A Conversation with the Founders

The Program on Negotiation (PON) is the world's first teaching and research center dedicated to negotiation, and its founders are among the true pioneers in the field. On April 8, 2003, seven of these founders gathered to reflect on PON's beginnings in the early 1980s, and on their own journeys as leaders in the field that they helped to create. This 30-minute video is an edited version of their two-hour discussion.

Looking back twenty years were:

  • Roger D. Fisher, Williston Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School, Director of the Harvard Negotiation Project, and the first Chair of PON's Steering Committee
  • Bruce M. Patton, Deputy Director of the Harvard Negotiation Project and a founding partner of Vantage Partners, LLC
  • Howard Raiffa, Frank D. Ramsey Professor Emeritus of Managerial Economics and Harvard Business School and the Kennedy School of Government, and Director Emeritus of the Negotiation Roundtable
  • Frank E. A. Sandler, Bussey Professor of Law at Harvard Law SChool and co-Director of the Dispute Resolution Program
  • James K. Sebenius, Gordon Donaldson Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and Director of the Negotiation Roundtable
  • Lawrence K. Susskind, Ford Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning at MIT, founder and President of the Consensus Building Institute, and Director of the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program
  • William L. Ury, independent consultant and Director fo the Global Negotiation Project


Run time: 30 minutes

A Green Victory Against Great Odds, But Was It Too Little Too Late?

This case study provides an intimate view into the fierce battle among major US nonprofit environmental groups, Members of Congress, and industry over energy policy in 2007. The resulting law slashed pollution by raising car efficiency regulations for the first time in three decades. For negotiators and advocates, this case provides important lessons about cultivating champions, neutralizing opponents, organizing the masses, and using the right message at the right time.

This case is based on the actual negotiations and offers lessons for business, law and government students and professionals in multiple subject areas. They include negotiation, climate change, sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and more.

We recently asked author Gina Coplon–Newfield to discuss her case study. Here’s what she had to say:

Q. Tell us about your case study “A Green Victory Against Great Odds” and why should teachers and trainers consider adding it to their curriculum?

A. This case showcases an exciting battle in Congress for major energy policies that have slashed pollution and provided new opportunities for clean energy solutions. I wrote this case, in part, to show that it’s not just corporate and government leaders who make change in the world, but nonprofit and community advocates too. The path to an imperfect victory that I describe in this case provide important lessons for people of all political persuasions trying to understand how we create meaningful public policies and improve lives in the United States.

Q. What type of class is it best suited for?

A. I think students of policy, government, negotiation, environmental studies, grassroots organizing, and non-profit leadership will learn a lot from this case.

Q. What are the major lessons?

A. Find your champions and keep them champions. Frame your issue and your message in the right way. Organize people to speak up to policymakers; it’s a key ingredient to success.

Q. What distinguishes “A Green Victory Against Great Odds” from other case studies that might appear to be similar?

A. When researching this case, I interviewed people who had put their hearts and souls and intense strategic thinking into campaigning for energy solutions. I think you’ll find that their passion and the surprising lessons they learned shine through when you read the case.

Q What qualities do the most effective environmental policy-makers/advocates posses?

A. Depending on the moment, patience and impatience. Also, strong attention to building and keeping relationships.

Q. What are you most excited about in the ever-evolving movement toward cleaner energy?

A. We already possess most of the solutions we need to protect our health and our planet and to lead us to a strong clean energy economy. Our exciting challenge is to catalyze government, private industry, and ordinary people to put these solutions into practice. Plug-in electric vehicles, for example, meet the needs of many people in our society. They are fast, fun, technologically exciting, cheaper to fuel, and lower in emissions. We just need the right government policies, corporate commitment, and public education to make them an exciting choice for people.

