DOC.COM: a framework for effective negotiation support in electronic marketplaces
Today, research in electronic negotiations focuses on negotiation protocols that support the negotiation of only a few properties. These protocols are mainly designed for automated negotiations between software agents. However, for peer-to-peer negotiations in business-to-business electronic marketplaces, such protocols are less appropriate. For example, negotiations about multiple attributes, complex attribute combinations, or frame contracts require more sophisticated support of the involved interactions and communication acts. In this paper we present a novel approach to the effective support of electronic negotiations among human negotiators. Our approach is based on the following observation. The outcome of a successful negotiation process is a business contract. The contract evolves during the negotiation, coordinated through the exchange of structured messages such as offers, requests, quotations, counteroffers, and acceptances. Therefore, each negotiation between business partners involves the exchanges of documents and messages. Furthermore, documents and messages are interrelated in that a message leads to a new contract version which itself is the medium for a new negotiation step and thus initiates a new message. In contrast to the current practice of separate management of messages and documents, we create a powerful framework for effective negotiation support in electronic marketplaces by combining communication and document management. Our approach enables monitoring of contractual obligations and traceability of both documents and messages and their interrelations.
Computer Networks, Vol. 37, No. 2, (2001), pp 153-170, Elsevier