Group Decision and Negotiation

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 285–306 | Cite as

Cultural Dimensions and Prototypical Criteria for Multi-Criteria Decision Support in Electronic Markets: A Comparative Analysis of Two Job Markets

  • Anne-Francoise Rutkowski
  • Bartel Van De Walle


Electronic markets are virtual meeting places where buyers and sellers interact to trade products or services. The main motivation for both buyers and sellers to participate in an electronic market is the desire to maximize their private utility (Bakos 1998). Electronic markets therefore usually provide some form of communication, decision or negotiation aid for buyers and sellers to support their utility maximizing goals. This paper presents a comparative analysis of two electronic job market case studies conducted at a university in Europe (Brussels, Belgium) and in the United States (Newark, New Jersey). At the occasion of the universities’ career fairs, students (n = 392) and local companies (n = 57) were invited to participate in an electronic job market to identify the best job offers (n = 137) and students, respectively. Participants were able to create personalized software agents to aid their search and decision making activities in the market. Every software agent was embedded with a multi-criteria decision support tool to produce a rank ordered list of students or job offers. Preference data gathered from market participants’ use of the multi-criteria decision model allow us to construct relational preference structures using a technique based on the mathematical theory of fuzzy relations (Bandler and Kohout 1980). These preference structures express relationships among the criteria that students and companies have used to identify job offers and companies, respectively. The purpose of the paper is to present the communicative and cultural implications of these relational preference structures. The theories of Hofstede (1983), Hall (1977) and Trompenaars (1993) on cultural dimensions allow us to discuss cultural differences on the choice of prototypical criteria. The paper concludes with implications for the use of electronic markets in the staffing industry and the role of software agents in such job markets.


electronic job markets decision support systems multi-criteria decision analysis fuzzy relational compositions cultural values prototypical criteria social identity theory 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne-Francoise Rutkowski
    • 1
  • Bartel Van De Walle
    • 1
  1. 1.Information Systems and Management DepartmentTilburg UniversityThe Netherlands

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