Cross-Cultural Negotiation Role-Play:

Big Pipeline in Swagwit

Kelly Davenport, Pat Field and Lawrence Susskind
Two-party, two-issue integrative negotiation between representatives of a construction company and a Native American group regarding allocation of construction jobs

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


Big Pipeline, a construction company, is building a pipeline through land owned by First Nation (Native American) peoples. Twenty years ago, a similar project by the same company left many of the indigenous peoples feeling dissatisfied and unhappy – this has resulted in tensions in this current negotiation. Happily, most of the issues between the Mountain Home Band, the group of First Nations people who will be the most affected, and Big Pipeline have been worked out. One major issue remains – allocation of job opportunities. How many laborers should be used for the construction project and how many of these jobs should be reserved for Mountain Home Band people?



It is possible to negotiate agreements that create gains for you and for them–you can both beat your BATNA. To create joint gains, use the Mutual Gains Approach:

  • Know your own BATNA and interests
  • Set your aspirations
  • Communicate your interests, and probe for their interests
  • Trade across issues you value differently
  • Use standards you can both accept to help you choose among options and packages


Manage the opportunities and dangers involved in setting aspirations:

  • Set your aspirations high
  • Be responsive to new information; don’t be rigid.
  • When you do adjust your aspirations, be careful not to leave value unclaimed.
  • Help your partner do the same.


Negotiate as if relationships mattered:

  • Don’t jeopardize long-term relationships by pushing too hard for short-term gain.
  • Effective “cross-cultural” negotiation depends upon making sure you are understood (and understand).
  • The rewards of modest risk-taking can be substantial. There will always be tension between the advantages of cooperation and the need to “compete.”
  • Good negotiators develop a repertoire of negotiating styles.
  • You have to talk about relationships to improve them.



This negotiation may be run within 30 minutes with a 10 minute prep-time. You should allow at least 20 minutes for debriefing



For all parties:

  • General Instructions


Role specific:

  • Big Pipeline Project Manager + score sheet
  • Mountain Home Band Chief + score sheet


Additional Teaching Notes:

  • Summary of ‘lessons learned’
  • Summary score sheet for 120 players
  • Chart of possible scores


Big Pipeline in Swagwit Attributes

Time required:
1-2 hours
Number of participants:
Teams involved:
Agent present:
Neutral third party present:
Teaching notes available:
Non-English version available:
Spanish, French, German, Norwegian
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 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, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at, 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.