This case study includes the following:

  • Detailed Case Study
  • Case Timeline
  • Case Study Discussion Questions

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

Aerospace Investment


This is a two-person scored negotiation simulation involving a venture capital investment. Individuals are scored on their ability to attain favorable investment terms for themselves and on the quality of the relationship they develop with their potential business partner. The simulation introduces the incorporation of process and relationship interests into negotiation strategy. Relationship-straining conflict has been purposefully included in the negotiation to assess students’ ability to deal with difficult demands while maintaining a positive relationship.

The venture capital (VC) firm Aerovent Capital is considering a $100 million investment in the startup company Earth Escape. The founder of Earth Escape and the lead partner from Aerovent Capital must negotiate a term sheet outlining eight significant terms of the investment. Both parties are concerned with structuring a deal that protects their substantive investment interests and with creating a positive foundation for their potential collaboration. Thus, both individuals are scored on their ability to negotiate favorable investment terms for themselves and on the quality of the relationship they develop with their potential business partner. Each negotiator’s Total Score is a sum of Substantive Points, awarded according to the agreed-upon terms of the investment, and Process Points, awarded according to each partner’s perception of the negotiation process.

The eight negotiable terms of the investment constituting the Substantive Points include: VC equity percentage, type of stock, dividends, antidilution rights, number of VC-appointed board members, vesting of the founder’s shares, CEO replacement provision, and “no shop” provision. The confidential instructions for the venture capitalist and founder outline specific point values and resistance points for each term. Both parties’ BATNAs (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement) are described and quantified. After the term sheet has been agreed upon, the VC and the founder independently fill out questionnaires that ask them to evaluate each other on five attributes to determine the amount of Process Points they are awarded. These attributes serve as proxies for assessing the future of the business relationship based on their experiences during the negotiation. Both negotiators aim to maximize their individual Total Scores. Familiarity with venture capital investing is not a prerequisite for this simulation.

You can see the Aerospace Investment negotiation game being played by participants in this short, two-part video. Part A:

And Part B:


Participant materials include:

  • General Instructions for both parties


Confidential materials for Venture Capitalist, including:

  • Confidential Instructions
  • Confidential score sheet
  • Process evaluation of the Founder


Confidential materials for the Founder of Earth Escape, including:

  • Confidential instructions
  • Confidential score sheet
  • Process evaluation of the Venture Capitalist


Teacher's Package includes:

  • All of the above
  • Teaching Note
  • Results and Analysis by Professor Gordon Kaufman from his 2010 course

Akron Steel


Akron Steel, one of the largest recyclers of ferrous metals in the U.S., is looking to expand even more in the next five years. Poor sales performance over the last six months, however, may limit Akron’s access to capital for expansion. A task force investigates the problem to determine the reasons for poor sales performance and provide recommendations to correct the problem.


When it’s discovered that regional sales managers were overstating their sales estimates the presentation goes ahead but tempers flare. A facilitator is brought in for a follow-up meeting to address the ramifications of the blow up and help the task force get back on track by rebuilding trust within the group and clarifying what the task force would do regarding the charge of poor sales forecasting.


By meeting with each task force member the facilitator determines that the areas of concern are financial impact, customer and supplier relations, and human resources.


In groups of six, facilitators and task force members create maps of the conflict using a matrix illustrating how issues should be framed and what agenda the next task force meeting should follow.


Players have 30 minutes of preparation time. Mapping the conflict takes about 70 minutes.


Major Lessons:

  • the effect of relationships on negotiation outcomes
  • resolving conflict and clarifying issues before negotiating
  • techniques for mapping a conflict in an emotionally charged situation
  • overcoming emotional obstacles in problem solving
  • giving order and clarity to a emotional issue
  • decoding communication



Materials Included:

For all parties:

General Instructions


Role-specific instructions for:

B. Davis: Chair of the Task Force

K. Martin: Product design specialist

R. Nakano: Special assistant to the vice resident of Sales


Allies in Alexia


The American Cancer Society (ACS) receives substantial funding from United Way. To reduce the risks of destructive competition for corporate donations and to cement the ties between ACS and United Way, ACS national offices have developed special guidelines for allocating United Way funds within ACS. Several arrangements guaranteeing ACS chapters an annual dollar amount have been in place for years.

