Standardized interpolated path analysis as a tool for modeling negotiation processes

  • Prof
    Vetschera, Pr Rudolf
    University of Vienna, Autriche
    Dept. of Business Administration


Negotiation researchers for a long time have argued that empirical research on negotiations should put more emphasis on the study of negotiation processes, rather than directly studying the relationship between context variables and negotiation outcomes. However, there are several obstacles to an empirical analysis of negotiation processes. Negotiations involve multiple interactions between parties, and the time, number, and type of these interactions vary between different negotiations. To enable comparison and statistical analysis across a large number of negotiations therefore requires a consistent and comparable representation of different negotiation processes.

In this paper, we propose such a representation, the standardized interpolated process analysis. This method considers a negotiation process as a continuous process in time, and each interaction, e.g. each offer, is seen as an observation of this process at a certain point in time. By interpolating between these observations, the status of the process at fixed points in time (relative to the duration or starting point of the negotiation) can be approximated. This creates a comparable representation of processes of different negotiations, which can then be aggregated or subject to statistical analysis.

This approach can be applied to various dimensions of the negotiation process. In terms of the substantive issues being negotiated, each offer made by one of the negotiators provides one observation of the process. The process can be described at different levels of aggregation, in terms of values of these issues as well as the utility an offer provides to the negotiator making the offer as well as to the opponent. Both approaches lead to a multi-dimensional representation of the process. The approach can also be applied to content data by referring to the usage of different types of communication acts of the negotiators, or even to other aspects like emotional states of negotiators.

In this paper, we present the conceptual framework underlying the SIPA approach, and the actual way the analysis is performed. We then illustrate the application of this approach using data from e-negotiation experiments. This analysis covers both the offer process and the communication process, and illustrates some exemplary empirical results that can be obtained using the method. In particular, we can show that during later stages of negotiations, parties on average actually destroy rather than create value. Furthermore, the method uncovers a clear relationship between the patterns of emotions and the use of negotiation strategies over time. These results show the broad applicability of the method to different aspects of negotiation processes.


negotiation process, empirical analysis, methodology

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