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Proceedings of the 29th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences- 1996

Principled Negotiation, Evolutionary Systems Design, and Group Support Systems: A SuggestedIntegration of Three Approaches to Improving Negotiations

Dr. L. Floyd Lewis Decision Science Department Western Washington University Bellingham, WA 98225 [email protected]

Dr. Robert S. Spich FMDS Department Western Washington University Bellingham, WA 98225 [email protected] (GSS) as an attempt to move forward in improving negotiations.

Abstract Recently, there has been increasing interest in the application of information processing technologies such as GSS to the field of negotiations. This paper explores the theoretical and practical integration of principled negotiation, the ESD framework, and the MeetingWorks GSS in supporting negotiation processes. Recent developments in negotiation theory and practice have identijed “‘principled negotiation” as an improved way of resolving disputes. Evolutionary Systems Design (ESD) is a widely-used formal modeling j-amework for task-oriented group processes including group decision making, planning, policy making, and negotiation. A4eetingWorks is a comprehensive group support system (GSS) that provides a variety of tools to assist task-oriented groups.

The basic negotiation situation Negotiation is a social process for resolving disputes, dealing with conflicts and managing differences between people. Negotiation is distinct from other methods of dispute resolution in that it commonly involves a face-to-face interaction between the parties in contention under conditions of some stress and duress. Not all meetings, however, can be characterized as a negotiation per se. A meeting is characterized as a negotiation situation when differences in perceptions of the ends (goals) and means (methods/approaches) to the solution of an issue leads to conflict and disputes. A negotiation situation is characterized by the bargaining process which is a complex pattern of singular and joint actions such as requests, exchanges, questioning or challenges that goes through known stages of development.(Gulliver [ 11). The basic observable target behaviors of interest in a negotiation are exchange transactions (offering and taking), evaluation (cognitive and affective), problem-solving, position taking, concession making and compromising, communicating ( talking, gesturing, signaling), face saving and relationship making. These are the range of visible behaviors that are part of the underlying processes of motivation, decision making, communications, perception, and learning. The social sciences literatures have well documented the importance of these fundamental behaviors in the initiation, development and completion of a negotiation (Rubin and Brown [2], Bazerman and Neale [3], Lewicki et al. [4]).

Introduction Negotiations are a critical aspect of modern life. From the board room to the family room, from local courts of justice to international tribunals, thousands of negotiations take place every day. Yet, many people see negotiations as a difIicult and painful process that they would like to avoid. While there are some new approaches, such as principled negotiation, that have been developed to improve the negotiation process, and theoretical frameworks like Evolutionary Systems Design are available to guide in the structuring of negotiation problems, we are still early in our efforts to support negotiations with modern information technologies. This paper discusses the theoretical and practical compatibility of the principled negotiation approach with the ESD framework and the use of computer-based group support systems

1060-3425/96 $5.00 0 1996 IEEE


Proceedings of the 1996 Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-29) 1060-3425/96 $10.00 © 1996 IEEE

Proceedings of the 29th Annual Hawaii International Conference on SystemSciences- 1996 Motivated interdependence is a fundamental reason why people meet in a negotiation. Parties to a negotiation experience some degree of interdependence of needs. Whatever the sources and driving factors, interdependence is founded on needs, real and perceived, such that one or both parties are seen to have something the other party needs to achieve an important goal. In this theoretical scheme then, parties to a negotiation meet to create the conditions and terms under which they can exchange various parts of their puzzles. For these reasons, they need to exchange information, clarifj~ understandings, offer compromises and make commitments -- essentially agree to the terms of the exchange. Motivating needs thus are the fundamental “engine” that drives a negotiation. Without them, there is no reason to meet and negotiate.

one’s negotiation situation brings about uncomfortable reality testing that people do not always like. Fifth and last, people find negotiations difficult because it is intense and difficult work. One has to be attentive at all times, maintain high levels of focus on content as well as process issues, often manage a team which may itself be in conflict, monitor the progress of the discussion, remember key details about standing agreements, be constantly analytical about the problem and the politics of the agreement, put in very long hours, deal with foreign languages, cultures and translators, o.ften be deprived of sleep, food and companionship and have to endure difficult conditions both in the negotiations as well as in living conditions.

