Salvaging the deal

By PON Staffon / Daily, Negotiation Skills

The Clearinghouse at PON offers hundreds of role simulations, from two-party, single-issue negotiations to complex multi-party exercises. Tendley Contract is a two-party integrative contract negotiation between a computer consultant and a school district representative at an apparent impasse over different expectations over cost of services.

SCENARIO: A school district and a computer consultant are negotiating a potential contract for repair of the school district’s failed computer network. Both parties are eager to work with each other: the consultant’s qualifications appear perfect for the school district’s needs, and the school district would help the consultant connect with additional governmental clients. After a fair amount of negotiation, however, the parties find themselves at an impasse: the consultant’s bid (which the consultant feels is very low) is considerably higher than the school’s budget for this project. The consultant and a school representative have agreed to meet one last time in an effort to salvage the deal.

This simulation happens to involve a consulting contract, but the negotiation lessons are generic. The exercise can be used simply to illustrate the importance of the creative, option-generating aspect of negotiation. More importantly, it can also be used as the principal vehicle for presenting integrative theory more broadly.

MECHANICS: This case can be prepared and conducted quickly. Allow 5-15 minutes for preparation, 10-30 minutes for negotiation, and 20-45 minutes for debriefing.

MATERIALS INCLUDE:

  • Confidential Instructions for:
    • Representative for the Tendley school district
    • The consultant
  • Teacher’s Package includes:
    • All of the above
    • Teaching Note (English version only)

PROCESS THEMES: breaking impasses, creating options, identifying interests, transforming problems from zero-sum to non-zero-sum, mutual gains, linkage to other possible deals, building a long-term relationship.

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • This exercise is an excellent vehicle for comparing interest-based negotiation and positional bargaining. Conventional offer/counteroffer positional bargaining will almost always fail in this case.
  • Joint problem-solving and creative option generation can help overcome an apparent negotiation impasse.
  • Creative option generation can involve rescoping the task, rescoping the time frame, and trading on different priorities, among other possibilities.

To purchase this role simulation, click here.