The Impact of Communication Media on Negotiation Outcomes

Jill M. Purdy, University of Washington - Tacoma Campus
Pete Nye, University of Washington - Bothell Campus
P. V. Balakrishnan, University of Washington - Bothell Campus


Our need to understand the impact of communication media on negotiation is growing as technological advances offer negotiators more communication options. As access to technologies such as computer chat and videoconferencing increases, negotiators are choosing to use or to avoid these media without knowing the impact of their choices on negotiations. This research assesses objective and subjective negotiation outcomes, such as profit and outcome satisfaction, across four communication media with varying levels of media richness (face-toface, videoconference, telephone, and computer-mediated communication). A conceptual framework is offered to illustrate how media richness impacts objective and subjective outcomes. Results suggest that media richness affects required bargaining time, outcome satisfaction and the desire for future negotiation interaction. Thus, the communication media for negotiations should be chosen with care.