Ad Sales, Inc.

SCENARIO:

Ad Sales, Inc., a firm that sells advertising space in business publications, has a new management team that will negotiate its first contract with the union representing its employees. Tension has been building, and both sides have been maneuvering for strategic advantage. Some issues to be addressed are salary, vacation time, pensions, sub-contracting, compensation, and work assignments.

 

MECHANICS:

The two teams will meet separately for an hour to discuss their strategies and objectives. Then the two teams will meet and negotiate for two hours. The threat of a strike is motivation for progress in the negotiations.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

For all parties:

  • General Information
  • Supplementary Information and Stated Positions

 

Role Specific:

Confidential Instructions for:

  • Lawyer on Management Team
  • Regional Sales Manager
  • Vice President for Sales
  • Vice President of AFL-CIO Local 1502
  • Representative of the International Advertising Workers Federation
  • President of Local 1502
  • Supplementary Instructions for all of the above roles

 

Teacher's Package (24 pages total):

  • All of the above

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • Interval team conflicts must be ironed out before union-management negotiation can proceed smoothly.
  • This case encourages parties to trade across issues and within issues. Players must decide what their BATNA's are and the differences in values of issues will determine the amount of trading.
  • This is a good exercise for people in actual contract negotiations.
  • This game allows the players to explore the influence of threats and promises on the behavior of other parties. These must be handled carefully.
  • The problems of power imbalance, typical of employee relations, are highlighted. This is probably a good case for a mutual gains approach, but useful objective criteria may be hard to come by.

 

SIMILAR SIMULATIONS:

 

PROCESS THEMES:

Agenda Control; Anchoring; BATNA; Bluffing; Caucusing; Coalitions; Communication; Consensus Building; Currently perceived choice analysis; Drafting; Emotions; Fairness; Financial analysis; Interest analysis; Interests, quantifying; Joint gains; meaning of "success"; Offers, first; Partisan perceptions; Precedents; Pressure tactics; Risk perception; Threats

Advice for Peace: Ending Civil War in Colombia

(This video has been made freely available by the Program on Negotiation for educators and diplomats to learn about using a team of negotiation experts to bring about peace.)

The civil war in Colombia lasted 52 years, taking the lives of at least 220,000 people and displacing up to seven million civilians. In 2012, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos initiated peace process negotiations with the FARC guerrillas that resulted in an historic agreement in 2016, ending the last major war in the hemisphere. Before the start of the negotiations, President Santos convened a team of international negotiation advisors to bring best practice negotiation advice from other peace processes around the world. This Peace Advisory Team made over 25 trips to Colombia over the ensuing seven years. Upon receiving the Program on Negotiation (PON) Great Negotiator Award in 2017, President Santos remarked that if there were one piece of advice he would give another head of state embarking on a peace process, it would be to convene such a Peace Advisory Team.

In October of 2018, PON hosted a small conference with President Santos and his Peace Advisory Team to draw out the lessons of this pioneering innovation in international peace process negotiations. In this 45-minute video, the members of the Peace Advisory Team reflect on the Colombian peace process negotiations, explain what happened behind closed doors, assess what worked well and what did not, and distill what lessons can be carried forward for resolving future conflicts.

This video features:

  • Juan Manuel Santos, Former President of Colombia, 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient
  • William Ury, Harvard Negotiation Specialist
  • Dudley Ankerson, Political Consultant, Expert in Latin America
  • Jonathan Powell, Chief British Negotiator of the Good Friday Agreement
  • Bernard Aronson, US Special Envoy for the Colombian Peace Process
  • Shlomo Ben-Ami, Lead Negotiator at Camp David

Produced by:

  • The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School

Ballet’s Me Too

SCENARIO:

When a reinterpretation of West Side Story opened on Broadway, picketing and #MeToo demonstrations preceded and followed the opening. The protest publicized the sexual abuse and hostile work environment a female dancer suffered two years earlier when she worked with Amar Ramasar, one of the leads in the West Side Story production; a principal dancer and one of the first dancers of color at the New York City Ballet.

The lead producer of West Side Story and other investors are negotiating with the Salt Lake City Ballet West Board of Directors to perform in Salt Lake City for a run of at least four months.  The SLC Ballet West Board is concerned that the picketing and demonstrations will follow the show from New York, embarrass the Board and the community, and cause a drop off in ticket sales during the run.  The SLC Ballet West Board is seeking indemnification (and protection) if civil disruption occurs.

