Cross-Cultural Negotiation Role-Play:

Bamara Border Dispute

Michael D. Landry
Two-team, multi-issue negotiation between representatives of two fictional countries regarding a disputed border and a military stand-off

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SCENARIO:

Durnia and Ebegon, two developing nations, have not yet settled their common border. This issue has become critical due to recent oil and mineral development opportunities that have arisen in areas of uncertain ownership. Unfortunately, the two departing colonialist powers left behind substantially overlapping claims, and the history of the region has been marked by tribal conflict. Relations have been deteriorating, and, with the good offices of the U.N., the two countries have sent teams to negotiate a border.

Each team is composed of representatives from its country’s Ministries of Foreign Relations, War, and Finance–each of which has a different perspective of the national interest. During the middle of the negotiations, war breaks out. Each side receives a telegram blaming the war on the other side, but the military situation is so fluid that each side is also instructed to seek a cease-fire, a withdrawal of troops, and a resolution of the border, on the best possible terms. Any cease-fire must take into account the fact that where the troops end up will very likely determine the de facto border, unless other arrangements are carefully made.

 

MECHANICS:

Each team should prepare thoroughly, including meeting ahead of time to negotiate priorities and to discuss strategy. The principal negotiation between the two country delegations takes place in two hours.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

For all parties:

  • U.N. Report on Background of Dispute – includes maps

 

Role Specific:

  • Confidential Instructions for Durnian Diplomats
  • Confidential Instructions for Ebegonian Diplomats.
  • Initial War Telegram & War Map for Durnian Diplomats
  • Initial War Telegram & War Map for Ebegonian Diplomats
  • Subsequent War Telegram for Durnian Diplomats
  • Subsequent War Telegram for Ebegonian Diplomats

 

Teacher’s Package (24 pages total):

  • All of the above
  • Teacher’s Instructions

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • This simulation provides a good vehicle for experimenting with different negotiating strategies. There are a fair number of interests with varying intensities, some shared, some dove-tailing, and other others conflicting. Options for joint gain are plentiful. There are a number of objective criteria as well, in the form of natural features and historical boundaries with varying degrees of legitimacy. Hence, there is no obvious “most fair” solution, and skillful semi-positional bargainers can do quite well.
  • The outbreak of the war can have various effects, depending on the relationship and communication patterns established by the negotiators up to that point.
  • Information exchange is helpful in ameliorating the military crisis and developing intelligent solutions that maximize joint gains. On the other hand, much advantage can be gained by not revealing certain important pieces of information — raising questions of deception and misrepresentation.
  • The simulation provides a good study of the effects of shifting degrees of risk. The war version places the parties under pressure that may result in a power imbalance.
  • Comparisons between internal and international negotiations are illustrative.

 

SIMILAR SIMULATIONS:

 

PROCESS THEMES:

Agenda control; Anchoring; BATNA; Bluffing; Caucusing; Communication; Competition v. Cooperation; Constituents; Creativity; Ethics; Fairness; Force; Group Process; Information exchange; Interests, dovetailing; Joint gains; legitimacy; Linkage; Managing uncertainty; Meaning of “success”; Meeting design; Misrepresentation; Objective Criteria; One-text procedure; Options, generating; Partisan perceptions; Personality; Political constraints, dealing with; Power imbalance; Preparation; Precedents; Pressure tactics; Reality testing; Risk aversion; Systems of negotiations; Threats

 

Bamara Border Dispute Attributes

Time required:
2-3 hours
Number of participants:
6
Teams involved:
Yes
Agent present:
Non-lawyer
Neutral third party present:
None
Scoreable:
No
Teaching notes available:
Yes
PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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Soft copy vs. hard copy

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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.