How Valid Is Negotiation Research Based on Student Sample Groups? New Insights into a Long-Standing Controversy


Uta Herbst is assistant professor of marketing at the Eberhard Karls Universitaet Tuebingen, Tuebingen, Germany. Her e-mail address is

Sabine Schwarz is a doctoral degree candidate in marketing at the Universiteat Stuttgart-Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany. Her e-mail address is


Although a considerable amount of research has examined the impact of experience on negotiation behavior and performance, we still know very little about the usefulness of student samples in negotiation research because most studies have compared the performance of inexperienced students with those who had received some kind of extensive negotiation training or with experienced professional negotiators(s). Against this background, we investigate whether the results obtained from trained student samples are generally similar to those of professional negotiators. Generally, our data confirm our hypotheses that students with some negotiation training and experience perform better than untrained student negotiators and that they are not significantly outperformed by professional negotiators. From this, we conclude that many questions in the field of negotiation research can be effectively tested by using trained students as experimental subjects.