Axis Affair


Version A: Axis Electronics is a huge Silicon Valley-based computer firm with its Microcomputer Development division of sixty employees located just outside Boston. Richard Van Heusen, Executive Vice President of Microcomputer Development, hired Denise Webster, a life-long New Englander with high academic credentials in microcomputers, to work as a manager in the division; she is the first female manager in that division, and the only professional woman with whom Richard has dealt in twenty years of business. An extremely challenging work assignment (solo development of a mouse/drawing pad prototype), followed by a series of social advances by Richard, leads Denise to work at home and miss work without explanation. Richard, stating that the project is in jeopardy and that Denise is not committed to Axis, demotes her from her position as project head and gives her notice of termination. Denise's attorney meets with Axis' in-house counsel to discuss the situation and attempt to resolve it before commencing any formal legal activity. Neither party knows much about the other's interest. Resolution of the situation is possible without litigation; while there are salary and profit figures to be handled, and agreement should not occur unless the specific problems of possible sexual harassment and gender discrimination between Richard and Denise are discussed and settled, and a company policy and grievance process for future situations is discussed as well.


Version B: Same as Version A, except that Axis Electronics is a 500-employee computer firm located in Massachusetts; Denise is not specified to be a lifelong New Englander, and has experience with personal computers as well as microcomputers. In this version, it may be possible to gloss over the current situation, but it will not be possible to reach an agreement which involves rehiring Denise but does not set up a company policy and grievance process for handling future situations involving possible sexual harassment and gender discrimination.



The exercise works best with one attorney per side. The parties' instructions require 20-30 minutes to read and analyze. Negotiation can take 40-50 minutes; review can last anywhere from 40-90 minutes.



For all parties:

  • Review Questionnaire


Role Specific:

  • Axis Electronics Attorney
  • Denise Webster's Attorney


Teacher's Package (26 pages total):

  • All of the above material
  • Teaching Note
  • List of Suggested Readings



  • The partisan perceptions on each side can contribute to difficulty in understanding the other party's "take" on the situation and its causes. Attempts to educate can take place at two levels: educating the other negotiator, and educating the client. Participants can discuss how partisan perceptions affected their acceptance of differing interpretations of the case at hand, and the methods they used to try to educate their negotiating partner. The group can discuss possible ways to educate clients, in the initial interviews and in the post-negotiation discussion and presentation of an agreement for approval (this will be helpful for the client memos each side is required to write after the exercise and review).
  • Fairness and power imbalance questions are triggered by the issues of sexual harassment and gender discrimination present in the exercise. These two problems can be specifically addressed, or they can be broadened to serve as a base of discussion of difference issues in negotiating. Participants can explore the possibilities of miscommunication, societal causes, how the presence of a possible stereotype or difference affects negotiating strategy, and how to balance a desire for social change with the client's interests in this case.





Attorney/Client relations; BATNA; Disclosure; Issues of difference; Fairness; Interests, dovetailing; Interests, internal ordering; Lawyering; Objective criteria; Partisan perceptions; Power imbalance

Bakra Beverage


If you are new to teaching negotiation or are looking to go in-depth on the fundamental negotiation concepts, the Bakra Beverage All-In-One Curriculum Package will provide you with everything you need to teach negotiation.

The All-In-One Curriculum Package makes it easy to teach negotiation, track learning outcomes, and includes materials for the instructor as well as for students.

Materials include: 

  • Instructor’s Guide – Guide for instructors on negotiation concepts, simulation logistics, and debriefing simulation participants.
  • Instructor Background Reading List – List of background readings for instructors to complete before using the simulation to gain a better understanding of the negotiation concepts.
  • Student Background Reading List – List of background readings for students to complete before the simulation to gain understanding of the negotiation concepts.
  • Confidential Role Instructions – Confidential role-specific materials for participants in the exercise.
  • Pre-Negotiation Surveys – After completing the background reading and/or presentation of the negotiation concepts, participants complete the online Pre-Negotiation Survey to benchmark their understanding of the key learning points the game is intended to teach.
  • Agreement Outcome Form – Participants reporting the results of any agreements reached in the simulation.
  • Post-Negotiation Survey – After finishing the simulation, but before the debrief, participants fill out the Post-Negotiation Survey so Instructors can gauge participants understanding of the issues and concepts.
  • Class PowerPoint Presentation – The first part of the PowerPoint slide deck is for the instructor to use to introduce negotiation concepts, how to participate in a negotiation simulation, and Bakra Beverage. The second part is for the instructor to use in debriefing the simulation with participants.
  • Feedback Survey – At the conclusion of the exercise, participants can give feedback on the process and outcomes.

