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 InterNeg Research Centre
 Suite MB-014-264
 1450 Guy Street
 Montreal, Quebec H3H 0A1
 Tel: (514) 848-2424-2799

InterNeg's History

Major activities and projects

  this was one of the largest projects undertaken at the Centre. It was a collaborative research initiative supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Canada, the Science and Engineering Research Canada, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Germany.
GDN 2007   this site is a summary of the Group Decision and Negotiation Conference 2007.
Research exposition   the Centre was pleased to sponsor this event which took place on Thursday, November 12, 2009. The event showcased the latest research of JMSB's PhD and MSc in administration candidates.


The InterNeg project had its genesis in a series of European conferences on decision and negotiation support that Gregory Kersten and David Cray attended in the summer of 1993. As they listened to presentations by a number of their friends and colleagues from places such as Belgium, France, Finland, Scotland, Israel and South Africa, they noticed that each culture viewed decision making in its own particular way. There were certain underlying assumptions about how people went about making decisions, who would be involved, what a proper time horizon was, how hard one should work to satisfy the other parties, and that these assumptions were built into support systems designed in these countries. Gregory and David began to speculate about the effects of cultural assumptions on the design and operation of support systems. From here it was a short step to consider how using systems based on cultural assumptions might interact with users from other cultures. Would using a support system designed in one culture degrade or alter performance when used in another cultural context?

In August of that year, at a cottage on a lake, they began to discuss how they would investigate these issues. Much to the annoyance of their families who thought vacation was for swimming and picnics, they began to draft a research proposal. Gregory, a professor of decision sciences and information systems in the School of Business at Carleton University, was interested in the system implications of the study. David, an associate professor of organizational behavior and international business at Carleton, was more concerned with how users interact with the systems. They combined their interests in a proposal to the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada which was funded in the spring of 1994.

In order to investigate these issues they needed to involve potential users from many different cultures. One way would be to conduct experiments in different parts of the world using various decision support aids. However, it would have been very time consuming and difficult to collect enough data in this way to do reliable statistical analyses. An alternate approach was to use the Internet and set up negotiations through electronic mail. It would be convenient since users could negotiate whenever they chose. It also meant that anyone with access to the Internet could participate thus enlarging the number of people and the diversity of cultures that could be included. However, negotiating electronically had its own problems because it would be difficult to observe the negotiation process unless the participants cooperated with the researchers. It would also be difficult to provide equivalent features to all participants, which was a crucial part of the research. Then, another group member, Sunil J. Noronha, a postdoctoral research fellow at Carleton University who joined the group in the Fall of 1995, suggested using the Web to conduct these negotiations. However, using the Web posed a number of interesting technical problems because all of the decision support aids were designed to be used on PCs. The decision was made to write a program to support negotiation over the Web. Sunil led and supervised the design team.

The first crude version of this system became operational in March 1996. David wrote some simple cases and the team was soon running test negotiations, first among team members and then with colleagues abroad. The first international negotiation on the InterNeg system was between Peri Iz in Hong Kong and Gregory in Ottawa in April 1996. Other individual negotiations pointed out problems with the system that were then corrected. In July, a group of ESL students (mostly Korean) at Carleton were recruited to negotiate with a group of students from Ottawa in order to check the clarity of the system. The InterNeg version used for this negotiation was Version 1.0.

The first series of negotiations were not very successful, as many of those who began the negotiations did not complete them. This was partly due to external circumstances such as limited access to Netscape over which the team had little control. There were also system problems, especially in the presentation of the pre-negotiation phase that inhibited some users. These problems were corrected and arrangements were made for a second set of groups, including two from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, to negotiate utilizing Version 2 of the InterNeg system. The August negotiations introduced the team to some of the difficulties of international negotiation. Power cuts in India and a lack of computer facilities at the Institute kept the completion rate low. A third round of group negotiations in September was much more successful. With most of the bugs now out of the system, new negotiations are being set up on an ongoing basis. Instructors in courses which feature negotiation or the design of support systems have been especially eager to use InterNeg's capabilities.

In 2003, Gregory Kersten returned to teaching at the John Molson School of Business, Concordia University and InterNeg.concordia. ca was established. This also coincided with the team having successfully obtained funding from SSHRC for the E-negotiation (Electronic negotiations, media and transaction for socio-economic interactions) project. A project manager, Norma Paradis, was hired to help get things organized. In 2004 an application was made to have the Centre officially recognized. The application was successful and in May 2005, the Centre was officially established with Gregory Kersten as the Director and with office space in the JMSB. In spring of 2009, construction of the new JMSB building was completed and the InterNeg centre moved its offices and are now located on the 14th floor.

From 1996 until the present, the system continued to be used by groups from all over. In 2004 an administrative system was developed to assist in managing the negotiations. Inspire 2.0 was officially launched in 2007. Inspire 2.0 was quite different from its prototype. It had more functionality and had an improved user interface. Inspire 2 featured a built in help button that users could use to contact the Invite team directly from the system at any time during the negotiation process. With each improvement came testing and approval prior to putting the system back on line.

In the spring of 2011, two new systems were launched. Imbins, developed for multi-bilateral negotiations and Imaras, developed for multi-attribute auctions.

We welcome everyone to try our Invite systems. In order to find out more, please visit:

Have you been inspired lately?

  September 15, 2019
© Copyright 1996-2019 Gregory Kersten & The InterNeg Group
InterNeg Research Centre, Concordia University (Montreal)