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Sarah Ogilvie

Negotiation Role-Play Task

The experimental test was a multi-issue simulated job contract negotiation (refer to Olekalns & Smith, 2000, for an example). A multi-issue negotiation task was selected to maximise the range of bargaining behaviours that negotiators could display. The task required that negotiators adopt the role of either a job recruiter or a job applicant and to negotiate several issues, such as pay and job location, contained within an employment contract. Each of the eight issues included five possible outcome options which negotiators could select. The negotiation task was structured such that four of the eight issues were integrative in nature, three were distributive, and one was compatible.

Issues were identified as integrative when outcome options were differentially important to the two negotiators. Differential levels of importance were achieved by assigning point differentially to each of the outcome options across the two roles. By trading off outcomes between two integrative issues, negotiators could create value by expanding the amount of resources available to them. To illustrate, consider the two integrative issues, "location" and "package," as detailed below. In settling upon the middle or the compromise option (3), for each issue, negotiators would yield an individual total of 2,000 points each, with the joint total being the sum of these amounts -- 4,000 points. However, both the individual and joint totals can be increased if negotiators trade off a zero return on their least important issue for a maximum return of 3,200 points on their most important issue. This outcome yields a joint total of 6,400 points. This result occurs when the negotiators select Canberra for the job location and a $10,000 package amount. Where the issue of location attracted more potential points for the recruiter, the issue of salary package was more important to the applicant.

Location Package
Options Option Value Options Option Value
  Recruiter Applicant   Recruiter Applicant
1. Canberra 3,200 000 1. 2,000 800 000
2. Sydney 2,400 200 2. 4,000 600 800
3. Perth 1,600 400 3. 6,000 400 1,600
4. Adelaide 800 600 4. 8,000 200 2,400
5. Brisbane 000 800 5. 10,000 000 3,200

In contrast to the integrative issues, distributive and compatible issues were equally important to each negotiator. Where distributive and compatible issues differed, however, was in the way that points were assigned to the five alternative outcome options. For each distributive issue, the options were structured such that the maximum benefit to one party represented the minimum benefit to the other. The options for compatible issues, on the other hand, were of equal value to each negotiator. In contrast to the variable-sum nature of the integrative issues, distributive issues are fixed-sum issues, wherein negotiators are only able to achieve a joint total that is equivalent to the sum of individual maximum totals. This type of outcome can be illustrated by referring to the distributive issue of "annual leave," as detailed below. If the negotiators decide upon 5 weeks of annual leave, for example, their individual scores are 1,500 and 4,500 respectively and their joint total is 6,000 points. In settling upon any one of the outcome options, the joint total of 6,000 points remains the same.

Annual Leave
Options Option Value
  Recruiter Applicant
1. 2 Weeks 6000 000
2. 3 Weeks 4500 1500
3. 4 Weeks 3000 3000
4. 5 Weeks 1500 4500
5. 6 Weeks 000 6000

One compatible issue was included in the negotiation task, that of "contract length". For this issue, the outcome option of highest value for one party was equal to the highest value for the other party. For the compatible issue, in choosing what appears to be the compromise option of four years, both negotiators fail to realise a more optimal solution. In settling upon six years, negotiators are able to maximise both the individual and joint totals.

Contract Length
Options Option Value
  Recruiter Applicant
1. 2 Years 000 000
2. 3 Years 400 400
3. 4 Years 800 800
4. 5 Years 1200 1200
5. 6 Years 1600 1600

Economic Negotiation Outcomes

One measure of economic outcome was used in the current study. This measure was the joint outcome measure, calculated by summing the points that the two negotiators within a dyad obtained on each of the eight issues.

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