Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation

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A wide variety of negotiations take place in the private sector or involve commercial enterprises. These range from relatively straightforward but high stakes contract negotiations between suppliers and distributors to complex multiparty negotiations between government, industry and other interest groups after environmental disasters. By honing their skills and more effectively engaging in negotiations, firms can positively influence their bottom lines. Likewise, government officials and other stakeholders will do better if they understand how to negotiate when private firms are involved.

The range of role-play exercises available through the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) reflects the full breadth and depth of business and commercial negotiations. In Terminal Lighting Problems a contractor and Airport Authority engineer meet to negotiate a solution to a delay in the arrival of light fixtures. In GE International Contract, a senior manager and computer consulting company attempt to reach agreement on the price of a project and salvage a deal. Commercial negotiations do not always involve large firms. In 67 Fish Pond Lane, a homeowner and potential buyer attempt to reach an amicable agreement on the sale of the house. Harborco is an example of a multiparty exercise involving both the private and public sectors. The governor and representatives of five stakeholder groups, including other ports, the Environmental League and unions, must negotiate whether or not and under what conditions a consortium may build a new port.

Several videos on negotiating business and commercial disputes are also available through the TNRC. Some, like The HackerStar Negotiation, depict simulated negotiations. Others, like those in the Negotiation Pedagogy Video Series are presentations by respected experts in the field. Books available through the TNRC range from management guidebooks like Built to Win: Creating a World-Class Negotiating Organization to broader commentaries like The Mutual Gains Enterprise.

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Role Simulations

Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

67 Fish Pond Lane

Elizabeth Gray, Mark Gordon and Bruce Patton
Two-party distributive and potentially integrative negotiation between principals over the sale of a house
Role Simulation
Corporate Decision-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Ad Sales, Inc.

Lawrence Susskind
Six-party, multi-issue contract negotiation between management and union members of a publishing firm
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Aerospace InvestmentBalancing Venture and Relationship Capital

Nicholas Sabin
Two-party term sheet negotiation between a venture capitalist and the founder of an aerospace start-up company in which participants are scored both on their substantive performance and on the other party's perception of the relationship
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Akron Steel

Allison Berland
A non-team, multi-issue, non-scorable exercise that gives participants an opportunity to map a conflict at the workplace.
Role Simulation
The Consensus Building Institute
Six-party nonscorable negotiation among nonprofit, business, and community representatives regarding the most appropriate methods for fund raising and distributions
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Alplaus Supply Company

Duncan MacLaren
Two-party negotiation between a company field representative and a large corporate customer over a possible product return
Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

Amending Approval for the Storyville Pulp and Paper Mill

Consensus Building Institute and Alberta Environmental Appeal Board
Mediation of a three-party dispute among a paper mill, a community group, and an environmental regulatory agency over the paper mill's air pollution permit
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Ancolet Corp. v. Elson Realty Trust

JAMS/Endispute
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Appleton vs. Baker

Lawrence Susskind
Two-party, single-issue distributive negotiation between principals regarding a potential real estate sale
Role Simulation
Labor Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Axis Affair

Anita Ramasastry and Erin Monaghan
Two-party negotiation between attorneys for a male executive and a recently terminated female employee regarding allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Bakra Beverage

Dan Vogel, under the supervision of Robert Bordone and Gillien Todd
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Bankruptcy Multiparty Negotiation Simulation

James Emerson with Ben Longoria, under the supervision of Professors Robert Mnookin and Lawrence Susskind
This exercise is a six-party simulation of multiparty negotiations in a bankruptcy (reorganization) and mass torts context. The simulation represents a ...
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Bentley Convertible

Roger Fisher and Bruce Patton
Two-party distributive negotiation over the sale of a rare automobile
Role Simulation
Cross-Cultural Negotiation Role-Play:

Big Pipeline in Swagwit

Kelly Davenport, Pat Field and Lawrence Susskind
Two-party, two-issue integrative negotiation between representatives of a construction company and a Native American group regarding allocation of construction jobs
Role Simulation
Consumer Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Blender, The

