Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Bentley Convertible

Roger Fisher and Bruce Patton
Two-party distributive negotiation over the sale of a rare automobile

What to Buy?

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Free review copies of non-English Teacher’s Packages will be emailed upon request. Please contact tnrc@law.harvard.edu  or telephone 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 781-966-2751 (outside the U.S.)

SCENARIO:

Mr. Henry Soles, the wealthy owner of a 1927 custom-made Bentley convertible has hired an agent to sell his car. A corporation has made an offer. The only other likely buyer is Amelia Austin. Mrs. Austin has asked her personal secretary to make an offer for the Bentley. There is no current market price for this unique automobile, although there is some data on various Rolls Royce and other Bentley models. The two representatives are meeting to negotiate the purchase.

 

MECHANICS:

After preparation for as little as 5 minutes, this one-on-one negotiation should take 20-40 minutes depending on the skillfulness of the participants. Average review time is 20-40 minutes, or 60-75 minutes if two participants are asked to negotiate the case in front of class.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

Role specific:

  • Soles’s Representative
  • Amelia Austin’s Agent

 

Teacher’s package:

  • All of the above

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • This simple case was designed to explore positional bargaining in a classic situation where objective criteria are scarce. Techniques such as anchoring, asymptotic concessions, final offers, pleading lack of authority, low-balling, and so on, can usually be identified among participants’ negotiation tactics.
  • The case also highlights the importance of the fear of being taken, and the role objective criteria can play in handling that fear.
  • The sparseness of the criteria, however, encourage their use as justifications for rigid positions rather than partial data about what might seem fair. This allows a discussion of how the difference manifests in practice and what its consequences are.
  • The relationship of BATNA to bottom line is clearly raised.
  • The differences between agent and principal interests, authority, and strategy are easily explored.

 

SIMILAR SIMULATIONS:

 

PROCESS THEMES:

Anchoring; Authority; BATNA; Interests, quantifying; Objective criteria; Offers, first; Reservation price

 

Bentley Convertible Attributes

Time required:
30 minutes-1 hour
Number of participants:
2
Teams involved:
No
Agent present:
Non-lawyer
Neutral third party present:
None
Scoreable:
Yes
Teaching notes available:
No
Non-English version available:
French, Portuguese, Greek, Spanish, German
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.