Major lessons in this exercise include:

  • How should concerns around sensitive issues like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter be taken into account in the design and management of negotiations?
  • The role of ethics and values in distinguishing between positions and interests in this type of situation.
  • How do relationships benefit or impede negotiations, especially when the parties will likely need to carry on working relationships long after the conclusion of the negotiation?
  • The role of the mediator, and what, if any, value added they provide in the dispute resolution process.

There are two versions of this simulation. Version A includes only the counsel for the parties, whereas Version B includes Waterbury and Ramasar appearing pro se.

Binder Kadeer

SCENARIO:

An employee of the company has filed a complaint with the company's affirmative action office, charging his manager with discrimination. Dealing with diversity within the company is also an issue. The case is referred to an HR representative who consults with the parties.

This exercise is one of six modules in the "Collaborative Negotiation for Human Resource Professionals" curriculum package. For details, please see Collaborative Negotiation for Human Resource Professionals under "Curricula."

Blender, The

SCENARIO:

The complaints clerk in a department store sees a customer coming with a blender recognizable as one of the store's special super-sale items. The store cannot return these items to the manufacturer. The clerk has a small weekly budget to absorb the cost of such items, if returned, and the department head has instructed that it be used sparingly. The budget for this week is overspent. The customer, having used the blender for over a week, believes it is either defective or an inadequate appliance, and has therefore decided to return it.

 

 

 

MECHANICS:

This negotiation works well as one-on-one, but can be extended to two-on-one, by including another participant on either side. It takes no more than five minutes to run; debriefing can last up to half an hour with several replays. The exercise can be run as is, or one or both parties can be given additional psychological instructions about their character (making it more of a role play for that party, instead of a negotiation).

 

 

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • The scenario makes it easy to slip into a negative, reactive mode, with unsatisfactory outcomes often resulting.
  • Those parties willing to consider the perceptions and interests of the other party as relevant can usually engage effectively in mutually beneficial joint problem-solving.
  • The persuasive effect of threats, cajoling, anger, helplessness, crying and other techniques can be explored.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

Role Specific:

  • Confidential Instructions for the Clerk
  • Confidential Instructions for the Consumer

 

Teacher's Package:

  • All of the above

 

SIMILAR SIMULATIONS:

 

 

SUBJECTS:

Consumer; Interpersonal; Psychological; Small claims

 

PROCESS THEMES:

Apologies; BATNA; Communication; Credibility; Emotions, role of; Fairness; Interpersonal skills; Misrepresentation; Nonverbal communication; Objective criteria; Power imbalance; Threats; Yesable propositions

 

Broken Benches

SCENARIO:

Roy Thomas, Director of Athletics at Benton College, was at the Benton College gymnasium to attend an intercollegiate wrestling match when he fell ten feet to the gym floor. He injured his elbow, shoulder and back. He was transported to the hospital in an ambulance, hospitalized for a day, and bedridden at home for for a while after that. After intensive therapy, Roy's physical condition was "largely resolved." A therapist prescribed use of a special exercise device if the affected areas stiffened up. However, Mr. Thomas chose an alternative and expensive treatment method.

Mr. Thomas has suffered three relapses in the last year, when he was laid up for a week. He claims difficulty concentrating and sleeping, as well as negative effects on his work and sexual relationships with his wife. Thomas and his wife filed suit against Pro Bleachers for negligent design, manufacture, and installation of the bleachers. Pro Bleachers, through its insurer Pinnacle, has denied liability. Counsel has suggested that after initial negotiation and stalemate, the parties use an ADR procedure to attempt to settle the case.

Note: Participants should be arranged in groups of three. The third person in each group will either be a mediator, an arbitrator with a potential bias for the defense, or an arbitrator with a potential bias for the plaintiff.

