International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution

Article

How Online Negotiation Support Systems Empower People to Engage in Mediation

The Provision of Important Trade-off Advice

Keywords ODR programs, empowerment, online negotiation support systems, technology
Authors Emilia Bellucci en John Zeleznikow
Author's information

341043 Emilia Bellucci
Emilia Bellucci is senior lecturere in the Department of Information Systems and Business Analytics, Deakin University, Deakin Business School, Geelong, Australia.

341046 John Zeleznikow
John Zeleznikow is a professor in College of Business, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia.
  • Abstract

      Face-to-face negotiation is the preferred communication style for negotiation, as it is the richest form of communication (Daft & Lengel, 1986), allowing for words, gestures and body language to be clearly communicated. This form of communication also allows for instant feedback, essential in negotiation when it is imperative to check understanding of each other’s views and priorities. Bodtker and Jameson (2001) argue that experiencing emotion is one way we recognize conflict. Invariably, dispute resolution involves emotion, which if allowed to flood the substantive issues, otherwise known as emotional flooding, may result in disputants incapable of acting rationally (Jones & Bodtker, 2001), which may lead to unfair solutions. For example, in high-stress negotiations of family disputes, it may be difficult to think rationally about both the disputants and children’s future needs. This may lead to people having to live with a less-than-ideal financial situation that is not representative of their future needs. Online dispute resolution (ODR) systems involve the use of technology to aid (or in some instances to replace) human communication in the dispute resolution process. This means replacing a very rich form of communication with a lower form of media, with the lowest being text-based forms of communication. ODR using video-conferencing technology benefits disputants located in different areas, hence providing a good medium for those who geographically cannot meet in person. While also a fairly rich mode of communication, this type of technology is heavily dependent on infrastructure variables, such as Internet speed, application support and connectivity issues, which are not always available. In this article, we will introduce the concept of how ODR can support face-to-face negotiations by re-introducing our software AssetDivider as a method to support the face-to-face process in negotiation.

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