Bruce Patton
Two-party, single-issue negotiation between a customer and a department store clerk about the return of a defective blender
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

BMP Policy Meeting

Paddy Moore, Hal Movius, and Lawrence Susskind
Five-party, four-issue internal negotiation among employees of a major engine manufacturer to agree on procurement guidelines in preparation for external negotiations with suppliers
Role Simulation
Catherine Preston and Lawrence Susskind
Five-issue negotiation between three factory representatives and three Federal Environmental Agency representatives over the factory's new operational agreement, in the context of harsh public criticism of both parties
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Book Contract, The

Two-party, single-issue distributive negotiation between a publisher and a literary agent over the advance payment for the agent's unpublished but very promising client
Role Simulation
Two-party, single-issue distributive negotiation over a linkage payment that a developer must make to a city government; includes ethical issues
Role Simulation
Corporate Decision-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Browning Brothers Search

Jeswald W. Salacuse
Five- to six-person negotiation between search committee members asked to reach consensus on characteristics needed for a new leader to right a financial company in crisis
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Bullard Houses

Ron Karp, David Gold and Mox Tan
Two-party, multi-issue real estate negotiation between representatives for a buyer and seller, where BATNAs are important
Role Simulation
Corporate Decision-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Bunyon Brothers

Mark Gordon, Elizabeth Gray, and Bruce Patton
Three-party, multi-issue internal corporate negotiation in preparation for external negotiation with community representatives
Role Simulation
Media / Communications Negotiation Role-Play:

Camilia Pictures

Robyn Cali and Robert C. Bordone
Two-party, multi-issue, potentially integrative settlement negotiation between lawyers for a large entertainment conglomerate and its wholly-owned film production company over the rights to a new documentary film and the clients' future relationship
Role Simulation
Cross-Cultural Negotiation Role-Play:

Canada-China Panda Acquisition Negotiation

Stephen Weiss
Two-team (6 person), multi-issue contract negotiation between Canadian zoo CEOs and representatives of Chinese organization responsible for giant panda loans
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Cape Development Case

Two-party real estate negotiation between a developer and a representative of the owner of a parcel surrounded by the developer's land, over the future of both parcels
Role Simulation
Regulation Negotiation Role-Play:

Carson Extension

Holly Goo and Lawrence Susskind
Six-party, three-issue negotiation among a landowner and representatives of an engineering firm, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, town council, and environmental interests over cost and timing of removal of an unauthorized extension of property into a river
Role Simulation
Public Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Carson Extension - Mediated Version

Holly Goo and Lawrence Susskind
Seven-person, three-issue mediation among a landowner and representatives of an engineering firm, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, town council, and environmental interests over cost and timing of removal of an unauthorized extension of property into a river
Role Simulation
Corporate Decision-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Casino

Sheila Heen, Scott Peppet and John Richardson
Two-party intra-organizational discussion between a newly-promoted manager and her division vice-president over work performance, responsibility for a new computer game project, and office environment issues
Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

Chemco, Inc.

Wendy Pabich and Lawrence Susskind
Six-person, five-issue negotiation between three industrial factory representatives and three environmental agency representatives over environmental and economic concerns in the wake of damaging negative publicity for both parties
Role Simulation
Public Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Chestnut Drive

Bruce Patton and Mark Gordon
Six-party, multi-issue, intra-group negotiation among neighbors in preparation for an external negotiation regarding a local construction project
Role Simulation
Community Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Chestnut Village

Thomas Wiegand
Multi-party, multi-issue negotiation between 3-4 construction company representatives and 5-6 neighborhood representatives over safety and nuisance complaints regarding a local construction project; internal team meetings precede external negotiations
Role Simulation
Technology Negotiation Role-Play:

Chiptech

Deborah Kolb
Two-party negotiation between a company's chief financial officer and the head of the human resources department regarding the budget for the department's reorganization
Role Simulation
Health / Medicine / Pharmaceutical Negotiation Role-Play:

Clarke v. California Insurance Co., et al.