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • This exercise presents the opportunity to use a careful analysis of the interests of the parties to craft an agreement to solve a dispute.
  • This game is an opportunity to compare mediation and arbitration — including arbitration by arbitrators with different backgrounds. Interesting discussion should ensue from the comparison of the different groups.
  • The exercise allows individuals to reflect on the legitimacy of claims and the role that "fault" plays in the negotiation process.
  • The need for a BATNA to maximize the results.
  • This exercise illustrates the danger of single-issue bargaining. Should participants limit the negotiation to a monetary dispute, the participants will be locked in a contest of wills. Hard bargaining may well emerge, resulting in a situation in which one party's gain will ensure a loss to the other party.

 

If you prefer a mediation-only version or an arbitration-only version, please contact the Clearinghouse by phone at 800-258-4406 or by email at chouse@law.harvard.edu to place a special order. Otherwise, you will be given equal numbers of mediator, Arbitrator Siewell (potential defense bias), and Arbitrator Blake (potential plaintiff bias) roles.

Carter Estate Problem, The

SCENARIO:

James Carter, husband of Rosie Carter and father of Chris and Terry Carter, recently died after a four year battle with an undisclosed illness. Having plenty of warning, Mr. Carter (also head of the successful family cosmetic business) carefully planned for the disposition of his assets upon his death. The majority of issues surrounding the settlement of his estate have been resolved, however, a few minor issues remain unresolved and have led to dispute between his two children. The first dispute concerns Mr. Carter’s lakeside retreat. Secondarily, there are concerns over the distribution of some of Mr. Carter’s personal effects. The personal effects include: a stamp collection, a diamond ring, a pocket watch, a membership in the Metropolitan Club and the award-winning, family dog, Bonzo.

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • This exercise presents the opportunity to use a careful analysis of the interests of the parties to craft an agreement to solve a dispute.
  • This exercise illustrates the danger of single-issue bargaining. Should participants limit the negotiation to a monetary dispute, Chris and Terry will be locked in a contest of wills. Hard bargaining may well emerge, resulting in a situation in which one party’s gain means a corresponding loss to the other party.
  • Good negotiators put the distributive issues in this case in perspective and reduce their importance by dovetailing interests with creative options that expand the pie. This case has an enormous potential range of such creative options.

 

MECHANICS:

This exercise is best one-on-one. Allow approximately 30 minutes for preparation and 30-45 minutes for negotiation. Debriefing should last at least 30 minutes.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

  • For all parties:
    • General Information

     

  • Role specific:Confidential Instructions for:
    • Chris Carter
    • Terry Carter

     

  • Teacher’s Package:
    • All of the above

 

PROCESS THEMES:

BATNA; Communication; Competition v. Cooperation; Emotions; Fairness; Interest, dovetailing; Joint gains; Legitimacy; Options, generating

Casino

SCENARIO:

Jamie Jackson, the Vice President for Programming at a large software company, is meeting with Allison Shore, one of the programming managers. Allison’s team has been working on a “virtual casino” computer game. Jamie is concerned about negative internal reviews of the Casino prototype, and about the way in which Allison has been managing her programmers. Allison, on the other hand, is insulted by some recent unfriendly treatment from her colleagues and the negative reaction to Casino. She is also convinced that she is paid less than her male counterparts. Though the main objective of this meeting is to determine the fate of the Casino program, the various side issues should make the meeting interesting.

This case is particularly well-suited for use in connection with the book “Difficult Conversations,” also available through the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center.

 

MECHANICS:

The parties’ instructions require at least 15 minutes to read and analyze. Negotiation can take 30 minutes; review can last anywhere from 30-60 minutes.

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • Those parties willing to consider the perceptions and interests of the other party as relevant can usually engage effectively in mutually beneficial joint problem solving.
  • The skills involved in separating the people from the problem are especially apropos in this negotiation as emotions between formerly friendly people may run high.
  • If the participants choose to try to resolve workplace environment difficulties, they must face the difficulties of ordering the behavior of those around them.

 

CASINO TWO – UPDATED VERSION OF CASINO 

In this updated version of the original simulation, Casino Two explores the complex role that gender plays in workplace dynamics. Jamie and Allison are both employees at Digital Development, a male-dominated Silicon Valley start-up that makes profitable phone apps. Jamie is the vice president for Programming and recently promoted Allison, moving her from the kids and family app team to the gaming team. Jamie feels that Allison has not been performing well in her new position. The two are meeting to discuss her performance and then negotiate next steps. The Casino Two simulation, as compared to the original Casino, features updated technological references and a new teaching note.

