HuCom10 - Second International Working Conference on Human Factors and Computational Models in Negotiation (2010)

Human Factors and Computational Models in Negotiation

June 21-23, 2010

     Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands

Invited Speakers

Speaker: Gert Jan Hofstede,

Title: Modelling negotiating Homo biologicus

Abstract: Why do the Dutch tend to avoid doing business with family members whereas in many Middle-Eastern countries, non-family members are avoided? Why did the Chinese develop the saying "If you keep an American waiting long enough, he'll sign anything'? This is because negotiators are human, and humans differ from one another, both as individuals and per group.

Agent-based models are well suited for modelling the autonomous behaviour of human actors that interact in complex systems. But what makes such actors tick? We go back to basics. Emotion psychologists may speak of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, or Frijda's overview of emotions. Personality psychologists may mention the Big Five model of McCrae and Costa. Culture-aware social psychologists could come along with one of the comparative culture models that are widely used. Economists may speak of goals and utility functions, and of rational behaviours. Evolutionary biologists may draw in the propagation of behaviours, or even of institutions, through selection. In short there are many options. What is more, all of them have value. But neither of them captures the fullness of human behaviour. And negotiating is more than just evaluating bids according to a utility function; it is full human behaviour including strong emotions.

This talk presents a comprehensive conceptual model of human behaviour that has the ambition to describe the behaviour of full human beings, nicknamed Homo biologicus, by taking elements of a number of the perspectives mentioned above. It should be usable as a reference model, to adapt and to pick elements from depending on the needs of a particular simulation.

The presentation elaborates the case of negotiation. Using the model it shows how, apart from the declared goals and incentives of the negotiation, elements that relate to Homo biologicus play a role.

Speaker: Dr. Katia Sycara, Carnegie Mellon University

Title: Negotiation Agents that Consider Cultural Factors: Perspectives and Challenges

Abstract: As business, political and social interactions become more globalized, understanding inter-cultural negotiations becomes increasingly important. In negotiation, the parties' cultural differences are an important factor that affects the process and outcomes. The effects of cultural misunderstanding could range from not achieving good outcomes to having bad outcomes, e.g. breakdown of negotiations when some reasonable agreement would have been possible. Therefore, it is crucial to study and understand the role of cultural factors in negotiation. While there exists a large literature in the social sciences reporting on human inter cultural negotiations, little attention has been paid to the development of computational models of cultural factors that may play an important role in intra cultural negotiations of various cultures and also in inter-cultural negotiations. Such computational agents would be valuable in research and practice in a variety of ways: (a) they could help identify the importance of various cultural factors and their effect on the negotiation outcome and process, since they could be validated against data from human negotiations, (b) they could provide intercultural negotiation decision support, thus helping their users avoid cultural misunderstandings, and (c) they could be used in education and training of intercultural negotiators.

In this talk, I will discuss research in culture and negotiation, and present our own work in the area of creating computational models that consider cultural factors in negotiations, present theoretical and practical challenges .and provide insights.