Business and Commercial Role-Play:

Akron Steel


Allison Berland

A non-team, multi-issue, non-scorable exercise that gives participants an opportunity to map a conflict at the workplace.


Please note: you must order a copy (a.k.a. license/usage fee) for every person participating in the simulation in your course. This simulation has multiple roles, so you will be unable to complete your purchase without meeting the minimum quantity requirement of copies per role.

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PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. All Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

To order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.

If you are ordering hard copies, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Quantity.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.

Bulk Pricing Discount

For bulk orders, we offer the following pricing discounts. Please note that these only apply to bulk orders of the same simulation.

  • Between 100-250 copies – 10% discount
  • Between 251-500 copies – 25% discount
  • More than 500 copies – 50% discount
Log In or Register to download the free Teacher's Package Sample.


Akron Steel, one of the largest recyclers of ferrous metals in the U.S., is looking to expand even more in the next five years. Poor sales performance over the last six months, however, may limit Akron’s access to capital for expansion. A task force investigates the problem to determine the reasons for poor sales performance and provide recommendations to correct the problem.


When it’s discovered that regional sales managers were overstating their sales estimates the presentation goes ahead but tempers flare. A facilitator is brought in for a follow-up meeting to address the ramifications of the blow up and help the task force get back on track by rebuilding trust within the group and clarifying what the task force would do regarding the charge of poor sales forecasting.


By meeting with each task force member the facilitator determines that the areas of concern are financial impact, customer and supplier relations, and human resources.


In groups of six, facilitators and task force members create maps of the conflict using a matrix illustrating how issues should be framed and what agenda the next task force meeting should follow.


Players have 30 minutes of preparation time. Mapping the conflict takes about 70 minutes.


Major Lessons:

  • the effect of relationships on negotiation outcomes
  • resolving conflict and clarifying issues before negotiating
  • techniques for mapping a conflict in an emotionally charged situation
  • overcoming emotional obstacles in problem solving
  • giving order and clarity to a emotional issue
  • decoding communication



Materials Included:

For all parties:

General Instructions


Role-specific instructions for:

B. Davis: Chair of the Task Force

K. Martin: Product design specialist

R. Nakano: Special assistant to the vice resident of Sales


Akron Steel Attributes

Time required: 70 Minutes
Teams involved: No
Agent present: No
Neutral third party present: Yes
Scoreable: No
Teaching notes available: No
Author: Allison Berland