 

PROCESS THEMES:

BATNA; Disclosure; Issues of difference; Fairness; Interests, dovetailing; Interests, internal ordering; Objective criteria; Partisan perceptions; Power imbalance

Chestnut Drive

SCENARIO:

Four weeks ago, Bunyon Brothers Construction Company began work on a 77-unit condominium complex at the end of a quiet, wooded, dead-end street named Chestnut Drive. The residents of Chestnut Drive were surprised and angered by this development, but, after some inquiry, concluded that there was little that could be done. Now, however, the construction process has once again brought their tempers to a boil. The neighbors' complaints include: the excessive noise from blasting, dangerously speeding trucks, the lack of a fence around the project area, foul language and habits among the construction workers, and damage to windows and at least one foundation allegedly caused by the blasting. They have elected a six-member negotiating committee consisting of a retired executive, a lawyer, a cab driver, a dentist, a small businessman, and a carpenter. The lawyer has set up a meeting of the community group with the Bunyon Brothers General Counsel. This exercise revolves around the neighbors commit- tee's preparation meeting.

NOTE: This exercise is an intra-team negotiation and is one of the two sides that makes up the exercise Chestnut Village (the other side is the exercise The Bunyon Brothers).

 

MECHANICS:

After individual preparation, groups of (roughly) six neighbors meet for about 90-105 minutes preparing to negotiate with Mr. Murphy of the Bunyon Brothers Company. A message is delivered to the lawyer 10 minutes into the session informing him that a newspaper reporter would like a statement. The group must choose whether or not to spend time on this, and if so, how much. A break after 45 minutes for a presentation on meeting design and group process is often effective. By that point, participants are familiar with the problem and interested in any insights that might be helpful in their remaining preparation time. At the end of the preparation period, groups traditionally have 20-minute negotiating sessions with Mr. Murphy or a management team from the Bunyon Brothers Company, often played by the instructor(s) demonstrating various negotiation styles. The negotiating sessions can be run serially, with one group picking up where the last left off, or consecutively, in either case with the rest of the class observing and thinking how they would proceed differently. An alternative to the instructor demonstration is to have groups of prepared neighbors negotiate with representatives of the Bunyon Brothers Company who have prepared Case No. 10004.0, The Bunyon Brothers.

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • This case focuses on two major themes. The first is preparation. What is your BATNA? What is theirs? What are their major interests likely to be? What are ours? What does their choice look like now? How, realistically, could we change it? What can they actually do? What can we do? How do we make it as easy as possible for them to do what we want, and hard for them to do otherwise? How do we best communicate all this? What yesable propositions do we have for them? Should we consult before deciding?
  • The second theme is meeting design and group process. How do six people work together to prepare for a negotiation? Set an agenda? Set strict time limits? Use a flipchart and a recorder? A facilitator? Separate inventing from deciding? And how do they work together in the ultimate meeting? How do they avoid divide and conquer tactics or distractions that keep them from focusing on any one point? How do they get commitment?
  • Another important theme is the problem of representing a constituency without firm authority. Can the negotiators really commit their neighbors? How should the Bunyon Brothers deal with that? Can either party really agree to what the other one wants?
  • The case also raises the question of relationship and reputation. Both sides have important long-term interests.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

For all parties:

  • General Instructions

 

Role Specific:

Confidential Instructions for the:

  • Cab Driver
  • Carpenter
  • Retired Executive
  • Shopkeeper
  • Dentist
  • Lawyer
  • Telephone Message to Lawyer

 

Teacher's Package:

  • All of the above
  • Draft Teaching Note

 

PROCESS THEMES:

Agenda control; Authority; BATNA; Commitment; Communication; public vs. private; Compliance; Constituents; Crisis decision- making; Currently perceived choice analysis; Delay tactics; Education, as a means; Emotions; Force; Group-think; Group process; Media; Meeting design; Preparation; Public opinion; Threats; Yesable propositions

Chestnut Village

SCENARIO:

Version A: Four weeks ago, the Bunyon Brothers Construction Company began work on a 77-unit condominium complex at the end of a quiet, wooded, dead-end street named Chestnut Drive. Residents of Chestnut Drive were surprised and angered by this development, but the construction company properly, although quietly, obtained all necessary permits. Recent developments have the neighbors fuming. Among them are noise, speeding trucks, lack of a fence around the site, foul language and habits among the construction workers, and damage to windows and at least one foundation allegedly caused by blasting. The neighbors (a retired executive, a lawyer, a cab-driver, a dentist, a shopkeeper and a carpenter) have arranged a meeting with the construction company (General counsel, a Senior VP, VP for Marketing & Development and VP of Construction Management) in an attempt to correct the situation. Each group will have a preparation meeting before an external negotiation is held.

