Group Decision and Negotiation

, Volume 4, Issue 6, pp 485–512 | Cite as

An empirical study of an interactive, session-oriented computerized Negotiation Support System (NSS)

  • Abbas Foroughi
  • William C. Perkins
  • M. Tawfik Jelassi

Abstract

Negotiating is one of the four major decisional roles played by managers. In fact, resolving conflict is said to occupy 20% of a manager's working hours. This growing frequency of negotiation scenarios coupled with the increasing complexity of the issues which need to be resolved in a negotiation make the possibility of computer enhancement for negotiation very appealing. Implementations of computerized Negotiation Support Systems (NSS) in the business world, international affairs, labor law, and environmental and safety disputes have demonstrated their potential for making negotiation problems more manageable and comprehensible for negotiators. Still, pioneers in NSS research have expressed their dismay at the lack of rigorous empirical research and evaluation of NSS. In particular, research is needed which will determine how and under what circumstances negotiation processes can be enhanced by NSS support.

This article describes empirical research on the effects of a highly structured, interactive NSS on the outcome of face-to-face issues resolution and the attitudes of negotiators in both low- and high-conflict situations. In a laboratory experiment, bargaining dyads played the roles of manufacturers negotiating a four-issue, three-year purchase agreement for an engine subcomponent in conditions of high and low conflict of interest. The results of the study showed that NSS support did help bargainers achieve higher joint outcomes and more balanced contracts, but that the NSS support increased negotiation time. Satisfaction was greater for NSS dyads in both conflict levels, and perceived negative climate was reduced in low conflict.

One primary implication of the results of this study is that NSS developers should keep in mind the importance of providing users with a system with interactive qualities which not only enhance the decision-making process but also provide them with a sense of participation in reaching the solution, as was done in this study.

Key Words

empirical research negotiation conflict analysis and resolution negotiation support systems computer intervention 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abbas Foroughi
    • 1
  • William C. Perkins
    • 2
  • M. Tawfik Jelassi
    • 3
  1. 1.School of BusinessUniversity of Southern IndianaEvansville
  2. 2.Decision and Information Systems Department, Graduate School of BusinessIndiana UniversityBloomington
  3. 3.Technology Management AreaINSEADFontainebleauFrance

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