A negotiation strategy is a body of knowledge, usually representable by a set of rules, that allow the agent to carry out a negotiation. The negotiation strategies for an agent are also called its negotiation modes.
After a conflict has been detected and classified, the agent that detected the conflict has to start negotiating, as the initiator, with the conflicting agent, referred to as the partner. In order to do that, it has to select a negotiation strategy. Then, the partner also has to select a strategy.
In the context of SiFAs, since the conflicts an agent can be involved in are very specific, the number of strategies an agent can have for any conflict are also limited. As the number of conflicts an agent can be involved in is also small, the total number of strategies it needs is small as well. Usually a SiFA has a single strategy to deal with a certain conflict, but more than one strategy for a single conflict type is also possible.
If an agent has a single negotiation strategy for the conflict it is in, then the strategy selection task is trivial, there is a one to one match between the conflict and the strategy.
If the agent has more than one strategy for a particular conflict, then it needs a criteria to select its negotiation strategy. This criteria may be the point of view of its partner or the particular value, estimate, evaluation, criticism, or praise that is the the subject of the conflict. Suppose a selector A suggests a value of 5.00 for a parameter, then selector B detects a conflict because the value 5.00 is more than 10% away from what it considered to be the ideal value. Then it can choose its negotiation strategy based on the fact that the value is 10% away from the ideal by using a rule such as ``if the difference is less than 10% use strategy 1 else use strategy 2''.
The partner also needs to select a strategy. The partner can classify the conflict based on the first message it receives from the initiator. This message identifies the initiator, its target, and what the conflict is about. The partner is aware of its own target, so when it receives the first message in the negotiation, it is able to classify the conflict. Then it can select a negotiation strategy in a fashion similar to the initiator.
It is also possible for agents to switch from one negotiation mode to another during the execution of the negotiation strategy, based on the interaction with the other agent. This interaction is in the form of messages the agent receives. This is discussed later in section 6.6.