Version B: Same as version A, except the role of cab driver is eliminated and the roles of Senior VP and General Counsel have merged into one.

NOTE: This exercise is a merger of the one-sided exercises Bunyon Brothers and Chestnut Drive and is structurally similar to the exercise Construction in Bunyonville without mediators.

 

MECHANICS:

Allow 90-105 minutes for internal negotiations. External negotiation should last 60-90 minutes. All members shall be present at the meeting but it works best if there is only one presenter for the construction company.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

For all parties:

  • Map

 

Role Specific:

  • General instructions for the Neighbor Representatives

 

Confidential Instructions for:

  • Cab Driver (Version A Only)
  • Carpenter
  • Dentist
  • Lawyer
  • Retired Executive
  • Shopkeeper

 

General Instructions for Construction Company

 

Confidential Instructions for:

  • General Counsel (Version A only)
  • Senior Vice President (Version A Only)
  • Senior Vice President/ General Counsel (Version B Only)
  • Vice President of Construction Management
  • Vice President of Marketing & Development

 

Teacher's Package (34 pages total):

  • All of the above
  • Teaching Note

 

PROCESS THEMES:

Agenda control; Authority; BATNA; Commitment; Communication; Compliance; Crisis decision-making; Currently perceived choice analysis; Emotions; Force; Group-think; Group process; Media; Meeting design; Preparation; Public opinion; Threats; Yesable propositions

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

This case focuses on two major themes. The first is preparation. What is your BATNA? What is theirs? What are their major interests likely to be? What are ours? What does their choice look like now? How, realistically, could we change it? What can they actually do? What can we do? How do we make it as easy as possible for them to do what we want, and hard for them to do otherwise? How do we best communicate all of this? What yesable propositions do we have for them? Should we consult before deciding?

The second theme is meeting design and group process. How do groups work together to prepare for a negotiation? Set an agenda? Set strict time limits? Use a flip-chart and a recorder? A facilitator? Separate inventing from deciding? And how do they work together in the ultimate meeting? How do they avoid divide and conquer tactics or distractions that keep them from focusing on any one point? How do they get commitment?

Another important theme is the problem of representing and dealing with a representative of a constituency without firm authority. Can the negotiators really commit their neighbors? How should the Bunyon Brothers deal with that? Can either party really agree to what the other one wants?

The case also raises questions of relationship and reputation. Both sides have important long-term interests.

Clarke v. California Insurance Co., et al.

SCENARIO:

Plaintiff Elizabeth Clarke contends that she has suffered from severe ulcerative colitis for four and a half years, resulting in her total disability. Defendant insurance company paid disability benefits for two years, and then terminated payments on the ground that she was not totally disabled under the terms of her policy. The causes and effects of ulcerative colitis are debatable, and there is disagreement between the medical experts involved in the case.

Two years ago, Clarke sued the insurance company in California state court, alleging contract and tort claims and requesting claiming disability benefits and punitive damages based on alleged malicious intent. Discovery is almost over, and the judge has indicated that she would like the case to be settled out of court. Now, the lawyers for the two parties are meeting to discuss settlement.

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • Both sides have very strong and very weak elements to their cases. How does the way in which these elements are handled affect the negotiation?
  • A great deal of relevant criteria is available for analysis and presentation. How does the use of criteria affect the creation and distribution of value in the negotiation?
  • What constitutes success in this negotiation? Avoiding trial? Making the other side apologize? Getting (or avoiding paying) a lot of money? A combination of these?

