Business and Commercial Role-Play:

Carson Extension – Mediated Version

Holly Goo and Lawrence Susskind

Seven-person, three-issue mediation among a landowner and representatives of an engineering firm, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, town council, and environmental interests over cost and timing of removal of an unauthorized extension of property into a river

This product is currently out of stock and unavailable.


Carson Rug Company is a middle-sized, family owned business located in Garth, along the Melrose River. Carson applied for an Army Corps of Engineers permit to construct a seawall extending into the Melrose River. After this application was denied, Carson's second application, specifying a considerably smaller extension, was approved. However, the seawall that was actually built was nearly double the size of that authorized in the permit. Carson contends that the noncompliance with the permit was unintentional and blames the engineering firm for misinterpreting instructions.

Representatives from the Army Corps, Garth Town Council, Hills Engineering, an environmental group, and the president of Carson Rug have agreed to a mediation regarding the removal of the unauthorized seawall fill.



  • Multi-issue, multi-party negotiations tend to involve the formation of coalitions — especially blocking coalitions. This game provides an instructive context for exploring coalition strategies.
  • Parties that reveal their true interests do not necessarily do better than those who remain silent or bluff. The advantages and disadvantages of revealing all one's concerns are illustrated in this game.
  • The mediator can play a key role in defusing emotions and facilitating a solution.
  • This simulation is sometimes used in conjunction with the non-mediated version, in order to compare process and outcomes between groups with and without a mediator.


Teacher's Package includes:

  • General Instructions for all participants
  • Confidential Instructions for:
  • Stuart Carson (owner of Carson Rug Company)
  • Representative from Hills Engineering
  • Army Corps of Engineers Lawyer
  • Army Corps of Engineers Environmental Engineer
  • Representative from Garth Town Council
  • Local environmentalist from Massachusetts Chapter of Green Earth
  • Mediator
  • No teaching note currently available

Also available: Carson Extension (non-mediated version)

Carson Extension - Mediated Version Attributes

Time required: 1-2 hours
Number of participants: 7
Teams involved: No
Agent present: Lawyer,Non-lawyer
Neutral third party present: Mediator
Scoreable: No
Teaching notes available: Yes