Special Issue Article

Taking Action to Reduce Waste: Quantifying Impacts of Model Use in a Multiorganizational Sustainability Negotiation

  • Ellen Czaika
  • Noelle E. Selin


We use a role‐play simulation to examine how using quantitative models influences the process and outcome of sustainability negotiations. Our experimental approach involved 74 teams of five parties negotiating the details of a pilot test to compost and/or recycle used paper coffee cups. Approximately half of these negotiation teams were given a quantitative model—a life cycle assessment (LCA). We measured both negotiation process and outcome variables, in particular identifying favorable agreements—the mutually exclusive set of agreements that either minimized carbon dioxide emissions or maximized the parties’ collective earned value. We found that most teams used a quantitative model; nearly half of those cocreated their own while negotiating. In our sample, teams that used a model, even those cocreating the model while negotiating, reached agreement more quickly than teams not using a model. Teams that cocreated the LCA reached a higher number of favorable agreements. We observed two dominant manners of model use: using the model to test alternatives while developing an agreement and verifying that a tentative agreement would sufficiently reduce carbon dioxide emissions. We conclude that using a quantitative model during a sustainability negotiation can help to increase the chances of obtaining a favorable agreement without lengthening the negotiation duration.

Keywords: model use, expert‐made model, negotiator cocreated model, Life Cycle Assessment Model (LCA), sustainability negotiation

How to Cite:

Czaika, E. & Selin, N., (2016) “Taking Action to Reduce Waste: Quantifying Impacts of Model Use in a Multiorganizational Sustainability Negotiation”, Negotiation and Conflict Management Research 9(3), 237-255. doi: https://doi.org/10.34891/ed4p-8c64

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Published on
28 Jul 2016
Peer Reviewed