$0.00 – $6.00
Mark Gordon, Elizabeth Gray, and Bruce Patton
Three-party, multi-issue internal corporate negotiation in preparation for external negotiation with community representatives
Four weeks ago, the Bunyon Brothers Construction Company began work on a 77-unit condominium complex at the end of a quiet, wooded, dead-end street named Chestnut Drive. All permits were properly, if quietly, obtained, and the quality of construction is high. Some resistance from the neighborhood was, of course, expected, but tempers now seem to be unusually high and a credible threat has developed of neighbors blocking the site access. The Company's General Counsel has scheduled a meeting with a neighborhood "negotiating committee." In preparation, he has scheduled an internal planning meeting with the Vice Presidents for Construction Management and for Marketing and Development. The exercise revolves around their three-party meeting.
NOTE: This exercise is an intra-team negotiation and is one of the two sides that makes up the exercise Chestnut Village (the other side is the exercise Chestnut Drive).
The Company officers should meet for 45-105 minutes. A break after 45 minutes for a presentation on intra-group process can be useful. After the completion of these preparation sessions, the groups should meet with one or more neighbor representatives (one or more of the officers at a time, however they chose in their planning session). Neighbors can be played by the instructor(s) or by other participants who have prepared as neighbors in the context of Chestnut Drive. Instructors can model various styles of negotiation. These negotiation sessions usually run about 20 minutes each. Different groups of executives and neighbors can continue by the substitution method (taking over where things left off) or by starting over.
For all parties:
- General Instructions
Confidential Instructions for the:
- General Counsel
- V.P. for Marketing and Development
- V.P. for Construction Management
- All of the above
Agenda control; Authority; BATNA; Commitment; Communica- tion; Compliance; Constituents; Currently perceived choice analysis; Education, as a means; Force; Group process; Media; Meeting design; Precedents; Preparation; Public opinion; Reality testing; Threats; Yesable propositions
This case focuses on two major themes. The first is preparation. What is your BATNA? What is theirs? What are their major interests likely to be? What are ours? What does their choice look like now? How, realistically, could we change it? What can they actually do? What can we do? How do we make it as easy as possible for them to do what we want, and hard for them to do otherwise? How do we best communicate all this? What yesable propositions do we have for them? Should we consult before deciding?
The second theme is meeting design and group process. How do three people work together to prepare for a negotiation? Set an agenda? Set strict time limits? Use a flipchart and a recorder? A facilitator? Separate inventing from deciding? And how do they work together in the ultimate meeting? Should they? How do they avoid divide and conquer tactics or distractions that keep them from focusing on any one point? How do they get commitment?
Another important theme is the problem of dealing with a representative of a constituency who does not have firm authority. The neighbor negotiators cannot really commit their neighbors. How should the Bunyon Brothers deal with that? Can either party really agree to what the other wants?
The case also raises the question of relationship and reputation. Both sides have important long-term interests.
Bunyon Brothers Attributes
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