Free University of Berlin (FUB)
University of San Francisco
June 17, 2011
IACM 24th Annual Conference Paper
Ever increasing globe-spanning business activity paired with the wide availability of the internet, even in remote places, has at once provoked and provided suitable communication means (e.g., email) for complex business communication and tasks such as negotiation. Current research cautions against the use of email for negotiation as compared to other media because of the numerous challenges e-negotiators face, but the findings are far from unanimous. This study investigates if negotiators’ attitude toward and facility with email as a communication medium, i.e. their email affinity, influences the negotiation process and results. Three facets of email affinity are theoretically considered and empirically derived: email preference, email comfort and email clarity. In an experimental intercontinental email negotiation exercise where subjects were paired according to their email affinity score, email comfort emerged as a significant predictor of individual profit, joint gain, and different dimensions of subjective value. Theoretical implications and further research are discussed.