Principled negotiation Since negotiation is a human activity, there is great complexity in the subtle and overt behaviors that people exhibit in a negotiation. For these reasons, it is dficult to identify or claim a single method of negotiation to serve all people in all situations. People are too complex and interesting to be subject to such a mechanistic search for the “one best way to negotiate.” Human experience in early industry tried that “best way” optimal management philosophy only to discover that such idealist approaches made no sense (Taylor [7]). People were not like machines, conditions were always changing, and problems were more and more difficult to solve. The same is true for negotiations. There is not “one best way to negotiate.” Halwever, this does not mean that any approach to negotiation is a good as any other, or that the negotiation process cannot be improved. Recent developments in negotiation theory and practice have identified “principled negotiation” as an effective and improved way of resolving disputes (Fisher, Ury and Patton [5], Rusk, [[6]). This approach is based on long ,practitioner experience in the law field and is presented essentially as a substitute for costly litigation methods to resolve disputes. The Fisher, Ury, and Patton book is a product of the Harvard Negotiation Project that is a major source of thinking, practical theorizing, and training in principled negotiation. The simplicity of the model and its parsimonious argume:nt have made it a major new approach to negotiations for a wide variety of negotiation situations. The following commentary is based on the principled negotiation model. Principled negotiation is an approach that rests First, it argues that traditional on three pillars. ways of resolving disputes no longer work well for

Why negotiations are inherently difficult Given the fact that negotiation is learned over a life time of repeated interactions, that it is a ubiquitous process and daily occurrence in most lives, one would think people would become comfortable and skilled at it. Curiously, the author’s dozen year experience teaching negotiations to executives and business students shows the opposite tends to be true. Experiential evidence shows that people report negotiations to be an inherently uncomfortable interaction with others. People tend to experience discomfort, tension, higher levels of stress and often have fearful expectations about the process and outcomes of a negotiation meeting. What this suggests is that people have learned how to negotiate badly. In any case, they often find the processes and its outcome to be dissatisfying experiences. This dissatisfaction is the whole basis on which the principled and ethical negotiation models are based. (Fisher, Ury, and Patton, [5]; Rusk [6]) There are several good reasons for not liking to negotiate. First, the other party, their interests and style may not be known and there may be much ambiguity and uncertainty in the upcoming meeting. Secondly, since negotiation is about resolving differences, conflict is an inherent part of the process. A third issue involves the question of identity and reputation. People’s egos are often tied into a negotiations and they fear losing face , looking “dumb”, losing self-esteem and confidence, or that their reputations will be hurt. A fourth issue that makes negotiation inherently difficult has to do with “reality testing.” Negotiation forces analysis of one’s situation, options, choices and the like. Clarifying


Proceedings of the 1996 Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-29) 1060-3425/96 $10.00 © 1996 IEEE

Proceedings of the 29th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences- 1996 insist on using objective criteria. An elaboration of these four principles follows. Separating the people from the problems rests on the idea that participants have two fundamental interests in a negotiation: the issues or problems that need solving and the relationship between the parties. Often in the bargaining sessions, people make comments, or offer opinions and the like that can be seen as “attacks on a person.” Personal attacks, intentional or not, tend to force people on the defensive and back into positions. The relationship can become entangled with the problems. However maintaining a working relationship is critical to solving the problems. Relationship is the means to the ends of solving the issues of substance. Thus it is important to create and keep a relationship going no matter how difficult the issues are. So the advice is to separate the relationship from the substantive issues and deal directiy with people problems when they arise. The skills for working with this first principle are human relations with a clear understanding of conflict and emotions, the issues of perceptions and the importance of clear unambiguous communications. The second tenet is to focus on interests and not positions. The theory here is that people tend to come to a negotiation with their own working theory of the situation. However, specific goals or positions may only serve immediate needs but do not serve the more fundamental interests that underlie peoples’ goals. Interests are founded in the concern for protecting key principles and values. Desires, concerns, fears, and needs underlie the specific positions parties take. In addition, interests are multiple and not singular. Thus, there are possibilities for finding commonalties as a way to begin bargaining. Principled negotiation maintains that behind opposed positions there often lie shared and compatible interests as well as conflicting one. The challenge is to create a process that allows for the direct discovery and articulation of interests as the basis for the negotiation. The third tenet of inventing options for mutual gain counters the tendency in positional bargaining of seeing only one or a few solutions to problems, that are usually the ones the positional bargainer suggests. The problem of limited options results from several behavioral tendencies: premature judgments before all the information is in; not listening to the full story and reacting to selected issues; beliefs in and searchesfor a single “right” answer; assuming win-lose positions; restricting the sharing of information because of the belief that it leads to a loss of power; believing that the other