The Bakra Beverage All-In-One Curriculum Package requires a minimum of 90 minutes of class time, but is best run in a two and half or three-hour class. To order this package, you must purchase a minimum of ten copies. A separate copy must be purchased for every participant in the exercise. The materials are all single use and must be re-purchased for subsequent uses.


Structurally almost identical to the Sally Soprano role simulation, Bakra Beverage is a two-party, nonscorable negotiation between a beverage manufacturer and a soft drink distributor over the terms of a potential distribution contract.

BebsiCo is a multi-billion-dollar, multinational soft drink manufacturer interested in expanding its operations into the Middle Eastern country of Kumar. The distributor that was supposed to handle BebsiCo’s new distribution campaign, Kabir Cola, decided suddenly last week to close its Kumari operations and focus on other Middle Eastern countries. BebsiCo is eager to sign a new distribution contract with the Kumar-based Bakra Beverage, a financially troubled but reputable soft drink distributor. Indeed, BebsiCo headquarters has authorized its Director of Middle East Operations to offer Bakra up to $6.75 million per year for the contract, though BebsiCo would like that figure to be lower if possible.

Bakra desperately wants this contract, which would put it back on the map, attract additional clients, and give the company the confidence and certainty about its future that it has been waiting for to purchase Jayyid Juices (a juice and specialty beverage distributor). The contract is so important that Bakra would almost be willing to distribute for BebsiCo for free, except for the impact on future agreements and reputation.

In addition to the wide zone of possible agreement regarding the distribution fee, the simulation includes a range of possible criteria for determining the fee as well as numerous possibilities for value-creating options. Teaching points include the value of focusing on interests to create mutually beneficial options, the power of objective criteria, the effect of both parties’ BATNAs on the negotiation dynamic, and the importance of balancing both process and substance interests when a long-term relationship is at stake.

This simulation may be used as an alternative to Sally Soprano if a more corporate or international context is desired.


Participant materials include:

  • Confidential instructions for Bakra Beverage’s Sales Director
  • Confidential instructions for BebsiCo’s Director of Middle East Operations


Teacher’s package includes:

  • All of the above
  • Teaching note



A digitally enhanced version of this simulation is available through the iDecisionGames platform and includes the following features:

  • An Instructor’s Guide summarizing the negotiation concepts covered in the simulation, a quick review of simulation logistics, and a ready-to-use set of debriefing slides;
  • Highlights from background readings that will help both students and instructors gain a better understanding of negotiation concepts and methods covered in the simulation;
  • Pre- and post-simulation questionnaires instructors can use gauge each student’s grasp of the core concepts before and after participating in the simulation;
  • PowerPoint slides that introduce key concepts before the simulation and highlight lessons for debriefing;
  • Real time, interactive, data analytics provided via the iDecisionGames platform.

To order the Bakra Enhanced Package click here.

Bentley Convertible


Mr. Henry Soles, the wealthy owner of a 1927 custom-made Bentley convertible has hired an agent to sell his car. A corporation has made an offer. The only other likely buyer is Amelia Austin. Mrs. Austin has asked her personal secretary to make an offer for the Bentley. There is no current market price for this unique automobile, although there is some data on various Rolls Royce and other Bentley models. The two representatives are meeting to negotiate the purchase.



After preparation for as little as 5 minutes, this one-on-one negotiation should take 20-40 minutes depending on the skillfulness of the participants. Average review time is 20-40 minutes, or 60-75 minutes if two participants are asked to negotiate the case in front of class.



Role specific:

  • Soles's Representative
  • Amelia Austin's Agent


Teacher's package:

  • All of the above



  • This simple case was designed to explore positional bargaining in a classic situation where objective criteria are scarce. Techniques such as anchoring, asymptotic concessions, final offers, pleading lack of authority, low-balling, and so on, can usually be identified among participants' negotiation tactics.
  • The case also highlights the importance of the fear of being taken, and the role objective criteria can play in handling that fear.
  • The sparseness of the criteria, however, encourage their use as justifications for rigid positions rather than partial data about what might seem fair. This allows a discussion of how the difference manifests in practice and what its consequences are.
  • The relationship of BATNA to bottom line is clearly raised.
  • The differences between agent and principal interests, authority, and strategy are easily explored.





Anchoring; Authority; BATNA; Interests, quantifying; Objective criteria; Offers, first; Reservation price