 

Teacher's package includes:

  • Participant materials for both sides
  • No teaching note available

Commonwealth v. McGorty

SCENARIO:

Two police officers on routine patrol were stopped at 2:35 a.m. by a woman screaming that she had been raped by a man in a nearby car. When approached, the man fled, but was soon apprehended. The woman's story bears a remarkable similarity to that of another woman for whose alleged brutal rape the man, Martin McGorty, was recently acquitted. However, the knife that the woman claims McGorty used cannot be found, and the woman has announced that she will not testify against McGorty in court for fear of ridicule if he is not convicted.

This negotiation involves four parties: a District Attorney, an Assistant District Attorney, the criminal defendant Martin McGorty, and McGorty's Public Defender. The DA was the original prosecutor in McGorty's previous trial but was disqualified for prejudice after a public remark about castration. The DA is running for higher office, and his campaign has regularly emphasized stiffer sentencing for sex crimes. The Assistant DA, a young attorney aspiring to the DA's office, is handling the current McGorty case. The Public Defender representing McGorty here also represented him in his previous trial. Part One of the negotiation involves client interviews: the Assistant DA interviews the DA, and the Public Defender interviews defendant McGorty, in order to determine their clients' interests and to decide how to represent them. Part Two is a plea-bargain negotiation between the Assistant DA and the Public Defender about the fate of the defendant. An optional third part may be used, in which the Assistant DA and the Public Defender brief their clients on the outcome. It should be noted that this case involves highly sensitive issues and that one-quarter of the participants are asked to assume the role of an alleged rapist. The sensitivity of the issues often makes for a provocative and memorable learning experience. At the same time, some participants may find the scenario upsetting. The Teaching Note contains suggestions for how to handle the emotional sensitivity of this case.

 

SUBJECTS:

Criminal law; government parties; legal ethics; legal representation; plea bargaining; psychological issues; rape; unpopular causes

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • Principal-agent tension: How does an attorney reconcile the tension between his/her own interests, the client's interests, and societal interests? How do an attorney's personal feelings influence the outcome of negotiation?
  • Importance of relationship building: How does the quality of attorney-client communication and the strength of the attorney-client relationship influence the outcome? How does the ongoing relationship between the Assistant DA and the Public Defender negotiate affect their ongoing relationship?
  • Ethical and policy issues: How should the legal system weigh probability of future harm against procedural rights?

 

Teacher's Package includes:

  • Participant materials
  • Teaching Note

 

Minimum Participants: 4

Preparation Time: 80 min.

Negotiation Time: 90 min. (45 min. for Part One and 45 min. for Part Two)

Debriefing Time: 40 to 60 min.

 

SIMILAR SIMULATIONS:

  • State v. Huntley
  • People v. Malvenue
  • Probation Games

Conference with a Professor

SCENARIO:

A law student has an appointment with the only professor who has given the student an A+. The student has two objectives for the meeting–getting a recommendation and a research assistant-ship with the professor. The professor is currently writing a book on copyright law and computer software, a subject of great interest to the student, who in fact borrowed the professor's manuscript, and has kept it longer than agreed. The professor does not know why the appointment was made, but remembers the student as being intelligent and personable, and thinks that perhaps it is the same student who borrowed the missing manuscript. A search for this draft manuscript was initiated sometime ago. Since that time, the professor has had to rewrite many portions from scratch.

 

MECHANICS:

The two parties meet for approximately 5-15 minutes. Either party can be given additional role instructions about the kind of person to play. Videotaping is helpful for review. The exercise can be run twice, with the parties switching roles in the second round.

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • This exercise focuses on interpersonal skills and psychological awareness. How do different individuals approach each role? What does that suggest about their psychological interests? Are they effective? Why or why not?
  • There is also a clear opportunity and considerable incentive for misrepresentation by the student. How do different people handle this, and what consequences does misrepresentation have in their verbal and nonverbal behavior?
  • This exercise presents a challenge worthy of a skilled negotiator: to tell the truth in a way that strengthens the relationship and allows the other issues to be dealt with positively, each on merits.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

Role Specific:

Confidential Instructions for the:

  • Professor
  • Student

 

PROCESS THEMES:

Agenda control; Apologies; Communication; Credibility; Emotions; Ethics; Fairness; Information exchange; Interpersonal skills; Issue control; Misrepresentation; Nonverbal communication; Personality; Power imbalance; Psychological games; Relationship; Risk aversion; Separating the people from the problem

Construction in Bunyonville

SCENARIO:

Four weeks ago, the Bunyon Brothers Construction Company began work on a 77-unit condominium complex at the end of a quiet, wooded, dead-end street named Chestnut Drive. All permits were properly, if quietly, obtained, and the quality of construction is high. Some resistance from the neighborhood was, of course, expected, but tempers now seem to be unusually high and a credible threat has developed of neighbors blocking the site access. The Company’s General Counsel and VP of Public Affairs has scheduled a meeting with a dentist and a lawyer representing the neighborhood “negotiating committee.” Two representatives of the largest bank in town will also attend the meeting to attempt to facilitate a resolution of the problem.