people because they are more costly, tiresome, annoying and not leading to good outcomes and serviceable agreements. This is especially true of law where litigation is very costly. The second pillar argues that positional bargaining is the reason that negotiating the traditional way does not work. The traditional “give and take” approach is problematic for several reasons: people tend to lock into self-oriented defensive positions, either “hard’ or “soft,” leaving them less open to reasonable compromise. Because the outcomes are usually win-lose, they set up motives of retribution in return meetings. The resulting agreements are often unsatisfactory because they may be seen as unfair and therefore can be unstable. Positional bargaining is essentially adversarial; the main modes of behavior are pressure and threat oriented. Relationships are seen as more utilitarian and can be sacrificed for bargaining gain. Positional bargaining sends mixed messages about wanting to make agreements yet using approaches that seem to contradict original intentions. The result of positional bargaining then is generally lower levels of satisfaction with the process, structure and outcome of a negotiation. The third and final pillar offers a the way to avoid positional bargaining by a strategy of “changing the game” to a more principled method that is designed to avoid the costs of positional bargaining. The principled approach fundamentally follows an integrative bargaining philosophy that has been identified early in the literature of problem solving (Lewicki et al. [4]; Filley, [S]). It is a rational argument oriented approach that emphasizes reaching agreements on the merits of the arguments presented in bargaining and not by the perceived “rightness” of one’s case. It will yield to arguments that are “meritorious” but not yield to pressure. In this sense it is assertive in style insisting on the use of clear principles to establish the validity of a demand or a concession. Four basic tenets of principled negotiation The principled negotiation method rests on four tenets that aim to “change the game.” These points result from the authors’ experiences with negotiations, and are essentially recommendations that are behavioral in nature. Principled negotiation seeks to modify certain behavioral proclivities of people that lead to positional bargaining. The four tenets of the principled approach are to: (1) separate the people porn the problem; (2) focus on interests and not positions; (3) invent options for mutual gain; and (4)


Proceedings of the 1996 Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-29) 1060-3425/96 $10.00 © 1996 IEEE

Proceedings of the 29th Annual Hawaii International Conferenceon SystemSciences - 1996 party’s problems are “their problems, not ours”; ego issues of wanting and demanding credit for the authorship of ideas (e.g. - if it is not my idea, I am not interested in it). To avoid the problems of limited options that lead to positional bargaining, the principled method suggests that the invention of options should be separated from the act of judging the merits and choosing options. Further, the options should be creatively expanded so that many options are on the table and that single option solutions appear to be limiting and less realistic. Once the options are identified, defined and clarified, they can be reviewed for commonalties where mutual gain can be had. The idea is to create an open atmosphere where the parties are not afraid to break frameworks and old habits in the search for novel, creative and better solutions to issues, The last tenet of insisting on using objective criteria counters the positional bargaining tendency to force and insist on self-serving and willful criteria. The major fear behind all negotiations is the fear of “being taken.” People feel vulnerable and exposed when they have no basis for establishing the legitimacy of the demand or offer of their negotiating partner. If criteria are accepted, individuals become more flexible in accepting different options and creative variations on solutions. Feeling cheated, on the other hand, leads to attitudes and actions that destabilize an agreement. If a person feels taken, they will withdraw from the working relationship because they do not consider the agreement as a legitimate one based on fair criteria. If the criteria are arrived at by an agreed upon process, then neither party will feel cheated and the bargaining process can proceed more smoothly. In the absenceof objective criteria, the negotiation proceeds on the basis of mistrust and willful forcing of issues. Thus the challenge here is to insist on ways of discovering and creating criteria for decision making that are jointly arrived at and are accepted as objective and therefore legitimate. We can see then that principled negotiation is a philosophy and approach to negotiations that is coherent, simple in expression and direct. Its compatibility with ESD and GSS will be seen both in philosophical values and underlying assumptions about effective decision making, as well as in a reasonable application of GSS technology tools to the four tenets.


