More than 200 role-play simulations are available through the Program on Negotiation Clearinghouse. 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 Clearinghouse are ultimately designed to help learn become better negotiators and become more self-conscious about what they are doing and why.
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
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
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
Two-team, multi-issue employment contract negotiation between three teachers' union representatives and three school committee representatives; includes internal team meetings before external negotiations
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Prof. Susskind’s Top 5 Environmental Negotiation Teaching Materials
From time to time, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center asks PON-affiliated faculty to nominate their top five books, top five teaching videos or top five role-play simulations in certain fields or teaching settings. These change periodically.