Recently, United Way has experienced difficulties, which has led to changes in funding policy. Representatives from three ACS chapters, the United Way, a state utility, and a local nonprofit organization are now meeting to discuss the future of their relationships regarding charitable funding.



  • This simulation provides an opportunity to discuss the difficulties facing charitable concerns in their fundraising efforts.
  • The dichotomy between personal morals and professional concerns is especially clear in a negotiation about charitable giving.
  • While most of these people have the negotiations have the same long term goals (helping people fight cancer), they have very different short-term goals.
  • Learning how to work together despite previous disagreements is a major factor in this game.



This simulation was developed for the staff and volunteers of the American Cancer Society in order to assist them in handling the competitive relationships that have developed in the context of fundraising.



For all parties:

  • General Instructions


Role Specific:

Confidential Instructions for the Negotiator for:

  • ACS Renville Unit Board Member
  • ACS Belton Unit Staff Member
  • ACS division EVP for Alexia
  • United Way of Renville Board member (CEO of Granite)
  • United Way of Belton Staff director
  • Lifeline Executive Director
  • Alexia Power and Light CEO


Teacher's Package (77 pages total):

  • All of the above




Not-for-profit management; multiparty negotiating; managing conflict inside the organization; fund-raising




Alplaus Supply Company


The senior field representative for Alplaus Supply Company is meeting with the General Manager of a company that prints and distributes many kinds of documents. The general manager recently bought a machine that performed simple folding and envelope-stuffing tasks. The machine was a good deal, but now the company is having some problems with it. The general manager wants to return the machine. The field representative knows that Alplaus has already gone over their returns budget for this month. This negotiation is based on The Blender by Bruce Patton.


This is a simple two party that may be done with teams or individually.


Role Specific:

  • General Manager
  • Field Representative for Alplaus Supply Company


Teacher's Package:

  • All of the above



  • The scenario makes it easy to slip into a negative, reactive mode, with unsatisfactory outcomes usually resulting.
  • Those parties willing to consider the perceptions and interests of the other party relevant can usually engage effectively in mutually beneficial joint problem solving.
  • The perception of who is in power in this negotiation and how that affected the results of the negotiation can be explored by comparing different groups.
  • In this negotiation, unlike in The Blender, the two parties have a previous relationship, and may have one in the future. The values involved are also much larger.




Ancolet Corp. v. Elson Realty Trust


Ancolet Corporation is a small manufacturing company. They rent space from Elson Realty Trust. Recently, Ancolet needed to re-configure their space in order to make room for new equipment. They made a deal with Elson, and Elson employees began construction. Many problems ensued. Ancolet put its rent payments in an escrow account for the last several months in protest. They are now suing Elson for lost revenue due to the damage done to their machines and the business lost during the construction. Elson counter-sued for the rent due. The judge wants the case settled before it comes to trial. Now the lawyers and their clients are meeting to discuss settlement.



For all parties:

  • General Instructions
  • Statement of Damages


Role specific:

  • Elson (and counsel)
  • Ancolet (and counsel)


Teacher's package:

  • All of the above



  • The potential tension between preserving a good working relationship and pressing hard for what might be seen as substantive concessions is a central concern.
  • One side is specifically told that they are tough negotiators. It is interesting to see how that affects their style during the actual negotiation.
  • There is an enormous gap between how much money Ancolet wants to receive and how much Elson is willing to pay. A lot of creativity is required in order to settle this case.
  • There is a very small zone of agreement.