systems design

Evolutionary systems design (Shakun [9-131) is a modeling framework for policy making as a negotiation process, and negotiation as a policy making process. In Evolutionary SystemsDesign @SD), the viewpoint is taken that fundamentally reality is defined by relations between sets of elements, not simply the sets of elements themselves (Shakun [9], Chapter 1). In ESD, the sets of elements consist of 1) vaZues or broadly stated desires; 2) operational goals, or concrete expressions of these values; 3) decisions, actions, or controls taken to achieve these goals; 4) criteria based on goals for evaluating the effectiveness of decisions; 5) individual preferences defined on criteria; and 6) coalition or group preferences defined on individual preferences. The relationship between these sets of elements can be representeda:stwo evolving hierarchies of relations. The Hierarchy 1 relation is a framework for evolving or defining the general problem in the sense of defining values to be delivered to group members in the form of operational goal variables by exercising control variables. The Hierarchy 2 relation is a framework for finding a solution (the levels or particular values of the control and goal variables) to the evolved general problem at any stage. For a detailed discussion of ESD., see Shakun [9].

Group support systems The 1980’s saw the Idevelopment of computer systems that aimed “to improve the process of group decision making by removing communication barriers, providing techniques for structuring decision analysis, and systematically directing the pattern, timing, or content of discussion” DeSanctis & Gallupe [ 151. While these systems were initially called Group Decision Support Systems (GDSS), many authors are now using the shorter name Group Support Systems (GSS). Jessup and Valacich [16] use the term in the title of their recent book, and define GSS as “ systemsused to support intellectual collaborative work.” Other researchers interested in specifically supporting negotiation processes called their systems Negotiation Support Systems, or NSS. They see NSS as “...a special class of group support systems which emphasize bargaining, consensusseeking and conllict resolution” (Bui, Jelassi, & Shakun [17]). Recently, some authors have begun to argue that while negotiations may have some unique characteristics, all group processescontain elements of cooperation and conflict in varying degrees, and a


Proceedings of the 1996 Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-29) 1060-3425/96 $10.00 © 1996 IEEE

Proceedings of the 29th Annual Hawaii International Conference on SystemSciences- 1996 comprehensive support system must include tools and techniques to support both these elements (Lewis & Shakun [ 181; Lewis & Shakun [19]). This paper argues that one approach to negotiations, principled negotiation, is especially compatible with the use of GSS tools.

several other aspects. In Table 1 below, some common GSS software modules are described, based on the Meeting Works TM package (tool module names are shown in italics). For thorough descriptions of GSS packages,see Bostrom, Watson, & Kinney [20], and Jessup& Valacich [ 161.

GSS software Key GSS Characteristics

While there are significant differences between the available GSS software packages, they also share many key features. They may differ in the specific modules included, the design of the user interface, the ability to create and use meeting agendas or scripts, the relative emphasis on oral discussion, and

In order to understand the impact a GSS may have on a negotiation, it may be helpful to describe a few key attributes that characterize most GSS. These are summarized in Table 2.

Table I: Typical GSS tools Script Writer and Chauffeur

A GSS package needs tools to prepare for and manage meetings. This includes support for defining the meeting procedures (ScriptWriter), and controlling execution of these tools during a meeting, as well as managing information about meeting participants (Chauffeur).


These tools generally allow for simultaneous and anonymous generation of written text. Typically, as participants enter ideas at their workstations and send these through the network to the chauffeur station, the ideas are collected on a list and then displayed at the front of the room through a video projector of some kind.


