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
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

Michael Wheeler and Lawrence Susskind
Two-party, single-issue distributive negotiation between principals regarding a potential real estate sale
Role Simulation
Taline Aharonian and Agieszka Klich
Complex 13-party, two-team facilitated negotiation between private citizens from both sides of an actual long-term ethnic conflict
Role Simulation
International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Arms Control on Cobia

P. Terrance Hopmann
Multi-issue arms control negotiation among representatives of eight fictional countries
Role Simulation
Imam Soliman under the direction of David Fairman
The Athens-Melos Role Play is a simulation from the Workable Peace Curriculum Series unit on Ancient Greece and the Peloponnesian War.
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
Law / Courts Negotiation Role-Play:

Baker & Irwin v. Department of Human Services

Bruce Deming
Two-party negotiation between attorneys for a state agency and a gay advocacy group regarding a state policy that led to the removal of two foster children from the home of a gay couple
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Bakra Beverage

Dan Vogel, under the supervision of Robert Bordone and Gillien Todd
Role Simulation
Cross-Cultural Negotiation Role-Play:

Bamara Border Dispute

Michael D. Landry
Two-team, multi-issue negotiation between representatives of two fictional countries regarding a disputed border and a military stand-off
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
Community Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Beaumont Incinerator Exercise

Mona Haywood and Lawrence Susskind
Six-party task force negotiation regarding the application of environmental policy to the operation of an incinerator in a racially diverse community
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
Todd Schenk under the supervision of David Fairman, David Plumb, Lawrence Susskind, Philip Angell, and Kelly Levin
Eight-party negotiation (with option for a ninth person facilitator) regarding climate change issues in a situation loosely based on the situation in Ghana.
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
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
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
Ethics Negotiation Role-Play:

Biography, The

Sheila Heen and Douglas Stone
Two-party negotiation between a teaching fellow and a student about the student's grade on a paper exploring biographical and racial issues
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
Corporate Decision-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Blueville Health Foundation

Mieke van der Wansem, Lawrence Susskind and Janet Martinez
Five-party multi-issue negotiation among foundation, community, and medical board members of a new health foundation to set community health funding priorities and strategies for community engagement
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

Michael Wheeler
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
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
Labor Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Brachton Collective Bargaining Exercise

Michael Wheeler
Two-team, multi-issue employment contract negotiation between three teachers' union representatives and three school committee representatives; includes internal team meetings before external negotiations
Role Simulation
Michael Wheeler
Two-party, single-issue distributive negotiation over a linkage payment that a developer must make to a city government; includes ethical issues
Role Simulation
Mediation Role-Play:

Broken Benches

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
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

Michael Wheeler
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
Family Negotiation Role-Play:

Carter Estate Problem, The

Mark Drooks, Andrew Tavel, Kenneth Hyatt, Mark Gordon, and Bruce Patton
Two-party, multi-issue integrative negotiation between brothers over the settlement of their father's estate
Role Simulation
Corporate Decision-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Case of the Puerile Printer

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
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
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
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 and Michael Wheeler
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