More than 200 role-play simulations are available through the Program on Negotiation Teaching Negotiation Resource Center. These put participants in hypothetical situations and challenge them to deliberate and make decisions in new and different ways. Role-play simulations foster both individual and collective learning that can be transferred to “real world” situations. They also provide safe and flexible settings for experimentation.
Role-play simulations combine the best of traditional learning exercises, which feature fixed rules that limit the range of possible outcomes, along with role-specific assignments that leave room for creative problem-solving. Learners are given common general instructions that set the stage along with confidential instructions (based on interviews with people who have played those actual roles or something close to them). Role-play simulations are usually followed by debriefings in which participants – with the help of an instructor – reflect on how the exercise progressed, what they learned, and how these lessons relate to or diverge from their real world situations.
Technical information plays an important role in some role-play simulations, but the emphasis is primarily on human interactions. The role-play simulations in the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center are ultimately designed to help participants learn to become better negotiators and become more self-conscious about what they are doing and why.
Seven-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among local government, community, business, and environmental representatives trying to reach agreement on a strategy for managing climate change risks in a small, beachfront community.
Seven-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among local government, community, business, and environmental representatives trying to reach agreement on a strategy for managing climate change risks in a medium-sized coastal community
Lawrence Susskind, Charles Hecksher, and Elaine Landry
Two-team, multi-issue collective bargaining contract negotiation between three union representatives and three management representatives for a telephone company; includes an internal team meeting before external negotiations
Organizational Development / Change Negotiation Role-Play:
Ten-party, multi-issue chaired policy dialogue among government, environmental, and industry representatives in the fictional nation of Sweland over reform of the country's waste policies, in effort to gain membership in the "European Trade Area"
Six-person, multi-issue mediation between two construction company representatives and two neighborhood residents over a construction project's safety and noise issues; mediated by two representatives of the bank financing the construction
Four- or five-person negotiation to settle an employee's claim of discriminatory firing and employer's claim of illegal conduct; negotiators represent each party, with optional fifth role who knows confidential details of each party's case
Three-person distributive exercise consisting of two separate two-party negotiations between the representative of an estate and two separate coin dealers over the price of a silver coin collection large enough to affect the silver market
Denise Madigan, Steve Foster, and Lawrence Susskind
Six-party, multi-issue negotiation among four scientists, a city representative, and an environmentalist to develop the city's solid waste management strategy; also known as: Dioxin: Resource Recovery.
Six-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among industry, environmental, consumer/community, labor, and government representatives to develop single-text regulation of toxic industrial by-product
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:
Three-person employment mediation between a truck driver and his company's personnel director, mediated by an Employee Assistance Program representative, regarding a positive drug test; a four-person version also includes a union representative
Two-party, integrative international negotiation between representatives of two neighboring countries over compensation for pollution in one of the countries caused by an industrial accident in the other country
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:
Four-party, two-stage negotiation between an auto mechanic and a client and their respective attorneys over a disputed repair bill; first stage involves lawyer-client interviews and second stage involves negotiation
Seven-party, seven-person, multi-issue negotiation game involving a dispute over inter-provincial water allocations. It explores issues of prediction and monitoring, water sharing, and the environmental adequacy of water flows.
Six-party negotiation among lending institution representatives, community leaders, a contractors' association, and the mayor's office to develop a public relations strategy and solutions to a foreclosure crisis caused by a widespread mortgage scam
Sarah Hammitt and Jessica Artiles under the direction of Professor Lawrence Susskind
An eight-party, environmentally-focused role-play simulation, Flooding deals with an investment firm that is in the final stages of a multi-year planning process for a large, riverside mixed-use development. FEMA recently updated Evantown’s Flood Insurance Rate Map and the development falls within the 100-year floodplain. In addition, a study by the local university concludes that altered precipitation patterns brought on by climate change will put more and more properties at risk of flooding in the future. Should the firm be allowed to go through with the development? How and to what extent should Evantown take measures to protect itself against flood risks? Who is responsible for paying for whatever adaptation measures are used to protect vulnerable areas?
Seven-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among local government, community, business, environmental, and engineering representatives trying to reach agreement on a strategy for managing climate change risks in a small coastal city
Seven-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among local government, community, business, and environmental representatives trying to reach agreement on a strategy for managing climate change risks in a mid-size coastal city.
Twelve-person, two-round negotiation between six foundation board members and six school board and community leaders over efforts to address racial disparities in academic performance; internal negotiations precede external
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:
Two-party or two-team, multi-issue, integrative/distributive negotiation between representatives of a new low-cost airline and a potential headquarters city over an incentives package and airport facilities
Six-party, four-issue negotiation among a company's management and union representatives, environmental groups, and state and federal environmental agencies over fines and adoption of new technology in response to the company's illegal polluting
Prof. Susskind’s Top 5 Environmental Negotiation Teaching Materials
From time to time, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center asks PON-affiliated faculty to nominate their top five books, top five teaching videos or top five role-play simulations in certain fields or teaching settings. These change periodically.