Who is best at mediating a social conflict? Comparing robots, screens and humans

Daniel Druckman*, Lin Adrian, Malene Flensborg Damholdt, Michael Filzmoser, Sabine T. Koszegi, Johanna Seibt, Christina Vestergaard

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

The impacts of various mediation platforms on negotiation outcomes and perceptions are compared in this article. The mediator platforms contrasted were a (teleoperated) Telenoid robot, a human, and a computer screen. All of these platforms used the same script for process diagnosis, analysis, and advice on how to resolve an impasse in a simulated high-tech company de-merger negotiation. A fourth experimental condition consisted of a no-mediation control. More agreements and more integrative agreements were attained by the robotic platform than by the other types of mediator platforms and the control. Mediation via the Telenoid robot also produced more non-structured agreements, which consisted of decisions made outside of the scenario options. Negotiators in this condition had more positive perceptions of the mediation experience, were more satisfied with the outcome, and thought that the mediator's advice was more useful. Indirect analyses showed that the outcomes mediated the effects of the conditions on perceived satisfaction. Implications of the findings are discussed in terms of responses to novelty, which include creative and divergent modes of thinking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-426
Number of pages32
JournalGroup Decision and Negotiation
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • Divergent thinking
  • Electronic mediation
  • Integrative agreements
  • Novelty
  • Representative negotiations
  • Telenoid robots

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