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    Imbins glossary

    An agreement or compromise is the package (combination of options across all issues) that both negotiators jointly agree upon after exchanging a sequence of offers.

    Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA)
    BATNA is the minimum acceptable value for a negotiated agreement. This value is determined by an individual's knowledge of the negotiated issues and options. Any offer which is higher than BATNA is better than an impasse. During the negotiation process, the compromise comes from the offer which is more attractive than both parties' BATNA.

    History graph
    The exchange of offers and counter-offers can be seen only from one negotiator's perspective. One dimension presents the date/time/round of the offer and the second dimension presents the negotiator's ratings of the offer.

    History graph

    Interpreting offer ratings
    The rating displayed on an offer is computed from the preference ratings you provided in the first part of your negotiation. Remember that your counterpart's rating of a package is unlikely to be the same as yours. Your counterpart never sees the ratings that you see on a package, since what he/she sees is based on his/her initial preference ratings.
    This means that the numerical difference between the ratings of two offers will not be the same as the difference in the ratings seen by your counterpart. For example, a revised offer which lowers the rating of your package by 10 points from your previous offer may only raise your counterpart's rating of that package by 3 points or may even lower your counterpart's rating.

    A topic of discussion that is of particular interest in a negotiation. Each issue has a range of alternatives or options, one of which must ultimately be agreed upon by the negotiators in order to achieve a compromise.

    A kind of trade-off between two or more decision makers: giving favours or making concessions on condition of receiving other favours.

    While the common meaning of the term "negotiation" is well known, a Web based system such as Imbins needs to give it a specific technical meaning because there are multiple users conducting multiple negotiations on possibly the same or different sets of issues in the system, via a common set of Web pages which may be visited in a different order each time. To keep things organized, each "negotiation" is uniquely identified by a negotiation instance, and defined as the complete sequence of interactions between Imbins and a particular set of users (beginning with preparation, continuing through offer exchange, and reaching agreement), on a particular set of issues. Thus, each instance will be different (e.g. the negotiation case or counterpart may not be the same).

    A combination of options (a package) that is sent by one negotiator to the other. In Imbins, an offer consists of a package plus an optional message.

    One of the alternative values that an issue can have. For example, the issue "Tolerable product failure rate" may have the options "3%", "5%" and "10%".

    A particular combination of options that has been selected across all the issues. For example, the combination of Price, Payment and Failure rate (as seen below) is a package.

    Price 3000 $
    Payment Upon delivery
    Failure rate 5%

    This is the first phase of a negotiation. It refers to the initial period (prior to exchange of any offers) when one prepares for the negotiation. Some activities involved in this phase include problem definition, preference elicitation, and evaluation of alternative packages.

    Rating is the core activity of pre-negotiation phase. The purpose of rating is to use numerical expression to clarify a negotiator's preference and utility level of individual negotiation issue, option and package. In Imbins, the user is either provided with or required to specify these three ratings according to personal preference and knowledge. The utility function of an individual negotiator is generated not only from the composition of the issue and option ratings but also from the decomposition of package evaluation. According to the utility function, any adjustment of the package evaluation may lead to variation of utility level of other packages.

    A trade-off is an exchange process in which a decision maker gives up partly on some issues so as to gain on other issues.

    User name
    This is a name used by Imbins to identify a "real user" for the system login. It will not be shown to your counterpart. Once a negotiation is set up, users will be assigned to different roles (i.e. party name) which will be displayed during the negotiation. A user name uniquely identifies one of the two participants in a given Imbins negotiation.

    Utility function
    A utility function is a subjective measurement that expresses the relative value of different packages by using a numerical scale. The numerical scale used is arbitrary. It typically ranges either from 0 to 1 or from 1 to 100. The minimum number expresses the least desirable and least preferred package. The highest number represents the most desirable and preferred package.