Negotiating love birds

By — on / Negotiation Skills

The Clearinghouse at PON offers hundreds of role simulations, from two-party, single-issue negotiations to complex multi-party exercises. The Stakes of Engagement is a two-party, multi-issue, scoreable negotiation regarding a prenuptial agreement, calling for a balance of substantive and relationship concerns.

Marlene Mayberry and Jacques Parker are young adults planning their marriage. After dating for three years, they have prepared a list of ten assets that they have decided to include in a prenuptial agreement. The items include a joint checking account, a car, an apartment, furniture, an art gallery, Jacques’ artwork, a portrait of Marlene, California real estate, a $1 million inheritance, and a pet dog. Jacques and Marlene are given confidential instructions that outline specific point values and resistance points for these items. They will each be awarded “tangible points” for the assets they claim for themselves in the prenuptial agreement. There are numerous opportunities for value-creating trades among the ten assets.

At the same time, Jacques and Marlene are instructed to consider the importance of the relationship throughout the negotiation. After the division of all the items has been decided upon, they independently fill out questionnaires that ask them to evaluate each other on five attributes to determine the amount of “process points” they are awarded. The five attributes are respect, trustworthiness, understanding of the other’s needs, openness to future negotiations, and general fondness. These attributes serve as proxies for assessing the future of the relationship based on their experiences during the negotiation. Marlene and Jacques aim to maximize their individual total scores, which are the sums of their “tangible points” and their “process points”. A total point minimum, or “marriage minimum”, is included for each player to gauge the overall success of the negotiation.

The primary teaching points for this simulation include the importance of balancing substantive and process/relationship concerns and the power of trading on differing interests in order to create value in negotiation.

Participant materials include:

  • General instructions for both parties
  • Materials for Jacques Parker:
    • Confidential instructions
    • Score Sheet for tangible items claimed
    • Process Evaluation of Marlene
  • Materials for Marlene Mayberry:
    • Confidential instructions
    • Score Sheet for tangible items claimed
    • Process Evaluation of Jacques

Teacher’s Package includes:

  • All of the above
  • Teaching note

To purchase this role simulation, click here.

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