These tools help a group systematically process raw lists of ideas, typically those created during a Generate step. Each step (discussing and reaching a common understanding of the ideas, editing and rewording ideas, and organizing the ideas by grouping, sequencing, and building levels of analysis) is itself a complex task.


Tool modules typically include voting, selecting, ranking, and rating using various numeric scales. One important feature is the preservation of participant anonymity. While the group will see detailed summaries of the results of an evaluation, the author of any specific rating or comment is not disclosed. This can result in more candid evaluations representing the true feelings of the group members.


There are times when a group needs to systematically examine the interaction of two sets of elements. For example, a group may want to consider the impacts from several alternative policies on a set of stakeholders. This module supports this kind of task.

Analysis: MultipIe Criteria Analysis:

This tool allows the group to evaluate several alternatives at a time using explicit criteria. The participants can individually assign weights to each criterion to indicate their relative importance. Then, each participant rates how well each alternative meets each criterion. The software integrates individual evaluations into master tables and graphs that summarizes the results.


Proceedings of the 1996 Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-29) 1060-3425/96 $10.00 © 1996 IEEE

Proceedings of the 29th Annual Hawaii International Conferenceon SystemSciences- 1996 Table 2: Key characteristics of GSS Problem vs. personal focus:


Meeting structure:

Powerful evaluation tools:

Parallel input:

Documentation of the process:

GSS sessions typically take a problem solving approach to group tasks, rather than focusing on personalities, political power, or social relationships. Activities in a typical GSS session would include generating ideas, editing and organizing lists, exploring relationships between ideas, and evaluating ideas. Virtually all GSS tools include anonymity at various stages in the process. This is especially true for idea generation, and idea evaluation. T:his feature helps separate ideas from the persons who contribute them. While many manual meetings lack any clear structure at all, the use of GSS tools automatically brings some structure to a group process. Th’e use of a GSS approach also tends to encourage a more careful consideration of the d.esignof a meeting, since tools must be chosen, and the relationship between steps defined. GSS software typically includes the ability to rapidly combine evaluation data from the individual participants, and to present summary results in tables and graphs. This allows groups to use complex techniques such as multiple criteria analysis that would not likely be used without the computer support. When entering ideas or evaluations, a GSS will typically allow the participants to all work at the same time, on their own computers. This allows the group to overcome production blocking that occurs when participants must wait for one speaker to finish before another can begin (as occurs in most unsupporhedgroups). A typical GSS tool can quickly print out a variety of reports documenting what has occurred in the meeting. Thus, participants have immediate written records in their own words, rather thankminutes filtered by someoneelse and distributed days or weeks later.

GSS consistency with principled tion

viewpoints and interests in working side-by-side to find a rational solution to a common problem. When relatively high levels of conflict are expected, we have tended to think that these rational problem solving techniques are not as appropriate, but the proponents of principled negotiation tell us that problem solving approachesare highly relevant. The anonymity feature of a GSS can have a strong impact on separating the people from the problem. In a typical ide,a generation session, participants privately enter their ideas at their own workstations. In one common approach, a master group list can be viewed Ion a shared screen at the front of the room (which becomes the “single text” for the discussion). Participants may be told that when they send their ideas to the shared list, they are making a gift of their idea to the group, and it is no longer their sole property. The shared screen creates a sort of neutral zone where parties are encouraged to be “hard on the problem” but by clearly separating ideas from the contributors, negotiators can still be “soft on the people.” It becomes possible to discuss and deal with the ideas on their merits, and greatly reduce the tendency to skew judgments based on knowledge of authorship, and to get involved with personal agendasand conflicts.


