What’s one of the best ways to teach the art and science of conflict resolution? With negotiation case studies that spark lively discussion or facilitate self-reflection. Based on real-world examples, these teaching resources are designed to help students envision how to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom and beyond.
Great Negotiation Case Studies
The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School bestows this prestigious honor on distinguished leaders whose lifelong accomplishments in the field of dispute resolution and negotiation have had compelling and lasting results. A number of Great Negotiation case studies also offer additional video material featuring detailed interviews with award recipients.
Text-Based Great Negotiation Cases Include:
- Tommy Koh – The United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (2014)
Designed to help students examine complex multi-party negotiations across multiple fronts, exploring strategies for sustained assessment of barriers in a negotiation campaign. The A case establishes the background for negotiation and the B case discusses Koh’s efforts to reach an agreement.
- Lakhdar Brahimi – Negotiating a New Government for Afghanistan (2002)
Examines former U.N. Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi’s involvement in negotiating an interim Afghani government after the fall of the Taliban in 2001.
- Stuart Eizenstat – Negotiating the Final Accounts of World War II (2003)
Examines former EU Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat’s career as a negotiator, with special emphasis on his work negotiating reparations for victims of the Holocaust.
- Charlene Barshefsky – Negotiating a Trade Agreement with China (2001)
Describes the challenges former United States Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky faced in negotiating a trade agreement with China to improve its domestic intellectual property rights enforcement regime.
- George Mitchell – In Northern Ireland “To Hell with the Future, Let’s Get On With the Past” (2000)
Examines the strategies and tactics used by U.S. negotiator George Mitchell during his two-year tenure as chairman of the all-party talks in Northern Ireland between 1996 and 1998. His efforts culminated in the signing of the historic Good Friday Accords.
Video-Based Great Negotiator Cases Include:
- Great Negotiator 2004: Richard Holbrooke
Video featuring the personal accounts of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke regarding his role in brokering the Dayton agreement that ended the 1992-95 war in Bosnia as well as his role in resolving the multinational dispute over U.S. dues owed in arrears to the United Nations.
- Great Negotiator 2003: Stuart Eizenstat
Video featuring the personal accounts of Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat regarding his efforts negotiating reparations for victims of Nazi Germany.
- Great Negotiator 2002: Lakhdar Brahimi
Video featuring the personal accounts of Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi regarding his international negotiation experiences, including negotiating a new government for Afghanistan in 2002.
TNRC’s Newest Negotiation Case Study
- A Green Victory Against Great Odds, But Was It Too Little Too Late?
Provides an in-depth view of the major US nonprofit environmental groups that advocated throughout 2007 for a bill that would address vehicle pollution, electricity pollution, and other areas contributing to global climate change.
See our recent Q&A with Author Gina Coplon-Newfield for more information.
Best-In-Class Negotiation Case Studies
- Negotiating About Pandas for San Diego Zoo
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. The case concerns the executive director of a zoo in the U.S. who seeks two giant pandas. This majestic endangered species is available from only one source on the planet: China.
- The Mariyinsky Palace Negotiations
Focuses on the negotiations to resolve the political crisis caused by the disputed 2004 Ukrainian presidential election. These negotiations culminated in an unprecedented second runoff election and a victory for the opposition Viktor Yushchenko.
- Negotiating a Template for Labor Standards
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 interviews with some of the primary players to give a true inside look into a challenging international negotiation.
Take your training to the next level with the TNRC
The Teaching Negotiation Resource Center offers a wide range of effective teaching materials, including
- Over 200 role-play simulations
- Critical negotiation case studies
- Enlightening periodicals
- More than 30 videos
- 100-plus books
Most TNRC materials are designed for educational purposes— for use in college classrooms or corporate training settings. TNRC cases and exercises help mediators and facilitators introduce their clients to a process or issue and help individuals who want to enhance their negotiation skills and knowledge.
Negotiation case studies introduce participants to new negotiation and dispute resolution tools, techniques and strategies. Videos are also a helpful way of introducing viewers to key concepts, and TNRC books, role-play simulations, and periodicals address the theory and practice of negotiation and conflict management.
Are there any negotiation case studies that have helped you? Share them in the comments.
Article originally written in 2015.