Public Dispute Negotiation

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Public disputes regularly emerge around issues related to land use, the state of the environment and the crafting of policy. Public disputes are particularly challenging, as they almost always involve multiple parties. In addition to differing interests, parties typically have very different means and degrees of influence over the situation. The agency or department with formal regulatory or management authority must be at the table, but so too should disenfranchised groups that will be significantly impacted by the outcomes. In many cases, the various stakeholder groups are not immediately obvious and some will require technical support to effectively engage.

The Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) offers a range of materials to help mediators, facilitators and negotiators prepare for the peculiarities and special requirements of public dispute in the public policy arena. Many of the role-play exercises available revolve around interactions with regulatory agencies. Some, like Federal Lands Management I, introduce good process design. Others, like Radwaste II, introduce certain dynamics often present in public disputes, including the emergence of coalitions, the interplay between various issues, the role of information and the importance of neutral facilitators.

A variety of videos on the mediation and negotiation of public disputes are also available through the TNRC. Books available offer prescriptions and advice for negotiators engaged in public disputes – like Seven Secrets for Negotiating with Government: How to Deal with Local, State, National, or Foreign Governments and Come Out Ahead – and the mediators trying to support them, like Breaking the Impasse: Consensual Approaches to Resolving Public Disputes.

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Role Simulations

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
Community Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Billboards in Wyethville

Kelly Davenport and Lawrence Susskind
Six-party negotiation among business, municipal, and environmental representatives regarding a potential ban on billboard advertising
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
Melissa Manwaring, under the direction of David Fairman and Stacie Nicole Smith
Six-party, multi-issue negotiation among governmental, organizational, and family stakeholders regarding the implementation of court-ordered racial integration measures in Boston public schools and possible improvements in education and community relations
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
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
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
Community Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Changing Times for the Senior Center in Redwood Hills

Connie Ozawa
Multi-party, multi-issue facilitated negotiation for five or six players representing civic and business leaders and owner of a senior center regarding the expansion of other groups' use of the center
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
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
Technology Negotiation Role-Play:

Consultant, The

Two-party, multi-issue negotiation in which the parties are at an apparent impasse: the most one party can pay is substantially less than the least the other party can accept.
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
Community Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Dioxin - Waste to Energy Game

Denise Madigan, Steve Foster, and Lawrence Susskind
Six-party, multi-issue negotiation among four scientists, a city representative, and an environmentalist to develop the city's solid waste management strategy; also known as: Dioxin: Resource Recovery.
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
Role Simulation
Role-Play:

ENCO

Jeswald W. Salacuse, Arun Venkataraman, and Fritz von Carp

Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

Federal Lands Management IMatching the Process to the Situation

Consensus Building Institute, Montana Consensus Council, and Bureau of Land Management
Facilitated multi-party negotiation over the appropriate decision-making process for a federal land management dispute
Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

Federal Lands Management IINegotiating a Resource Management Dispute

Consensus Building Institute, Montana Consensus Council and Bureau of Land Management
Facilitated multi-party negotiation over the appropriate environmental, commercial, residential, and other uses of federal lands in the Rocky Mountains
Role Simulation
Danya Rumore, Anjali Lohani, and Mubarik Imam
Seven-party, seven-person, multi-issue negotiation game involving a dispute over inter-provincial water allocations. It explores issues of prediction and monitoring, water sharing, and the environmental adequacy of water flows.
Role Simulation
Jeffrey Litwak and Lawrence Susskind
Six-party negotiation among lending institution representatives, community leaders, a contractors' association, and the mayor's office to develop a public relations strategy and solutions to a foreclosure crisis caused by a widespread mortgage scam
Role Simulation
Corporate Decision-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Fishladder Claim

Susan Podziba and Lawrence Susskind
Three-party, two-round internal negotiation among agency officials over whether to litigate or pursue non-binding arbitration to settle a contract claim against a private contractor
Role Simulation
Sarah Hammitt and Jessica Artiles under the direction of Professor Lawrence Susskind
An eight-party, environmentally-focused role-play simulation, Flooding deals with an investment firm that is in the final stages of a multi-year planning process for a large, riverside mixed-use development. FEMA recently updated Evantown’s Flood Insurance Rate Map and the development falls within the 100-year floodplain. In addition, a study by the local university concludes that altered precipitation patterns brought on by climate change will put more and more properties at risk of flooding in the future. Should the firm be allowed to go through with the development? How and to what extent should Evantown take measures to protect itself against flood risks? Who is responsible for paying for whatever adaptation measures are used to protect vulnerable areas?
Role Simulation
Catherine Preston and Lawrence Susskind
Twelve-person, two-round negotiation between six foundation board members and six school board and community leaders over efforts to address racial disparities in academic performance; internal negotiations precede external
Role Simulation
Imam Soliman, under the direction of David Fairman
Seven-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the West Bank city of Hebron to discuss land claims, security, and border control
Role Simulation
Regulation Negotiation Role-Play:

Gadgets, Inc.