Now that we have described principled negotiation, ESD, and GSS separately, we can more directly address the issue of how ESD and GSS is consistent with, and supports principled negotiation. To do this we will refer back to the four major tenets described earlier. Separate the people from the problem There are a number of ways a GSS approach is consistent with separating the people from the problem. Group Support Systems were initially developed to help solve problems and/or make decisions, and are at their core a problem-centered technology in the broadest sense. While it is not impossible that the tools could be used to address issues of personal relationships, virtually all the casespublished to date describe meetings that center on the processing of problem/decision elements -- symptoms, underlying causes, goals, obstacles, solutions, criteria, etc. By agreeing to use a GSS, a group has already opened themselves to take more of a problem solving approach than an adversarial approach. The raison d’etre of a GSS is to assist participants with differing


Proceedings of the 1996 Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-29) 1060-3425/96 $10.00 © 1996 IEEE

Proceedings of the 29th Annual Hawaii International Conferenceon SystemSciences- 1996 used to generate interests by asking the question “why do you want that?” The generate tool could be used to allow the participants to type in their answer to this question for each of the original positions they submitted. This has the effect of making the reasoning structure explicit and open to discussion. Thus, the GSS makes it easier to develop an organized list of interests for each of the parties. In addi-. tion, one of the evaluation tools could be used for participants to indicate the relative importance of their various interests (e.g., “I am strongly interested in maintaining career flexibility, but only mildly interested in achieving recognition from my peers”) .

Fisher, Ury and Patton [5], pg. 32-36) emphasize the importance of clear communications when trying to separate the people from the problem. A GSS allows a group to capture important ideas in writing, rather than depending on oral communications, which may introduce problems of speaking and hearing correctly, and participants “talking over” one another. With the writing approach of a GSS environment, a participant can take the time to carefully edit a statement before submitting it. They have a cooling off period where they can read their idea and ask “do I really mean this” before sending it on to the shared screen. With the use of networked computers, all participants can essentially “talk at once” as they type their ideas. Some GSS software, like MeetingWorks, includes tools that support the joint editing of a list of ideas, which can help clarify and reword the ideas on an initial list. The overall effect may well be to improve the accuracy of communications in the group and increase the chance of reaching an appropriate negotiated settlement. Most GSS developers recommend the use of a trained facilitator to help run sessions. One of the main reasons this person is needed is to handle the “people problems” that occur in group meetings. For example, Clawson, Bostrom, & Anson [21] worked with 50 facilitators to identify critical facilitator behaviors in computer-supported environments such as: . actively builds rapport and relationships . creates an open, positive environment . manages conflict and negative emotion . encouragesand supports multiple perspectives

Invent options for mutual gain For this part of the principled negotiation process, Fisher, Ury, and Patton recommend using various brainstorm techniques ([5], pg. 60-68). Idea generation is one of the things a GSS supports best. While GSS tools make it very easy for a group to quickly develop lists of options, it would be the responsibility of the facilitator to correctly frame the question so that appropriate options were generated, options that do result in mutual gain. This leads to the separation of option creation from the evaluation of options, which is an import principle advocated by Fisher, Ury, and Patton. The anonymity of the generation process, along with the parallel production of ideas, and the automatic recording of ideas are advantages the GSS approach has over a manual brainstorm session. Insist on using objective criteria This is a critical aspect of principled negotiation. Indeed, according to Fisher, Ury, and Patton “the more you bring standards of fairness, efficiency, or scientific merit to bear on your particular problem, the more likely you are to produce a final package that is wise and fair” ([5], pg. 83). The use of objective criteria in selecting solution options in a negotiation resonates especially well with the approach of multiple criteria analysis, which is included in some GSS software as described elsewhere (Lewis & Shalom [IS]). In the this approach, criteria are explicitly defined; in this case based on the parties’ interests identified earlier. The criteria are weighted to indicate relative importance, and then used to evaluate the solution options generated in the previous step. While this can be a complex and cumbersome technique that takes too long in a manual setting, the use of computers and GSS makes it relatively easy and certainly fast. A GSS also provides sophisticated summaries and analysis of re-

Thus, the use of a processfacilitator is fully consistent with the recommendation that in principled negotiation, one should “separate the relationship from the substance; deal directly with the people problem” (Fisher, Ury, and Patton [5], pg. 21). Focus on interests, not positions GSS tools do not in themselves provide a focus on interests rather than positions in negotiations. However, GSS tools can be helpful in achieving this focus by they way they are used. For example, a mediator could use an idea generation tool to ask the parties to list what they hope to gain from the negotiation. The initial answers are likely to consist of detailed positions rather than general principles and interests. The mediator could proceed to discuss the difference between general interests and detailed positions. Then, as recommended by Fisher, Ury, and Patton ([5], pg. 44) the list of positions could be


Proceedings of the 1996 Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-29) 1060-3425/96 $10.00 © 1996 IEEE

Proceedings of the 29th Annual Hawaii International Conferenceon SystemSciences- 1996 sults, making it easy to understand which options are preferred, and why, and where there is agreement and disagreement. The results can serve as a basis for re-structuring the negotiation, and the further invention and/or consolidation of options.