Armenia/Azerbaijan/Nagorno Karabakh


This case is based on the ethnic conflict between the ex-Soviet Transcaucasian states of Armenia and Azerbaijan over the predominantly Armenian enclave of Nagorno Karabakh, located within Azerbaijan. Armenia and Azerbaijan have been at war with each other since the late 1980s, although animosities go back many centuries. This study brings together influential private citizens from both sides of the conflict and attempts to involve them in an interactive dialogue intended to change relationships among the participants. It is based on the assumption that, although governments are the official bodies responsible for making peace agreements, citizens have a critical role in peace-making, as they are best equipped to address the non-negotiable human issues in ethnic conflicts. The case study is based on real-life efforts undertaken by several U.S.-based non-governmental organizations to bring together influential individuals from countries entangled in bitter ethnic wars.

Each party in this negotiation has experienced more or less directly the war that has engulfed the region. Not only do the participants have fresh memories of the wrongdoings by the other side, but they also carry with them a sense of historical injustice for the real or exaggerated harms perpetrated by the other nation. Each group does not realize, however, that the other one carries a different and incompatible view of the history of the region. These different views are a product of diverging versions of history perpetrated through the educational system and word-of-mouth learning.

The parties must deal with the issues of fairness, historical injustice, historical blaming and, if possible, the power of apologizing. They have to grapple with the difficulty of moving beyond the circle of hate, which they have been conditioned to nurture. They have to face the decision of whether to acknowledge the pain and suffering on the other side and whether to end the blaming game, becoming able to make plans for the future with the perceived "enemy." Finally, they must engage in the process of building coalitions not only within their own group but perhaps also with the other.



This is a 13-participant, two-team facilitated role simulation. It may be played without a facilitator if necessary. Both teams should meet privately before the official negotiation begins. The intra-team preparation time should take at least 1 hour, and the actual negotiation time ranges between 4 and 6 hours. Debriefing may be run at another time and should last at least 1 hour.



For all parties:

  • International Daily New Article
  • Public Peace Process Policy
  • Soviet Nationalities Policy


For each team:

  • Armenian history(for Armenian team)
  • Azerbaijani history (for Azerbaijani Team)


Role specific:

  • Fuad
  • Irana
  • Maral
  • Yosef
  • Marif
  • Adrineh
  • Anoush
  • Armen
  • Haig
  • Levon
  • Narmina
  • Facilitator


Teacher's Package (46 pages total):

  • All of the above
  • Facilitator's guide
  • Teaching Note



  • The importance of understanding the human dimension in ethnic conflicts and the difficulty of proposing solutions without grasping the complexity of the relationship.
  • The application and study of the major negotiation techniques in settings that do not involve negotiating, e.g., active listening.
  • The role of partisan perceptions, prejudices, and blaming in ethnic conflicts, and ways to move beyond them.

Ballet’s Me Too


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.

Bamara Border Dispute


Durnia and Ebegon, two developing nations, have not yet settled their common border. This issue has become critical due to recent oil and mineral development opportunities that have arisen in areas of uncertain ownership. Unfortunately, the two departing colonialist powers left behind substantially overlapping claims, and the history of the region has been marked by tribal conflict. Relations have been deteriorating, and, with the good offices of the U.N., the two countries have sent teams to negotiate a border.

Each team is composed of representatives from its country's Ministries of Foreign Relations, War, and Finance–each of which has a different perspective of the national interest. During the middle of the negotiations, war breaks out. Each side receives a telegram blaming the war on the other side, but the military situation is so fluid that each side is also instructed to seek a cease-fire, a withdrawal of troops, and a resolution of the border, on the best possible terms. Any cease-fire must take into account the fact that where the troops end up will very likely determine the de facto border, unless other arrangements are carefully made.



Each team should prepare thoroughly, including meeting ahead of time to negotiate priorities and to discuss strategy. The principal negotiation between the two country delegations takes place in two hours.



