Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation 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.

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Scenario:

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

Facilitator

 

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
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 are then permitted to view the document on your computer and either print the number of copies you purchased, or forward the electronic file as many times as the number of copies you purchased. You will only receive a link to one electronic file per document. So, if you order 25 soft copies, you may either forward copies of the link to 25 people via e-mail, or print (and/or photocopy) 25 hard copies of the document.

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

The purchase price and handling fee are the same for both soft and hard copies. Soft copies do not entail a shipping fee.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 781-966-2751 (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 http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 781-966-2751 (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, then you should order a single Teacher’s Package for that role simulation. A PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package is also available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. There is no need to order participant materials as well as a Teacher’s Package, as 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. Please note that the materials in Teacher’s Packages are for the instructor’s review and reference only, and may not be duplicated for use with participants.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

If you wish 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 “Participant Copies.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required; 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 “Participant Copies.” 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.