Quality of decision

Besides the overall compatibility of GSS with principled negotiation, there are other important reasons that it may be useful to adopt a GSS approach to negotiations. In 15 years of research on GSS, a number of general benefits have been identified which may also be realized in negotiation sessions. Some of the more significant include the following.

As has been true for other variables, the results are different for field and lab studies. Of sixteen lab studies, most showed no significant difference (ten of the sixteen), while five showed GSS to result in a better decision, and one showed the manual method to result in a better decision. However, in seven out of eight field studies, GSS groups produced better decisions than manual groups, and in the eighth case, there was no significant difference (Pervan [22]). For negotiations to be truly successful, the parties must feel that a good and fair agreement was reached. If GSS can help improve the quality of the decisions, it may be easier to successfully conclude the negotiation.

User satisfaction

Equality of participation

Pervan [22] has summarized the results of 37 lab and field studies that measured user satisfaction. Nineteen out of twenty-one field studies showed user satisfaction to be higher for GSS, and in the other two cases there was no significant difference. In no case was user satisfaction lower for GSS. He found that the results for lab studies were quite mixed. Across the three types of satisfaction, nine out of 16 lab studies showed no difference between user satisfaction for GSS or non-GSS, while four were more positive for GSS and three were less positive. The strong showing in field studies may indicate that negotiators could find greater satisfaction from participating parties if they were able to use GSS tools.

One of the supposed impacts of GSS use is that more of the participants will actually contribute to the meeting, and that it is l~esslikely that the meeting will be dominated by a few members. Of the six studies that compared GSS to manual meetings on this dimension, four reported greater equality of participation in GSS sessions, while two reported no significant difference (Pervan [22]). If parties to a negotiation are to “buy in” to the result, they must feel that their concerns were taken into account. By encouraging more equal participation in the negotiation process, a GSS may improve commitment to the result.

Potential additional benefits of GSS

GSS and evolutionaqy systems design

Meeting effectiveness

The issue of the integration of a theoretical framework like ESD and a GSS like MeetingWorks has been discussed thoroughly in Lewis & Shakun, 1996. To summarize briefly, while a growing body of research now exists indicating that the use of a GSS may help overcome some of the known problems with group decision making, so far there are few examples of GSS’s that implement strong conceptual frameworks. Whib: ESD provides an appropriate theoretical framework for negotiations, a GSS like MeetingWorks can slerve to operationalize the ESD concepts. Without the support of a GSS, it can be complex and time-consuming to follow the ESD framework. Conceptual frameworks that lack support tools to implement their concepts may never be used. On the other hand, using GSS toolkits without guiding frameworks can generate a great deal of activity without addressing the problem or decision in a systematic or effective manner. It is hoped that the combination of conceptual framework and GSS

Pervan [22] summarizes seventeen studies that measured perceived effectiveness, where sixteen studies were in the field and one in the lab. Of these seventeen studies, fifteen reported greater effectivenessfor GSS meetings, while two showed no significant difference. No study reported lower effectiveness for GSS sessions. Again, if negotiatiors are hoping to increase the effectiveness of their sessions, GSS might be a significant help. Meeting efficiency Meeting efficiency is concerned with time and cost savings that might accrue from the use of a GSS. All ten of the studies that measured efficiency concluded that GSS groups were more efficient than non-GSS groups (Pervan [22]). Many negotiations are felt to drag on and take an inordinate amount of time. GSS may help groups get through the negotiation processfaster.


