Cross-Cultural Negotiation Role-Play:

Canada-China Panda Acquisition Negotiation

Stephen Weiss
Two-team (6 person), multi-issue contract negotiation between Canadian zoo CEOs and representatives of Chinese organization responsible for giant panda loans

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SCENARIO:  

In 2010, after years of communication with the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens (CAZG) concerning a loan of giant pandas, Toronto Zoo officials see a “ripe moment” to intensify their efforts and undertake formal negotiations.  They designate a Chinese-Canadian spokesman and discuss partnering with Calgary Zoo.  The Canadians face serious challenges, however.  Giant pandas are an endangered species native only to one country: China.  Moreover as “star attractions,” they are in demand by zoos all over the world.  Political and economic factors within and between the two countries complicate the situation.

 

MECHANICS:

The two teams will meet separately for an hour to discuss their objectives and strategies.  The Canadian teams face the challenge of developing an internal alignment.  Then the two teams will meet and negotiate for one hour.  All negotiators stand to benefit from agreement but each has limits on how far he or she can accommodate the others.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

For all parties:

  • No separate general or “public” information (it is incorporated in confidential instructions)

Role Specific:

Confidential Instructions for:

  • John Smith, CEO of Toronto Zoo
  • Dr. Ming-Tat Li, Chair of Giant Panda Acquisition Task Force, TorontoZoo Board of Management
  • Dr. Clement Dupont, President and CEO of Calgary Zoo
  • WANG Zhongping (family name appears first), Vice-President and Secretary General of the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens (CAZG)
  • MA Zhong, Deputy Secretary General of CAZG
  • WU Hong, CAZG staff

Teacher’s Package:

  • All of the above (51 pages)

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • To achieve a satisfactory agreement from a low-power position, a negotiator must focus on parties’ interests and resources, and generate creative (non-standard) proposals.
  • Identify and resolve internal differences before commencing external negotiations so that the negotiation team can act cohesively.  Internal cooperation is especially important when the team experiences pressure in external negotiations.
  • Call a caucus as needed during external negotiations in order to manage the team and/or the negotiation process.
  • Among the different negotiation roles that team members may assume, an intermediary (process orchestrator) must have a special set of attributes and skills.  Some of these may be innate or assigned; others must be earned on the scene.
  • To make progress in complex negotiations (many issues of various types), negotiators must clearly and explicitly set forth an agenda of items for discussion.  How, and when, they are discussed should be deliberate and strategic.
  • Negotiators should move back and forth between discussions of the “big picture” and the hammering out of details.  Too much of one or the other bogs down proceedings and leads to suboptimal outcomes.
  • When parties’ positions on one issue indicate no zone of possible agreement, additional issues and package deals should be considered.
  • Negotiators must strategically choose to reveal or withhold information.  Too much or too little information, at the wrong time, can drastically affect the attainment of their individual goals.

PROCESS THEMES:

Bargaining power, coordination of internal and external negotiations, agenda-setting, intermediaries (tactics, effects), information management, interests, aspirations, value creation

 

Canada-China Panda Acquisition Negotiation Attributes

Time Required:
2 1/2 – 3 hours
Number of Participants:
6
Teams Involved:
Yes
Agent Present:
No
Neutral Third Party Present:
No (not a neutral; however, one role is positioned as a potential intermediary)
Scoreable:
No
Author:
Stephen E. Weiss
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.