Progress report: Labour/Management
March 2003 - December 2003
E. Thiessen, ICAN Systems
Inc.; A. Soberg, Trinity Western University
University of Hawaii; J. Etezadi, Concordia
University; S. Koszegi, University of Vienna; G. Kersten, University
H. Lai , National Sun Yat-sen University; M.
R. Vetschera, University of Vienna; Y. Yuan, McMaster University
P. Law, Concordia University;
A. Stewart, N. Arney , J. Neufeld, C. Boynton,
Trinity Western University
Project 5 began in March 2003. The focus of this project is to study the potential
impact of electronic negotiation systems (ENSs) on the process and the outcomes
of union-management negotiations. One of the variables we will study is the degree
of analytical support provided by the ENS. To fulfill this requirement, we have
selected three ENSs for a series of simulations and experiments, SmartSettle
(with analytical support), Inspire (with analytical support), and WebNS (without
analytical support). The project will also study the effects of negotiator's
characteristics (e.g., power, education, gender, and approach to problem solving)
on the negotiated outcomes when using ENSs.
Data for this project will be gathered by using
the selected ENS in each of the following three union-management negotiation
- Simulations using university students participating in
(an international competition will be established).
- Simulations using members of unions and management teams.
- Real-life cases using members of union and management teams.
The primary activities of this project were the preparation
for, and the conduct of, an e-negotiation tournament. The tournament
preparation required the following specific activities: :
- A practice
case was developed to test the participating systems and for
user training purposes.
- A negotiation case was developed and tested. The case
involves a situation where a teachers' union and a School Board need
to negotiate 7 outstanding issues to finalize a collective agreement.
The case has three components: general background
which all participants were able to see; confidential information for the union,
which included direction on the preferences of the union; and confidential information
for the management team, which included direction on the preferences of the
management. The case confidential information is only available to the research
team and the evaluators.
- A training
manual was developed for use by all of the participants. This manual
gives an introduction to negotiations and union-management collective
bargaining. It also gives a brief introduction to electronic negotiations
and introduces the tournament participants to the outline of the tournament.
- A pre-negotiation
questionnaire was designed to gather demographic information
on the participants and to identify the participants' perceptions
of their negotiating style and any concerns they might have prior
to the negotiations.
- A post-negotiation
questionnaire was designed to gather information on the experience
of the participants throughout the negotiations.
ENSs participating in the tournament:
Organization of the tournament involved:
- The design and launch of comprehensive
website www.enegotiation.org in
cooperation with ICODR and
ICAN Systems Inc. The purpose of this site is providing information
the tournament, encourage visitors to participate in a competition,
and to manage the competitions.
- The selection and assessment of the participating ENSs.
The number of ENSs used in the
was increased from three
as initially planned to six
systems in the November competion.
Five systems were provided by the members of the E-negotiation Program
A commercial systems MeetingOne system, was also a participant
in the tournament.
Three systems, i.e., MeetingOne , SimpleNS and WebNS provide the communication
platform and support for the organization and structuring of the process.
In addition to the above, three systems, i.e., Inspire, SmartSettle and Negoisst, provide analytical support.
- In the November 2003 competition, 262 students from 17 countries participated in 64 negotiations.
- An enhanced research design is being developed that incorporates the data from the first competition
and will give direction to future competitions in 2004. The results of the data collected from the
e-negotiation competitions conducted in November 2003 and January/February 2004 will be compiled
and analyzed; several publications and presentations will be developed.
- We plan to collaborate with other ENS researchers in enhancing the research design
based on the pilot events held in November 2003 and January 2004. We will then further develop and
promote a recurring competition that will continue to yield valuable research data. A specific goal
is to determine how to measure the potential benefits of analytical support and then to learn how
significant those benefits might be. We will encourage the participation of a wide range of different
ENSs in order to measure the differences in effectiveness with different approaches.
We expect the quality and value of collected data to improve as the event becomes larger and eventually
evolves toward a more realistic representation of real-life collective bargaining negotiations and in
business negotiations in general.
Soberg, A., "The impact of culture on styles of negotiation
when using an ENS."
Soberg, A., "The change in negotiation style when using
Soberg, A. and E. Thiessen, "The potential for
using an ENS in collective bargaining"
Soberg, A. “How different cultures view the roles of union and management
in collective bargaining.”
The Center for Information Technology
and Dispute Resolution
at the University of Massachusetts, hosts the ICODR (International
Competition for Dispute Resolution) http://www.odr.info/icodr.php ,
an annual competition for law schools that was held at Cyberweek http://www.odr.info/cyberweek.php in
2001 and 2002. They co-sponsored the two e-negotiation competitions
that were part of Project 5.
a complete range of on-demand Web conferencing services. MeetingOne
was one of the 6 e-negotiation systems used in the competition. The organization
subsidized the cost of the use of their system and any long distance
phone charges incurred in preparation for and during the competition.
- A second competition is
being held in January 2004 to gather further data on the use of ENS in Labour-Management
- In the fall of 2004 a professional competition is being planned;
this will involve the use of ENS by professional union and management negotiators
in a simulated collective bargaining exercise.