Role Simulations

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More than 200 role-play simulations are available through the Program on Negotiation Teaching Negotiation Resource Center. These put participants in hypothetical situations and challenge them to deliberate and make decisions in new and different ways. Role-play simulations foster both individual and collective learning that can be transferred to “real world” situations. They also provide safe and flexible settings for experimentation.

Role-play simulations combine the best of traditional learning exercises, which feature fixed rules that limit the range of possible outcomes, along with role-specific assignments that leave room for creative problem-solving. Learners are given common general instructions that set the stage along with confidential instructions (based on interviews with people who have played those actual roles or something close to them). Role-play simulations are usually followed by debriefings in which participants – with the help of an instructor – reflect on how the exercise progressed, what they learned, and how these lessons relate to or diverge from their real world situations.

Technical information plays an important role in some role-play simulations, but the emphasis is primarily on human interactions. The role-play simulations in the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center are ultimately designed to help learn become better negotiators and become more self-conscious about what they are doing and why.

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Role Simulations

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
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
Corporate Decision-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Binder KadeerConsultation in the Company

Lawrence Susskind, Deborah Kolb, Paddy Moore, Margaret Borne and Peter Shapiro
Three- or four-party consultation by one or two human resources representatives to manage an affirmative action complaint by an employee against his supervisor
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
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
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
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
Corporate Decision-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Collective Bargaining at Central Division

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
Corporate Decision-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Collective Bargaining at Southern Express

Lawrence Susskind and Charles Hecksher
Two-team, multi-issue collective bargaining contract negotiation between three union representatives and three management representatives for a major airline; includes an internal team meeting before external negotiations
Role Simulation
Corporate Decision-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Common Measures

Paddy Moore, Hal Movius, and Lawrence Susskind
Five-party, four-issue negotiation among managers at an aircraft engine company with the goal of improving quality and operations processes
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
Corporate Decision-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Designing an Integrated Account SystemFacilitation in the Company

Deborah Kolb and Lawrence Susskind
Five-person, multi-issue, facilitated negotiation among four managers and a Human Resources facilitator over the design of the company's new account system
Role Simulation
Pat Aaron
Three-person mediated small-claims dispute between a dry cleaning business and a customer over compensation for torn shirts
Role Simulation
Ethics Negotiation Role-Play:

DONS Negotiation

Robert Bordone and Jonathan Cohen, adapted from PONS Negotiation by Nevan Elam and Whitney Fox
Four-person, two-party, two-round between a former couple and their lawyers regarding the knowing transmission of DONS, a fatal disease communicated through sexual intercourse
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
Robert Smith and Ericka Gray
Two-party, multi-issue negotiation between a human resources director and a prospective employee over terms of hire that highlight cultural differences
Role Simulation
International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Managing ChangeThe HR Challenge

Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld
Six-party, multi-issue negotiation among human resource and line managers to create a plan for improving communication and outsourcing recruitment activities
Role Simulation
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
Author(s): Marjorie Corman Aaron and JAMS/Endispute
Four-person mediation and/or arbitration of a personal injury claim, among plaintiff, plaintiff's lawyer, and counsel for defendant's insurance company; arbitrator roles include possible plaintiff or defense bias
Role Simulation
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
Albie Davis and Ericka Gray
Six-party mediation with employees, employer, and legal counsel over the contested result of a sexual harassment grievance procedure
Role Simulation
Seven-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among local government, community, business, and environmental representatives trying to reach agreement on a strategy for managing climate change risks in a small, beachfront community.
Role Simulation
Seven-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among local government, community, business, and environmental representatives trying to reach agreement on a strategy for managing climate change risks in a medium-sized coastal community
Role Simulation
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
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
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
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
International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Mediation Role Play: Drug Testing in the Workplace

Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld and Roger Winthrop
Three-person employment mediation between a truck driver and his company's personnel director, mediated by an Employee Assistance Program representative, regarding a positive drug test; a four-person version also includes a union representative
Role Simulation
Tracy Dyke, under the direction of Lawrence Susskind and Susan Podziba
Seven-person, non-scoreable, facilitated negotiation among planners, regulators and activists regarding the cleanup and redevelopment of environmentally contaminated property
Role Simulation
Kate Harvey and David Kovick, under the supervision of Lawrence Susskind and Jennifer Brown
5-person nonscorable mediation between an employee and his/her corporate employer regarding potentially conflicting values and interests around issues of homosexuality and religious faith
Role Simulation
Seven-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among local government, community, business, environmental, and engineering representatives trying to reach agreement on a strategy for managing climate change risks in a small coastal city
Role Simulation
Seven-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among local government, community, business, and environmental representatives trying to reach agreement on a strategy for managing climate change risks in a mid-size coastal city.
Role Simulation
Karen Falkenstein Green
Three-person small-claims mediation between a motorist and a city attorney regarding liability for damage to the motorist's automobile due to a pothole
Role Simulation
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
Michael Maturo, Kate Mahoney, Francisco Ingouville and Anthony Wanis St. John, under the direction of David Fairman
Six-person mediated negotiation among representatives of the Guatemalan government, military, rebel groups, indigenous people, and U.S. government to address post-armed-conflict human rights, land claims, and cultural and political rights issues
Role Simulation
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
Catherine M. Ashcraft under the supervision of Professors Lawrence Susskind and Shafiqul Islam
Role Simulation
James Lawrence
Five- or six-person mediation between manufacturing company management and a former employee (and their respective counsel) regarding the employee's departure amid allegations of sexual harassment; optional extra role for manager accused of harassment
Role Simulation
David Baharvar under the supervision of Robert C. Bordone
Six- or eight-party mediated restorative justice circle among juvenile offender, offender's parent, victim, community member, facilitators supporting each side, and one or two mediators, regarding a juvenile shoplifting incident
Role Simulation
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
Karen Falkenstein Green
Two-party small-claims settlement mediation between two former friends over the sale of a problematic used car
Role Simulation
Catherine Ashcraft and Larry Susskind
A six-party, seven-person (including the mediator), multi-issue mediation among representatives of governmental, business, environmental, recreational, and tribal interests regarding a dispute over developing an instream flow action plan
Role Simulation
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
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
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
Jonathan Raab and Lavinia Hall
Five-person facilitated negotiation among environmental, industry, public utility, and government representatives to revise a proposed rule incorporating environmental costs into electric utility rates
Role Simulation
Karen Falkenstein Green
Three-person small claims court mediation between a rug company owner and a customer over the return of a made-to-order rug
Role Simulation
Orion Kriegman and Stacie Nicole Smith, under the direction of Stacie Nicole Smith and David Fairman
Six-person mediated negotiation among representatives of the Pullman Palace Car Company, its workers and others involved in a general strike, to address issues of workers' rights
Role Simulation
Pat Aaron
Three-person small claims mediation between a landscaping company and its client over a disputed bill and quality of service