Technology, and the Problem of the
JANICE NADLER and DONNA SHESTOWSKY
Traditional approaches to research on negotiation do not typically consider the possibility that the type of communication media used by negotiators could be a factor affecting the negotiation itself. Early negotiation researchers had little reason to take note of the communication medium used by negotiators, because face-to-face negotiation was so typical that it was essentially assumed. But in the last two decades, the use of information technologies for general communication has grown exponentially. In fact, among Americans who are employed and have Internet access, 98% use e-mail at work (Fallows, 2002). Current estimates of instant messaging (IM) use indicate that some 53 million American adults use IM (representing 42% of those who have Internet access), and about 11 million American adults use it specifically to communicate at work (Shiu & Lenhart, 2004). Many people who use IM in the workplace report that it improves teamwork and saves time (Shiu & Lenhart,
2004). Outside of work, Internet users report that e-mail exchanges have improved their connections to family members and friends (Fallows, 2004). Thus, the use of information technology is increasinglypervasive both in and outside of the workplace.