a new book (in German) is available about simulation of computer
mediated asynchronous negotiations in work groups: "SAM - Untersuchung
von Aushandlungen in Gruppen mittels Agentensimulation."
Abstract see below.
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
Programmgruppe Systemforschung und Technologische Entwicklung (STE)
Tel.: ++49 (2461) 61-3585
Fax: ++49 (2461) 61-2540
Lepperhoff N (2002), SAM - Untersuchung von Aushandlungen in Gruppen
mittels Agentensimulation. Jülich: Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH.
The present study pursues three goals. First of all, it intends to show
how a simulation-based analysis can be used to investigate the basic
principles of groupware and process design. An example is given by
Herrmann's  negotiation principle (HAP), the analysis of which
represents the second goal of this study. Attention is focused on
incorporating HAP into the group interaction process and on the
resulting interactions. HAP is a design principle for groupware
applications intended to support asynchronous, computer-mediated
negotiations. As the third goal, an investigation is made of the extent
to which a genetic algorithm facilitates the close examination of large
HAP is analysed with a multiagent system, SAM, specially developed for
this purpose. SAM is based on various sociological theories and
empirical observations. SAM permits an extensive configurability of the
model in order to be able to simulate different groups and situations.
The scientific value of this work is to be found in the gain in
knowledge concerning group behaviour in the HAP context. Using the
automated experimenter this work shows that no general conditions exist,
which determine successful or unsuccessful groups. The success depends
on specific settings of personal attributes und the group structure.
SAM, moreover, represents an independent, formal scientific theory of
the behaviour of groups in negotiations and may serve as a starting
point for further development into a general theory of group behaviour.
Furthermore, new methods and software tools were developed in order to
investigate HAP. The newly developed methods, the BDI-RC agent
architecture and the automatic experimenter, and also the simulation
software for SAM represent methodological progress. Using a genetic
algorithm, the automatic experimenter searches the parameter space for
parameter constellations leading to the desired group behaviour.
The method of using computer simulations to investigate design
principles for software and processes has proved to be viable on the
whole because systematic parameter studies are possible without any
disturbing influences and because influences difficult to observe
empirically, such as the persons' ideas, can thus be studied. It is
therefore possible to gather insights prior to an actual implementation.
Expensive practical tests can be tailored to elements and situations
identified as critical.