and primate societies exhibit some basic elements:
societies work by establishing cooperation between their members,
but are hierarchical. Cooperation therefore focuses on coalitions,
especially between males, which secure power in the group.
have been observed using coalitions to modify the social hierarchy;
in the case of the chimpanzees at Arnhem Zoo, an alpha male was supplanted
by a rival after a new coalition was formed. In other words primates,
not just humans, exhibit highly "political" behavior; such
modes of behavior are therefore instinctive in us, not merely rational.
division of labor (in Scandinavia 50% of all workers work in jobs
where their own sex accounts for 90% of employees).
tribal societies men hunt (for meat) and women gather (vegetables).
groups placed a strong emphasis on cooperation between groups of males,
as do chimpanzees.
societies (and their families) are a mechanism for food sharing
(food sharing - dinner in a restaurant remains an important human
pair bonding (although this is under pressure in Western societies
in the 21st century).
hierarchies are more marked among males than among females (though
females can be key members of coalitions).
examples referred to above are taken from Matt Ridley's excellent
Origins of Virtue", published by Viking 1996. Another valuable
book is Robert Wright's "The
Moral Animal, Why We Are The Way We Are", pub. Little Brown,
London 1995, which deals with evolutionary psychology.
negotiating it is important to remember that the instinctive bias
of human beings is to cooperate, where advantages are apparent to
the group. It is also important to understand that male bonding
is an important part of primate behavior and that in lengthy negotiations
it is vital to participate in social activities such as meals and
drinking (especially in Northern European countries and Russia).
It is said that no important deal in Russia, including the handing
over of East Germany and the independence of the Baltic States,
has been achieved without the heavy use of alcohol. Obviously alcohol
will be absent from entertainment in Saudi Arabia, but in all societies
there are clear expectations regarding such social behavior. In
societies which do not accord women a full role, for example in
the Middle East and some other countries in Asia, western women
are sometimes treated as men for the purposes of social interaction.
meetings often play a key role in "unofficial" discussions
which enable negotiations to succeed. The negotiator may learn the
real reasons for the failure of the other side to proceed in the
way he expected. Information about coalitions and senior managers,
who may have their own and different objectives, can play a critical
role in achieving a successful deal. Take care to avoid any situation
which could cause your own position to be undermined.