Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Book Contract, The

Two-party, single-issue distributive negotiation between a publisher and a literary agent over the advance payment for the agent's unpublished but very promising client

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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:

Terry Holtz, a senior editor with a highly regarded, independent publishing firm has received a proposed book entitled Entrepreneurial Schools written by a young, up and coming, but never before published author. Terry is extremely interested in the book and is willing to pay an exceptionally high author’s advance for the book. Jay McIntyre is a successful literary agent and represents Rachel Leonard, author of Entrepreneurial Schools. Jay has shown Rachel’s manuscript to one other publishing firm than Terry’s and has since found out that they are not interested. This coupled with Rachel’s professional ambitions, which would be helped greatly by the visibility that comes with publication, has made Rachel anxious to close the deal with Terry’s firm fast. She has told Jay to settle for what he can get from Terry’s firm, but not to leave any money on the table.

NOTE: This exercise is analytically similar to the exercise Parker-Gibson in a different setting.

 

MECHANICS:

The exercise works best as a one on one exercise. Preparation should take 10-15 minutes and negotiation can take 10-30 minutes. Review and debriefing can last from 30-75 minutes.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

Role specific:

  • Confidential Instructions for the Agent, Jay McIntyre
  • Confidential Instructions for the Publisher, Terry Holtz

 

Teacher’s Package:

  • All of the above

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • This exercise is an excellent vehicle for comparing principled negotiation and positional bargaining. Depending on the skill of the other negotiator, both approaches can do well. Both parties should be risk averse, however, and wary of an adversarial approach that might get out of hand.
  • The knowledge that one’s BATNA is weak often leads people to negotiate much less vigorously than they otherwise would. Is this ever justified? If so, under what conditions? The case affords a good opportunity to point out that any such analysis should be based on a consideration of the parties’ relative BATNA’s.
  • Since the case does have a strong competitive element, there is ample opportunity to explore techniques for indirectly and directly extracting information from the other side. Likewise, techniques of protecting oneself from “giving up” the possibility for gains that were unforeseen can be explored and discussed.

 

SIMILAR SIMULATIONS:

  • GE International
  • A Salary Negotiation
  • Sally Soprano
  • San Morgan Contract
  • Tendley Contract

 

SUBJECT:

Business; Contracts; Interpersonal

 

PROCESS THEMES:

Anchoring; BATNA; Bluffing; Commitment; Confidentiality; Disclosure; Fairness; Information exchange; Meaning of “success”; Objective criteria; Offers, first; Options, generating; Precedents; Risk aversion; Trust

 

Book Contract, The 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:
Spanish
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.