Teach by Example with These Negotiation Case Studies

By — on / Teaching Negotiation

distributive negotiation

Negotiation case studies use the power of example to teach negotiation strategies. Looking to past negotiations where students can analyze what approaches the parties took and how effective they were in reaching an agreement, can help students gain new insights into negotiation dynamics. The Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) has a variety of negotiation case studies to help students learn by example.

Negotiating About Pandas for San Diego Zoo – Featured Case Study 

The Negotiating About Pandas for San Diego Zoo case study centers on the most challenging task for a negotiator: to reach a satisfactory agreement with a tough counterpart from a position of low power—and to do so in an uncommon context. This case focuses on the executive director of a zoo in the U.S. who seeks two giant pandas, an endangered species, from their only source on the planet: China. Compounding the difficulty, many other zoos are also trying to obtain giant pandas—the “rock stars” of the zoo world. Yet, as if relative bargaining power were not enough to preoccupy the zoo director, it is not his only major challenge.

His zoo’s initiative attracts attention from a wide range of stakeholders, from nongovernmental (NGO) conservation groups to government agencies on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. Several of these organizations ardently oppose the zoo’s efforts, while others change their positions over time. All of this attention influences the zoo’s negotiations. Therefore, a second challenging task for the zoo director is to monitor events in the negotiating environment and manage their effects on his negotiations with Chinese counterparts.

This three-part case is based on the actual negotiations and offers lessons for business, law and government students and professionals in multiple subject areas. Preview a Negotiating About Pandas for San Diego Zoo Teacher’s Package to learn more.

Camp Lemonnier Case Study – Featured Case Study 

In the spring of 2014, representatives from the United States of America and the Republic of Djibouti were in the midst of renegotiations over Camp Lemonnier, the only permanent U.S. base on the continent of Africa. Djibouti, bordering Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, has been home to Camp Lemonnier since the September 11, 2001 attacks prompted the United States to seek a temporary staging ground for U.S. Marines in the region. Since then, Camp Lemonnier has expanded to nearly 500 acres and a base of unparalleled importance, in part because it is one of the busiest Predator drone bases outside of the Afghan warzone.

Tensions between the United States and Djibouti have flared in recent years, due in large part to a string of collisions and close calls because of Djiboutian air-traffic controllers’ job performance at the airport. Americans have complained about the training of air-traffic controllers at the commercial airport. Additionally, labor disputes have arisen at the base where the United States is one of the largest non-government employers within the country.

Major lessons of this case study include:

  • Defining BATNA: what is each party’s BATNA?
  • Understanding the Zone of Possible Agreement (ZOPA)
  • The impact of culture in negotiation.
  • Uncovering interests.
  • Principal-agent dynamics.
  • Uncovering sources of power in negotiation.

This case is based on the real 2014 negotiations between the United States of America and the Republic of Djibouti. Preview a Camp Lemonnier Case Study Teacher’s Package to learn more.

A Green Victory Against Great Odds, But Was It Too Little Too Late? – Featured Case Study 

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, government, climate change, sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and more. Preview A Green Victory Against Great Odds Teacher’s Package to learn more.

Negotiating a Template for Labor Standards – Featured Case Study

Negotiating a Template for Labor Standards: The U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement is a detailed factual case study that tracks the negotiation of the labor provisions in the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement signed into law on January 1, 2004. It draws upon a range of published and unpublished sources and interview with some of the primary players to give a true inside look into a challenging international negotiation. Written primarily from the point of view of the lead U.S. negotiator for the labor chapter, the case study discusses the two countries’ interests and positions on the labor provisions, the possible templates available from prior agreements, the complex political maneuvering involved, and the course of the negotiations themselves – from the opening talks to the various obstacles to the final post-agreement celebration. Preview a Negotiating a Template for Labor Standards Teacher’s Package to learn more.


Take your training to the next level with the TNRC

The Teaching Negotiation Resource Center offers a wide range of effective teaching materials, including

TNRC negotiation exercises and teaching materials are designed for educational purposes. They are used in college classroom settings or corporate training settings; used by mediators and facilitators seeking to introduce their clients to a process or issue; and used by individuals who want to enhance their negotiation skills and knowledge.

Negotiation exercises and role-play simulations introduce participants to new negotiation and dispute resolution tools, techniques and strategies. Our videos, books, case studies, and periodicals are also a helpful way of introducing students to key concepts while addressing the theory and practice of negotiation.

Check out all that the TNRC has in store >>

Related Posts


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *