Intermediate Negotiation Skills

Assuming learners have mastered the material in an introductory negotiation course, the next step is to introduce a second level of concepts and methods. One has to do with culture and cross-cultural negotiation. A second has to do with gender. The third has to do with the emergence of coalitions as the number of negotiating parties increases from two to “more than two.” Everything in the basic course still applies, but culture, gender and the number of parties can change everything.

Hiring a Newtonian forces learners to confront the difficulties of cross-cultural communication and the important role that cognitive biases play in negotiation. River Bend introduces indigeneity as a cross-cultural consideration while Bakra Beverage postulates a business negotiation in a region of the world that poses difficulties for the parties. Casino Two offers a negotiating challenge that is rooted in assumptions about gender and gender bias in the business world. While Carson Extension requires parties with very difficult values to see if they can reach an agreement on how to respond to environmental contamination created by one side’s business development efforts.

The Three-Party Coalition Exercise is a great teaching tool for demonstrating the impact that coalition behavior can have on a negotiating situation. It also raises questions about sources of power in negotiation that learners will find surprising.

Recommended Simulations

Hiring a Newtonian

Hiring a Newtonian, by Robert Smith and Ericka Gray, is a two-party, one-hour, multi-issue negotiation between a human resources director and a prospective employee, a computer programmer, over terms of hire that highlight cultural differences. The computer programmer, a recent immigrant from “Newtonia,” has certain requirements that cannot be disclosed for fear of invoking bad luck. The Newtonian also has cultural expectations of how the Human Resources Director should behave in order to transact business comfortably. The Human Resources Director simply has the task of hiring this candidate who has been interviewed and recommended for hire. There is a given salary range, an established list of benefits, and regular start dates from which the Human Resources Director can operate. Major lessons include cross-cultural communication and integrative bargaining.

River Bend

River Bend, by Kelly Davenport, Patrick Field, and Lawrence Susskind, is a two-team, five-hour, four-issue negotiation between three members of a Native Canadian band and three representatives of Calgary Central Gas over a planned pipeline through the band’s reservation. Calgary Central Gas (‘CC Gas’) is planning to build a natural gas plant near the reserve of the native Canadian River Bend band (‘the Band’). 22 years ago, CC Gas laid a gas pipeline through the same reserve, for which it paid a standard right-of-way fee to the band. The currently selected site for the new plant would require the laying new pipeline to connect the new plant to the main pipeline. Representatives of CC Gas and of the River Bend band, together with an advisor from the Federal Fair Tax Commission, are meeting to discuss what CC Gas should pay the River Bend band for the right-of-way to construct the pipeline; whether CC Gas will provide any jobs or create economic development opportunities for the band; whether and how the River Bend band will tax CC Gas for the main pipeline and the new pipeline; and what steps will be taken to ensure the health and safety of the River Bend band members and the wildlife on the reserve. Major lessons of this simulation include cross-cultural communication, internal negotiation, generating creative options.

Bakra Beverage

Bakra Beverage, by Dan Vogel, Robert Bordone, and Gillien Todd, is a two-party, two-hour negotiation between a beverage manufacturer, BebsiCo, and a soft drink distributor, Bakra, who are negotiating a distribution contract in the Middle Eastern country of Kumar. 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 and Bakra Beverage are both eager to sign a new distribution contract. 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.

Carson Extension

Carson Extension, by Holly Goo and Lawrence Susskind, is a six-party, three-hour, 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. Carson Rug Company is a middle-sized, family-owned business located in Garth, along the Melrose River. Carson applied for an Army Corps of Engineers permit to construct a seawall extending into the Melrose River. After this application was denied, Caron’s second application, specifying a considerable smaller extension, was approved. However, the actual modifications nearly doubled the size of the authorized seawall fill. Carson contends that the noncompliance was unintentional and blames the engineering firm for misinterpreting instructions. Representatives from the Army Corps, Garth Town Council, Hills Engineering, an environmental group, and the president of Carson Rug must negotiate the removal of the seawall fill in a manner that is agreeable to all. Major lessons in this simulation include coalitions in multiparty negotiations, the advantages and disadvantages of honesty in negotiation, and the utility of neutral process managers.

Casino Two

Casino Two, an adaptation by Leah Stokes of the original Casino simulation by Sheila Heen, Scott Peppet, and John Richardson, is a two-party, two-hour, intra-organizational discussion between a newly promoted manager and her division vice-president over work performance and office environment issues. 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.

Three-Party Coalition Exercise

Three-Party Coalition Exercise, by Lawrence Susskind, is a three-party, one-hour, scoreable negotiation among representatives of three organizations over the integrative and distributive aspects of a possible 2- or 3-party coalition. Three independent organizations, “A,” “B” and “C,” have sent representatives to a three-way negotiation. The representatives have learned that there are benefits to working together. If all three groups reach an agreement, benefits totaling 121 points will be split three ways (to be determined by the participants). If only two of the organizations reach an agreement, the total benefits to be split will be less than 121 and the third party will be left with nothing.

Recommended Books

Larry Susskind, Good for You, Great For Me, Public Affairs, 2014.

William Ury, Getting Past No: Negotiating in Difficult Situations, Bantam Books, 1993.