Proceedings of the 1996 Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-29) 1060-3425/96 $10.00 © 1996 IEEE

Proceedings of the 29th Annual Hawaii International Conferenceon SystemSciences- 1996 relationship between values, goal variables, and control variables. This initial focus on values and goal variables in ESD is the equivalent of focusing on interests in principled negotiation. In Hierarchy 2, specific levels are defined for sets of control and goal variables; each such set can be considered a position. It is important to note that these positions are not considered until the construction of Hierarchy 1 has been completed. ESD goes beyond the enumeration of values and goal variables as described in principled negotiation, and looks at their relationship, and well at their further relationship to control variables. So, in the ESD approach, the participants would be asked to define the fundamental values they are trying to. achieve through the negotiation, and then to move on to more specific goals and possible controls that might deliver the values. ESD provides a clearly and completely elaborated framework that can be used to structure the negotiation problem. This has the effect of keeping participants from prematurely locking in on positions, as is advocated in principled negotiation.

may allow groups to use more sophisticated approaches to group problem solving and decision making, without overwhelming the participants with the difficulty and complexity of the process, as might happen with a manual approach. The combination of a theoretical framework like Evolutionary Systems Design and a GSS like MeetingWorks may provide a powerful new approach for improving the quality both of the group process and the final negotiated settlement.

Principled negotiation systems design

and evolutionary

While ESD is a theoretical framework with firm roots in operations research and decision science, principled negotiation is an approach or set of behavioral recommendations based on practitioner experience with actual negotiation situations. However, the two are quite compatible and lead to similar approaches to negotiations despite superficial differences that appear to be primarily semantic in nature. The relationship can be examined by reference to the four components to the principled negotiation approach.

Invent options for mutual gain ESD encourages the invention of options by a process of problem evolution and restructuring. Once the initial set of values, goal variables, and control variables have been identified, heuristics can be used to generate potential solution options. For example, participants can be systematically prompted with questions such as “given the set of values and goals that have already been identified, are there any other control variables that could deliver any of the values?” Another way of generating options would be to focus on the levels of the controls. Participants could produced new options by generating internally consistent sets of control variables with their levels specified.

Separate the people from the problem Both ESD and principled negotiation approach negotiations from a problem solving perspective. ESD provides a conceptual framework that can be used to support negotiation problem evolution and solution. The general approach is to structure the negotiation problem in such a way that is may be possible to find a single solution that has the highest utility for all parties. Where conflict is present, i.e. where no single solution has the highest utility for all parties, ESD advocates techniques for expansion of the goal target and the feasible set of solution alternatives. Clearly, ESD distinguishes the problem from the people and relationships involved, and tends to keep the focus of concern on the problem.

Insist on using objective criteria The use of objective criteria is an explicit part of the ESD framework. More specifically, a multiple criteria decision making (MCDM) approach is advocated for most negotiation situations. Hierarchy 2 includes the definition of criteria and the goals/criteria relationship as an integral part of the ESD process. Even social-emotional aspects of a negotiation can be included in the ESD approach (Faure, Le Dong, and Shakun [23]). The relationships between principled negotiation, evolutionary systems design, and MeetingWorks GSS are summarized in the following table:

Focus on interests and not positions As discussed earlier, interests involve the key principles

and values of the parties

to a negotiation,

including their desires, concerns, fears, and needs. A position is really one possible way to deliver a set of interests to the parties - one possible negotiation solution. Specific positions may seem to serve immediate needs, but do not necessarily serve the more fundamental interests that underlie peoples’goals. In the ESD framework, Hierarchy 1 focuses on representing a negotiation problem in terms of the


Proceedings of the 1996 Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-29) 1060-3425/96 $10.00 © 1996 IEEE

Proceedings of the 29th Annual Hawaii International Conferenceon SystemSciences- 1996 Table 3: Relationship between Principled Negotiation, Evolutionary SystemsDesign, and Group Support Systems PRINCIPLED EVOLUTIONARY Meeting Works GROUP NEGOTIATION SYSTEMS DESIGN , SUPPORT SIlSnMI Separatethe people from the 1 Emphasis on problem struc- Problem-centered