Title: Enhancing conflict resolution through an AHP-based methodology

Authors: Maria Assunta Barchiesi; Roberta Costa; Marco Greco

Addresses: Department of Enterprise Engineering, University of Rome 'Tor Vergata', Via del Politecnico 1 – 00133 Rome, Italy ' Department of Enterprise Engineering, University of Rome 'Tor Vergata', Via del Politecnico 1 – 00133 Rome, Italy ' Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, Via G. Di Biasio 43, 03043 Cassino (FR), Italy

Abstract: Opposing interests, bounded rationality and decisional bias may severely hinder conflict resolution. When the commitment for an agreement is high, opponents can resort to the intervention of a third party, such as a mediator. We propose a methodology to enhance conflict resolution, which is based on the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and takes into account the psychological attitudes of the conflicting parties. The AHP Technique for Highly Eligible Negotiation Agreements (ATHENA) supports a third party in selecting, among potential negotiation agreements, those proposals having the best chances to be accepted by adverse parties. We illustrate an implementation of ATHENA that involved 160 students simulating 'Union versus Management' negotiations. A control group of 40 couples negotiated without any decision support system, while the other 40 couples were supported by ATHENA. The results show that the procedure implementation outperformed unsupported negotiation by increasing the number and the fairness of agreements.

Keywords: analytical hierarchy process; AHP; negotiation; conflict resolution; decision making; experimental economics; role playing; decision support systems; DSS; psychology; simulation; third parties; mediators; agreement fairness.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMDM.2014.058471

International Journal of Management and Decision Making, 2014 Vol.13 No.1, pp.17 - 41

Available online: 27 Dec 2013 *

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