For all parties:

  • U.N. Report on Background of Dispute – includes maps


Role Specific:

  • Confidential Instructions for Durnian Diplomats
  • Confidential Instructions for Ebegonian Diplomats.
  • Initial War Telegram & War Map for Durnian Diplomats
  • Initial War Telegram & War Map for Ebegonian Diplomats
  • Subsequent War Telegram for Durnian Diplomats
  • Subsequent War Telegram for Ebegonian Diplomats


Teacher's Package (24 pages total):

  • All of the above
  • Teacher's Instructions



  • This simulation provides a good vehicle for experimenting with different negotiating strategies. There are a fair number of interests with varying intensities, some shared, some dove-tailing, and other others conflicting. Options for joint gain are plentiful. There are a number of objective criteria as well, in the form of natural features and historical boundaries with varying degrees of legitimacy. Hence, there is no obvious "most fair" solution, and skillful semi-positional bargainers can do quite well.
  • The outbreak of the war can have various effects, depending on the relationship and communication patterns established by the negotiators up to that point.
  • Information exchange is helpful in ameliorating the military crisis and developing intelligent solutions that maximize joint gains. On the other hand, much advantage can be gained by not revealing certain important pieces of information — raising questions of deception and misrepresentation.
  • The simulation provides a good study of the effects of shifting degrees of risk. The war version places the parties under pressure that may result in a power imbalance.
  • Comparisons between internal and international negotiations are illustrative.





Agenda control; Anchoring; BATNA; Bluffing; Caucusing; Communication; Competition v. Cooperation; Constituents; Creativity; Ethics; Fairness; Force; Group Process; Information exchange; Interests, dovetailing; Joint gains; legitimacy; Linkage; Managing uncertainty; Meaning of "success"; Meeting design; Misrepresentation; Objective Criteria; One-text procedure; Options, generating; Partisan perceptions; Personality; Political constraints, dealing with; Power imbalance; Preparation; Precedents; Pressure tactics; Reality testing; Risk aversion; Systems of negotiations; Threats

Big Pipeline in Swagwit


Big Pipeline, a construction company, is building a pipeline through land owned by First Nation (Native American) peoples. Twenty years ago, a similar project by the same company left many of the indigenous peoples feeling dissatisfied and unhappy – this has resulted in tensions in this current negotiation. Happily, most of the issues between the Mountain Home Band, the group of First Nations people who will be the most affected, and Big Pipeline have been worked out. One major issue remains – allocation of job opportunities. How many laborers should be used for the construction project and how many of these jobs should be reserved for Mountain Home Band people?



It is possible to negotiate agreements that create gains for you and for them–you can both beat your BATNA. To create joint gains, use the Mutual Gains Approach:

  • Know your own BATNA and interests
  • Set your aspirations
  • Communicate your interests, and probe for their interests
  • Trade across issues you value differently
  • Use standards you can both accept to help you choose among options and packages


Manage the opportunities and dangers involved in setting aspirations:

  • Set your aspirations high
  • Be responsive to new information; don't be rigid.
  • When you do adjust your aspirations, be careful not to leave value unclaimed.
  • Help your partner do the same.


Negotiate as if relationships mattered:

  • Don't jeopardize long-term relationships by pushing too hard for short-term gain.
  • Effective "cross-cultural" negotiation depends upon making sure you are understood (and understand).
  • The rewards of modest risk-taking can be substantial. There will always be tension between the advantages of cooperation and the need to "compete."
  • Good negotiators develop a repertoire of negotiating styles.
  • You have to talk about relationships to improve them.



This negotiation may be run within 30 minutes with a 10 minute prep-time. You should allow at least 20 minutes for debriefing



For all parties:

  • General Instructions


Role specific:

  • Big Pipeline Project Manager + score sheet
  • Mountain Home Band Chief + score sheet


Additional Teaching Notes:

  • Summary of 'lessons learned'
  • Summary score sheet for 120 players
  • Chart of possible scores

Binder Kadeer


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."

Biography, The


A Student recently handed in a mid-term paper for a class called "Biography and Race." He was extremely proud of the paper, which was written about his Latina nanny. He even sent her a copy. He was dismayed to receive a C+, and called for a meeting with his teaching fellow (TF). The TF in turn is dismayed by the lack of understanding shown by the student, who is one of only two white students taking the course.



