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Personality Traits and Negotiation Style Effects on Negotiators' Perceptions in a Web-Based Negotiation

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Abstract

This article investigates the relationship between the prior knowledge of someone's personality traits and negotiation styles in negotiations supported by web-based negotiation support system (NSS) and the negotiator's perception of the usefulness of NSS, ease of use of communication mechanisms, and outcome satisfaction. A distributive negotiation problem between dyads was proposed for participants. The dyadic analyses were performed using the actor-partner interdependence model. As a result, the analyses found significant effects of prior knowledge of information about personality traits and negotiation styles on the negotiator's perception (actor effects) of the usefulness and ease of use of communication mechanisms, and an indirect effect on outcome satisfaction. Significant effects were also found in the relationship between the opponents' perceptions (partner effects) on ease of use of communication mechanisms and prior knowledge about personality traits and negotiation styles, as well as their effects on outcome satisfaction.
DOI: 10.4018/JOEUC.2018040101
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Volume 30 • Issue 2 • April-June 2018
Copyright © 2018, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
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
Jadielson Alves de Moura, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
Ana Paula Cabral Seixas Costa, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil

This article investigates the relationship between the prior knowledge of someone’s personality traits
and negotiation styles in negotiations supported by web-based negotiation support system (NSS) and
the negotiator’s perception of the usefulness of NSS, ease of use of communication mechanisms, and
outcome satisfaction. A distributive negotiation problem between dyads was proposed for participants.
The dyadic analyses were performed using the actor-partner interdependence model. As a result,
the analyses found significant effects of prior knowledge of information about personality traits and
negotiation styles on the negotiator’s perception (actor effects) of the usefulness and ease of use of
communication mechanisms, and an indirect effect on outcome satisfaction. Significant effects were
also found in the relationship between the opponents’ perceptions (partner effects) on ease of use of
communication mechanisms and prior knowledge about personality traits and negotiation styles, as
well as their effects on outcome satisfaction.

Communication Mechanisms, Negotiation, Negotiation Style, Negotiators’ Perceptions, Outcome Satisfaction,
Personality Traits, Usefulness System, Web-Based Negotiation Support System

Negotiation is a fundamental form of social interaction in which people mutually allocate scarce
resources (Thompson & Hastie, 1990). Specifically, electronic negotiation is an interactive
communication and decision-making process between at least two individuals using an electronic
system (Bichler et al., 2003; Schoop et al., 2014). The evolution of electronic system concepts has
led to a new approach of the online negotiation tool known as the negotiation support system (NSS),
which provides support of the whole negotiation process based on the virtual environment (Jelassi &
Foroughi, 1989). If the NSS uses the Internet as the electronic medium to support the negotiation, it
is referring to the Web-based NSS or e-negotiation (Kersten & Noronha, 1999; Bichler et al., 2003).
The NSS focuses on conflict resolution support between two or more parties who require an
interactive communication channel to support negotiation processes (Turel & Yuan, 2007; Dannenmann
& Schoop, 2010). Currently, in a business context, most online negotiations are performed without
face-to-face contact, which may prevent hostility and avoid suspicion (Carnevale & Probst, 1997).
However, it does not provide any information about the negotiator’s characteristics or individual
differences, such as personality traits (Yiu & Lee, 2011) and negotiation style (Mintu-Wimsatt, 2002;

Volume 30 • Issue 2 • April-June 2018
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Ogilvie & Kidder, 2008). This kind of information may be relevant to negotiators during negotiation
processes and can influence outcomes (Barry & Friedman, 1998).
Although early studies suggested that individual differences play a minimal role on negotiation
outcomes (Thompson, 1990; Lewicki et al., 1993; Pruitt & Carnevale, 1993), recent studies have
discussed the role of individual differences in negotiations, such as personality traits and negotiation
styles. Sharma et al. (2013) stated that personality traits demonstrate predictive validity over multiple
outcome measures. In addition, Elfenbein et al. (2008) showed the influence of traits on people’s
feelings in negotiations. These and other studies (Elfenbein, 2015; Curhan et al., 2006) argue that
individual differences are an important topic to researchers, educators, organizations, and the public.
Although this topic is relevant, few studies have addressed these issues in the negotiation area.
This opens a wide range of possibilities for new studies devoted to investigating the role of individual
differences (e.g., personality traits and negotiation styles) in a negotiation context, specifically in online
negotiation. Based on this research need, this study proposes a new investigation of the relationship
between prior knowledge of personality traits and negotiation styles and the negotiator’s perceptions
of negotiations supported by a web-based NSS. These perceptions are related to the usefulness of
NSS, ease of use of communication mechanisms, and outcome satisfaction. Furthermore, this study
also investigates the mutual influences between negotiators during a negotiation and their effects on
the negotiators’ perceptions.
Moreover, this study aims to show a new perspective of the individual differences (i.e., personality
traits and negotiation styles) in the negotiation process supported by the NSS. Specifically, the role
of previous knowledge of personality traits and negotiation styles on the negotiator’s perceptions in
negotiations that are supported by a web-based NSS are explored. In addition, it considers the mutual
influences that exist in the negotiation process.
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
Online negotiations are based on electronic systems and using a web environment to promote a
communication channel among negotiators in real time, anywhere in the world. This communication
channel provides informational tools to enable the offer/counteroffer formulation and exchange, often
asynchronously, between two or more parties to reach an agreement (Bichler et al., 2003). Usually,
this process does not include face-to-face interaction between the negotiators during the negotiation
process, which reduces verbal, social, and behavioral cues (Jelassi & Foroughi, 1989). The lack of
face-to-face interaction makes it difficult for individuals to directly observe and monitor each other’s
behavior (Hill et al., 2009). This is the main criticism of negotiations supported by online tools such
as NSS.
Usually, the NSS environment not provides multimedia resources for negotiators, such as audio
and video, to minimize the lack of face-to-face communication. Thus, it can hinder comprehension
of the other characteristics in the negotiation process. Early studies (Pruitt & Carnevale, 1993; Neale
& Bazerman, 1992) have shown that comprehending individual characteristics (i.e., personality traits
and negotiation style) plays an important role during the negotiation process. Therefore, it’s important
to understand and measure the personality and individual differences in order to collect information
to make an accurate judgment of the negotiation situation (Thompson, 1990).
In early research, Barry and Friedman (1998) conducted two studies to examine the role of
individual differences in negotiations, and they concluded that the relative impact of individual
characteristics occurs during the negotiation. Along this line, Korobkin (2000) stated that to reach
a beneficial agreement requires not only a plethora of analytical and communication skills, but also
the ability to deploy them in different ways, depending on the context of the negotiation and the
personality of the opposite party. It can affect the negotiator’s perception during and at the end of
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