NOTE: This exercise is similar to the exercise Chestnut Village, however, in this case local bankers act as mediators.

 

MECHANICS:

Participants representing each side, as well as the mediators, should prepare for 45-90 minutes. A break for a presentation on intra-group process can be useful. After the completion of these preparation sessions, negotiations begin in groups between the two neighborhood representatives, the two construction company representatives, and the two local bank representatives. Between an hour and an hour and one-half should be allocated to the negotiation session. In debriefing the negotiations, instructors may discuss the effectiveness of the preparation sessions, the techniques used by the mediators, how the parties moved toward commitment and how the negotiations might have proceeded had they been bilateral without mediators present.

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

 

  • This case focuses on three major themes. The first is preparation. What is your BATNA? What is theirs? What are their major interests likely to be? What are ours? What does their choice look like now? How, realistically, could we change it? What can they actually do? What can we do? How do we make it as easy as possible for them to do what we want, and hard for them to do otherwise? How do we best communicate all this? What yesable propositions do we have for them? Should we consult before deciding?
  • The second theme is meeting design and group process. How do groups work together to prepare for or conduct a negotiation? Set an agenda? Set strict time limits? Use a flip chart and a recorder? A facilitator? Separate inventing from deciding? And how do teams work together in the ultimate meeting? How do they get commitment?
  • The third major theme is mediation and facilitation. What process should be used by the bank’s representatives to facilitate a resolution of the problem? Should they meet with each side separately, or all together? To what extent would caucuses be useful? How should a team of mediators divide up responsibilities? What techniques are particularly effective for third-party mediators? How can these techniques be used by negotiators mediating their own disputes? Another important theme is the problem of dealing with a representative of a constituency who does not have firm authority. The neighbor negotiators cannot really commit their neighbors. How should the Bunyon Brothers and the Bank deal with that? Can either party really agree to what the other wants?
  • The case also raises questions of relationship, precedent, and reputation. All sides have important long-term interests.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

General Instructions

Confidential Instructions for:

  • Bunyon Brothers VP of Public Affairs
  • Bunyon Brothers General Councel
  • Neighborhood lawyer
  • Neighborhood dentist
  • Representatives of the Bank (for two participants to serve as mediators)

 

Teacher’s Package:

  • All of the above

 

PROCESS THEMES:

Agenda control; Authority; BATNA; Caucusing; Commitment; Communication; Compliance; Constituents; Currently perceived choice analysis; Education, as a means; Emotions; Force; Group process; Media; Mediation; Meeting design; Precedents; Preparation; Public opinion; Reality testing; Threats; Yesable propositions

Contract Negotiations in the Building Trades

SCENARIO:

Three coalitions representing building contractors, building trade unions, and users of contract services are about to begin contract negotiations. Prior to the full negotiation session, each coalition will meet to discuss internal differences. Each of the three coalitions has three members representing a different internal group. They will focus on wage increases, health benefits, and double-breasting (contractors using non-union workers through subsidiary contractors). These have been outlined in the Proposed Framework for the New Building Trades Contract distributed by the staff of the Builders Association (a member of the building contractor's coalition). In addition, a number of other issues will need to be worked out. These derive mostly from prior relationships and skewed perceptions. A threat of a strike exists, which would disadvantage all three groups. Their objective is to reach an agreement that all parties can accept.

