Group Decision and Negotiation

, Volume 8, Issue 6, pp 511-533

First online:

Accessibility of Computer-based Simulation Models in Inherently Conflict-Laden Negotiations

  • Ilze ZigursAffiliated withCollege of Business and Administration, University of Colorado
  • , Rene ReitsmaAffiliated withDepartment of Information Systems, University of St. Francis Xavier
  • , Clayton LewisAffiliated withDepartment of Computer Science, University of Colorado
  • , Roland HübscherAffiliated withDepartment of Computer Science & Engineering, University of Colorado
  • , Cynthia HayesAffiliated withCenter for Advanced Decision Support for Water & Environmental Systems, University of Colorado

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The use of computer-based simulation models has a long history in areas such as environmental planning and policy-making, and particularly in water management. Policy making in these areas is often characterized by inherent conflict among diverse stakeholders with divergent interests. Although simulation models have been shown to be helpful for such problems, they are typically under the control of a technical analyst or governmental agency and are not available to negotiators in real time. Recent trends in computer technology and user expectations raise the possibility of real-time, user-controlled models for supporting negotiation. But is such accessibility likely to be helpful? This study used a "compressed" longitudinal experiment to investigate the impacts of different scenarios of accessibility of computer-based simulation models. The task was based on a real-life problem in Colorado River water management. Results revealed no significant differences among conditions for either solution quality or satisfaction. These results suggest that the common notion of "more is better" may be inappropriate, and resources for improving computer support of negotiation might best be focused elsewhere.

computer-aided negotiation computer simulation group decision group support systems environmental conflict resource allocation