Role Specific:

  • Confidential Instructions for the Student
  • Confidential Instructions for the Teaching Fellow


Teacher's Package

  • All of the above



  • This role simulation is a good tool for demonstrating, active listening. The two parties understand the situation very differently. How well they are able to listen to the other position is extremely important to the resolution of the problem.
  • Issues of race, and cultural sensitivity are extremely emotional issues which can quickly derail a negotiation. Both of the participants see the other as deficient in understanding other races. How these thoughts are broached is crucial to the success of the negotiation.
  • This is a simulation with no clear ending. Do the people playing the student just want their grade changed, or do they want to understand what the TF wants? Does the TF want to calm the student down, and provide them with a way to get a higher grade, or do they want to improve the student's sensitivity and writing style? Is the paper the center of the negotiation, or just a side-line?




Brachton Collective Bargaining Exercise

Also known as Brachton School


The Brachton Teacher's Union has been negotiating with the city's School Committee over teacher contracts which will shortly expire Lately, Brachton public schools and teachers, funded largely through local property taxes, have come under some fire. Some fear that political and personal commitment to the Brachton schools has diminished. There is pressure on the school committee, headed by the mayor, for a tax cap and moratorium on all city salaries, including teachers. The issues have been identified and all that is left is for the two groups to hammer out an agreement.



  • There are often legitimate differences within bargaining teams. These internal conflicts ought to be worked out before serious bargaining begins as unresolved internal conflict can create problems when it comes time to ratify carefully crafted draft agreements. This exercise creates opportunity for team participants to practice techniques and strategies of managing internal team conflict.
  • In most collective bargaining situations, each side begins by staking out its position. both usually do this before they even hear what the concerns are of the other side. This often leads to the process of trading concessions which results in minimally acceptable outcomes. To achieve maximum joint gains it is necessary to focus instead on listening to the interests of the other side before staking out opening positions. The best techniques for probing interests can be studied.
  • This exercise allows the players to explore the influence of threats on the behavior of other parties.
  • The game raises questions of relationship, precedent and reputation. all sides have important long-term interests.



For all parties:

  • General Instructions
  • Present Salary Schedule


Role Specific:

Confidential Instructions for the Union

  • Union Representative: Bornhofft
  • Union Representative: McKeller
  • Union Representative: Whitesides
  • New Union Representative


Confidential Instructions for the School Committee

  • Representative: Gray
  • Representative: Pedrotti
  • Representative: Sehnert
  • New School Committee Representative



Agenda control; caucusing; competition v cooperation; consensus building; dovetailing; threats; recurring negotiations; labor-management; school budgets; role of agents



Collective Bargaining at Central Division

MAPO- Adminstration Negotiation

Browning Brothers Search


To be taught in courses on leadership and negotiation, this role play asks a search committee, consisting of five to six players, to explore characteristics needed in a new leader to right Browning Brothers, a large investment bank and brokerage firm, in the midst of crisis.

Browning Brothers’ CEO was recently fired because of financial and legal irregularities that threw the company into a dire situation where its very existence is in jeopardy. At the initial meeting each search committee explores the nature of leadership and reaches consensus on what kind of leader the company needs to survive and reports its findings to the full board.


The exercise also explores the uses of negotiation in leading organizations. Comprehensive Teaching Notes assist instructors in gaining the most value from this simulation.



Teaching Notes (including the Sub-Committee Report)

Board Members’ Instructions



• Effective leadership, rather than being a personal quality that resides in special individuals, is vitally dependent on the context of the organization, its particular needs at a given moment, and whether its leaders have the skills to meet those needs


• Negotiation is a crucially important skill for any leader. How leaders negotiate determines in large measure their ability to achieve organizational objectives.


• Effective organizational leadership requires skill at conducting multilateral negotiations and effective coalition building.