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • The differences in the way the players value issues open the door for trading. The parties will have to decide what they are willing to trade and what their BATNA's are. This game provides the opportunity not only for trading across issues, but also within issues.
  • The two-tier negotiation suggests a double meaning of "success." Parties must make both substantive and procedural decisions. If the coalitions do not embark upon the main negotiation with a united front; the meaning of "success" could easily become very individualistic.
  • The process of creating and claiming value in this game is quite explicit. Although there are only three main issues, the parties may add more or less importance to each by "reading in" certain assumptions about past or future relations.
  • This is a good exercise for people in actual contract negotiations, especially those facing multi-trade bargaining problems.
  • The important role that external parties can play is illustrated by the use of the media in this case. Parties must strategically manage external relationships in order to have the desired effect on the negotiation.
  • This game allows the players to explore the influence of threats and promises on the behavior of other parties. These must be handled carefully to have the intended effect.

 

MECHANICS:

This game works best with nine players (one per role). A game manager is needed to answer questions and collect written versions of each coalition's negotiation objectives following preliminary one-hour (at minimum) meetings. The ensuing negotiations should run about two hours. More time is preferable. Debriefings take approximately one and one-half hours.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

For all parties:

  • General Information
  • Proposed Framework for the New Building Trades Contract

 

Role-Specific:

Confidential Advice to the:

  • Builders Association
  • Technical Association
  • Basic Contractors
  • Woodworkers Union
  • Welders Union
  • Electronics Union
  • Amalgamated Refineries
  • Metropolitan Power Corporation
  • Regional Hospital Association

 

Teacher's Package:

  • All of the above
  • Teacher's notes

 

KEYWORDS/THEMES:

Agenda control; Anchoring; Apologies; Assumptions; BATNA; Bi-level negotiations; Bluffing; Caucusing; Collaborative problem-solving; Communication; Competition v. Cooperation; Consensus building; Cost-benefit analysis; Constituents; Currently perceived choice analysis; Drafting; Emotions; Ethics; Fairness; Group process; Interest analysis; Interests, quantifying; Joint game; Labor Issues; Labor Relations; Legitimacy; Meaning of "success"; Negotiating entry; Meeting design; Misrepresentation; Objective criteria; Offers, first; Packaging; Partisan perceptions; Precedents; Preparation; Pressure tactics; Public opinion; Recurring negotiations; Reservation price; Risk aversion; Risk perception; Separating the people from the problem; Threats; Time constraints; Trading, issues; Trust

 

SIMILAR SIMULATIONS:

Collective Bargaining at Central Division

Death in the Family

SCENARIO:

Professor Famous teaches a course on the Theory and Practice of Problem-Solving. On the first day of class, an announcement is always made as to the "No-extension" policy. The Professor explains that the policy is intended to help students avoid the unpleasant consequences of procrastination that he suffered as a young lawyer. This year, when a student did not hand in an optional rough draft, due three weeks before the final, Famous attempted to reach the student by telephone to no avail. The student finally handed in the paper two weeks late, explaining plans to write the paper in the last week before the deadline went awry when the student's father died suddenly and unexpectedly.

 

MECHANICS:

This one-on-one negotiation takes 10-20 minutes. Either party can be given additional psychological role instructions. The negotiation can be repeated with the roles reversed. Videotaping is helpful for review.

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • This exercise pits Carol Gilligan's two "voices" in direct conflict. This situation is exactly the kind contemplated by the professor's policy, yet we have immense sympathy as well for the student's position, both substantively and emotionally. Is it possible to "separate the people from the problem" here, and if so how?
  • The professor must also be concerned about whether the intended lesson will be understood by the student, or whether the experience will merely be souring. In the latter case, the professor may want to consider possible impacts on the professor's reputation, either as a person or as a teacher. What weight should that be given?
  • What are the student's interests? Getting an extension? Learning the professor's lesson? Doing the "right" thing? What, in fact, is perceived as the "right" thing? Like many of these exercises, this is based on a real case, and there seem to be no easy answers.
  • The case is a good vehicle for revealing various psychological assumptions and nonverbal behaviors, thereby generally increasing psychological awareness.

 

TEACHER'S MATERIALS:

Role Specific:

  • Confidential Instructions for the:
  • Professor
  • Student

 

Teacher's Package:

  • All of the above

 

PROCESS THEMES:

Communication; Education, as a means; Emotions; Ethics; Fairness; Gilligan, two voices; Interpersonal skills; Issue control; Misrepresentation; Nonverbal communication; Power imbalance; Precedents; Pressure tactics; Psychological games; Separating the people from the problem