Cheri Peele and Lawrence Susskind
Six-party, four-issue negotiation among a company's management and union representatives, environmental groups, and state and federal environmental agencies over fines and adoption of new technology in response to the company's illegal polluting
Role Simulation
Global Treaty-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Global Management of Organochlorines

Lawrence Susskind, Sarah McKearnan, Mike Gordon, Adil Najam, Joshua Secunda, Granville Sewell, Parag Shah and Andrea Strimling
Thirteen-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among eight country representatives, four NGO representatives, and a working group chairperson must draft a treaty aimed at reducing harmful organochlorines; also known as "Chlorine Game"
Role Simulation
Tyler Corson-Rickert and Mónica Oliver under the direction of Professor Lawrence Susskind
This is a seven-party, integrative negotiation between stakeholders in a city over how to implement housing retrofits to enhance resilience to extreme heat in the aftermath of deadly heat waves attributed to climate change.
Role Simulation
International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Hitana Bay Development Simulation

International Programme for the Management of Sustainability, with Lawrence Susskind
Ten-party, multi-issue negotiation among government, development, industry, labor, and preservation interests over port improvements, real-estate development, and environmental protection in a Caribbean island harbor expansion
Role Simulation
Hannah Payne and Genea Foster under the direction of Lawrence Susskind
A seven-party role-play simulation involving a diverse set of stakeholders who must consider the short-term and long-term public health impacts of climate change while assessing the pros and cons of specific (and conflicting) risk management strategies
Role Simulation
Public Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

HumboldtMediating a Regional Development Dispute

Lawrence Susskind
Eight-person, multi-issue mediation among regional government, environmental, development, and business interests regarding environmental and economic tradeoffs and ethical issues in the development of a manufacturing plant
Role Simulation
Jennie Hatch under the supervision of Lawrence Susskind
Six-party, multi-issue negotiation focused on issues of public engagement in hydropower-based energy development
Role Simulation
Science-Intensive Policy Disputes Negotiation Role-Play:

IndopotamiaNegotiating Boundary-Crossing Water Conflicts

Catherine M. Ashcraft under the supervision of Professors Lawrence Susskind and Shafiqul Islam
Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

Jefferson Hazardous Waste Negotiation

Vicki Arroyo and Lawrence Susskind
Eight-party, five-issue negotiation among community, environmental, business, and government interests over the formulation of a statewide hazardous waste siting policy
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Least-Cost Planning Exercise

Clinton Andrews and Lavinia Hall
Six-party, multi-issue mediation among electric utilities, consumer interests, environmentalists, and mediator with technical expertise, over the best way to meet increased demands for electricity
Role Simulation
Public Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Managing Growth in Rockville

Armand Ciccarelli and Lawrence Susskind
Seven-person, multi-issue mediation among business, planning, environmental, and agricultural interests regarding growth management and comprehensive planning
Role Simulation
Labor Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

MAPO – Administration Negotiation

Mark Gordon, Elizabeth Gray, Tim Rieser, and Lynn Gerber
Two-team, multi-issue collective bargaining negotiation between three police union representatives and three municipal representatives over police salaries, benefits, and working conditions
Role Simulation
Rose Foley, under the direction of David Fairman and Laura Keane
Five-party, multi-issue, EU-mediated negotiation between representatives of Catholic and Protestant groups regarding a Protestant marching route through Catholic neighborhoods
Role Simulation
International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Marsh County Case

John Perryman
A set of four simultaneous and potentially interactive multi-party negotiations among locally elected officials, industry representatives, and community leaders regarding a range of economic, educational, environmental, and social issues
Role Simulation
International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

MC Metals

Dan Delisi, under the supervision of Lawrence Susskind and Paul Levy
Six-person integrative negotiation among representatives of manufacturing company, occupational safety agency, union, local fire department, and local technical expert to settle claims of safety violations that allegedly caused two employee deaths
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Mouse Exercise

Geoffrey Fink and Maria Baute Stewart
Seven-party, multi-issue negotiation among a theme-park developer, neighboring mayors, a regional organization, and a national government representative over the development of a proposed theme park; involves coalition-building and cultural issues
Role Simulation
International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Nazi Party of America v. Town of Hokey

Bruce Patton
Two-party highly political negotiation between a lawyer for Nazi convention organizers and a town attorney a permit application for a Nazi Party parade in a Jewish neighborhood
Role Simulation
Public Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Negotiated Development in Redstone

Lawrence Susskind and John Forester
Two-party, two-issue scoreable negotiation between a developer and a neighborhood association representative regarding the development terms of a new condominium project

Books

original
Book

Daniel Bowling & David Hoffman

"Rich insights and diverse perspectives, valuable for novices and experienced practitioners alike." - William Ury
original
Book
By Susan L. Podziba. Civic fusion is when people bond to achieve a common public goal, even as they sustain deep value differences. This book offers proven strategies for moving polarized parties to consensus solutions based on the author's 25 years of mediation experience, including working with pro-life and pro-choice leaders after fatal shootings at women's health clinics, crane industry and union representatives to develop federal worker safety regulations, and citizens of a failed city that reclaimed their democracy by writing a consensus charter.
original
Book

David Hoffman

A mediator's quintessential one-stop guide for tested techniques and sources.

Video and Audio

Videos and Audio

Lawrence Susskind

An educational video for mediators or mediation students regarding mediator responsibility when parties have unequal knowledge, skills or power

Case Studies & Articles

Stephen Weiss and Sarah Tatrallyay

This case study centers on the most challenging task for a negotiator: to reach a satisfactory agreement with a tough counterpart from a position of low power—and to do so in an uncommon context. The case concerns the executive director of a zoo in the U.S. who seeks two giant pandas, an endangered species, from their only source on the planet: China.

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