Harvard Negotiation Project and Hastings College of Law
Two-party distributive negotiation between counsel for an insurance company and the insured regarding a disability benefits settlement
Role Simulation
Lawrence Susskind, Charles Hecksher, and Elaine Landry
Two-team, multi-issue collective bargaining contract negotiation between three union representatives and three management representatives for a telephone company; includes an internal team meeting before external negotiations
Role Simulation
Organizational Development / Change Negotiation Role-Play:

Colortek Job

Deborah Kolb
Two-party, multi-issue integrative negotiation between a corporate VP and a prospective employee over salary and other terms of hire
Role Simulation
Global Treaty-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Computer Waste Policy Simulation

Lawrence Susskind
Ten-party, multi-issue chaired policy dialogue among government, environmental, and industry representatives in the fictional nation of Sweland over reform of the country's waste policies, in effort to gain membership in the "European Trade Area"
Role Simulation
Community Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Construction in Bunyonville

Bruce Patton
Six-person, multi-issue mediation between two construction company representatives and two neighborhood residents over a construction project's safety and noise issues; mediated by two representatives of the bank financing the construction
Role Simulation
Corporate Decision-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Contract Negotiations in the Building Trades

Lawrence Susskind
Nine-party, multi-issue contract negotiation among three coalitions involved in the building trades; includes internal coalition meetings before the external negotiations
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Costless Warehouse

Joe Voyticky
Four- or five-person negotiation to settle an employee's claim of discriminatory firing and employer's claim of illegal conduct; negotiators represent each party, with optional fifth role who knows confidential details of each party's case
Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

DEC v. Riverside

David Lax, James Sebenius, Lawrence Susskind, and Thomas Weeks
Two-party, multi-issue, scoreable negotiation between a manufacturer and a state environmental agency to reach a settlement over the manufacturer's pollution of a local river
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Deke Slims' Silver Dollars

Ron Karp and Bruce Patton
Three-person distributive exercise consisting of two separate two-party negotiations between the representative of an estate and two separate coin dealers over the price of a silver coin collection large enough to affect the silver market
Role Simulation
Public Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Development Dispute at Menehune Bay

Lawrence Susskind, Thomas Dinell, and Vicki Shook
Six-party, multi-issue, facilitated negotiation of a dispute over environmental issues, native rights, and commercial development interests in Hawaii
Role Simulation
John Forester
Two-party, three-issue, scoreable negotiation between a developer and a city planner over the design, process, and affordability of a proposed housing development
Role Simulation
Public Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Development on Bay Island

Rafael Montalvo and Bruce Stiftel
Two-party distributive negotiation between a developer and a city representative over the amount of money the developer will pay the city to defray costs associated with development
Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

DirtyStuff I

Lawrence Susskind
Five-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among industry, environmental, labor, and government representatives to develop single-text regulation of toxic industrial by-product
Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

DirtyStuff II

Jeffrey Litwak and Lawrence Susskind
Six-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among industry, environmental, consumer/community, labor, and government representatives to develop single-text regulation of toxic industrial by-product
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Discount Marketplace and Hawkins Development

Lawrence Bacow
Two-party negotiation between a shopping center developer and a prospective anchor tenant over the terms of the proposed lease's "use, assignment, and subletting" clause

Case Studies & Articles

Gina Coplon-Newfield

This case study provides an intimate view into the fierce battle among major US nonprofit environmental groups, Members of Congress, and industry over energy policy in 2007. The resulting law slashed pollution by raising car efficiency regulations for the first time in three decades. For negotiators and advocates, this case provides important lessons about cultivating champions, neutralizing opponents, organizing the masses, and using the right message at the right time.

Books

original
Book

Daniel Bowling & David Hoffman

"Rich insights and diverse perspectives, valuable for novices and experienced practitioners alike." - William Ury

Video and Audio

Videos and Audio
Produced by Larry Susskind and Warren Dent
The Program On Negotiation at Harvard Law School invited three members of its highly experienced negotiation faculty to share stories about how they have adapted their teaching strategies in various cross-cultural contexts.

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