-round will slow down and you will reach agreement. You just have to be patient and not force it.


What’s your experience: merry-go-round? Or maybe see-saw?

Written by: Brett McGuire, Principal at Bisnis Asia. 2022.