Thu, Apr. 12, 2007

Neither Review Nor Ad: Book

CK - Washington.   What is the purpose of Kochinke, Verhandeln in den USA in Heussen's third edition of Handbuch Vertragsverhandlung und Vertragsmanagement? Mainly bridging the gaps in understanding and communication between Germans and Americans.

Germans may bring their Impressum and Mitbestimmung to America, while an American will expect a German attorney or client to be familiar with certain basics of American law or business--or with the level of involvement of attorneys. Negotiations of contracts by German and American parties are often more complicated than necessary. Internet identification requirements and union co-determination in corporations are just starting points.

As others have observed before, there is a cultural gap that extends to the negotiation of contracts. Dismissing or ridiculing another's attitudes or expectations, or trying to surmount obstacles with Besserwissen--a seemingly arrogant know-it-all or smart-alecky disposition--, will rarely move contracts along. That appears true both in initial negotiations and subsequent contract management.

Therefore, the new U.S. chapter in Heussen's 1434 page book on contract negotiations and contract management--to which I feel privileged to have been invited by Prof. Dr. Benno Heussen to contribute--aims at avoiding some friction by reducing various legal and cultural thresholds in the making, maintaining--and even breaking out--of contracts.

Put differently, Verhandeln in den USA should assist in building a foundation of trust and loyalty. The chapter on contracts in America is intended for Germans doing business in the United States. Some 50 pages with hands-on examples and little abstraction--easy for a transatlantic flight.

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