Role Simulations

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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.

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Role Simulations

Role Simulation
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.
Role Simulation
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
Role Simulation
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
Role Simulation
Organizational Development / Change Negotiation Role-Play:

Colortek Job

Deborah Kolb
Two-party, multi-issue integrative negotiation between a corporate VP and a prospective employee over salary and other terms of hire
Role Simulation
Ethics Negotiation Role-Play:

Commonwealth v. McGorty

Robert C. Bordone and Jeremy McClane
Four-person integrative plea bargain negotiation between two prosecutors, a public defender, and an alleged assailant
Role Simulation
Global Treaty-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Computer Waste Policy Simulation

Lawrence Susskind
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"
Role Simulation
Education Negotiation Role-Play:

Conference with a Professor

Bruce Patton
Two-party short awareness-building exercise in which student and professor meeting regarding problems arising from a borrowed manuscript and the student's research aspirations
Role Simulation
Community Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Construction in Bunyonville

Bruce Patton
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
Role Simulation
Technology Negotiation Role-Play:

Consultant, The

Two-party, multi-issue negotiation in which the parties are at an apparent impasse: the most one party can pay is substantially less than the least the other party can accept.
Role Simulation
Corporate Decision-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Contract Negotiations in the Building Trades

Lawrence Susskind
Nine-party, multi-issue contract negotiation among three coalitions involved in the building trades; includes internal coalition meetings before the external negotiations
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Costless Warehouse

Joe Voyticky
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
Role Simulation
Education Negotiation Role-Play:

Death in the Family

Bruce Patton
Two-party, short awareness-building negotiation between a professor and a student over an assignment submitted late due to a death in the student's family
Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

DEC v. Riverside

David Lax, James Sebenius, Lawrence Susskind, and Thomas Weeks
Two-party, multi-issue, scoreable negotiation between a manufacturer and a state environmental agency to reach a settlement over the manufacturer's pollution of a local river
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Deke Slims' Silver Dollars

Ron Karp and Bruce Patton
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
Role Simulation
Corporate Decision-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Designing an Integrated Account SystemFacilitation in the Company

Deborah Kolb and Lawrence Susskind
Five-person, multi-issue, facilitated negotiation among four managers and a Human Resources facilitator over the design of the company's new account system
Role Simulation
Public Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Development Dispute at Menehune Bay

Lawrence Susskind, Thomas Dinell, and Vicki Shook
Six-party, multi-issue, facilitated negotiation of a dispute over environmental issues, native rights, and commercial development interests in Hawaii
Role Simulation
John Forester
Two-party, three-issue, scoreable negotiation between a developer and a city planner over the design, process, and affordability of a proposed housing development
Role Simulation
Public Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Development on Bay Island

Rafael Montalvo and Bruce Stiftel
Two-party distributive negotiation between a developer and a city representative over the amount of money the developer will pay the city to defray costs associated with development
Role Simulation
Community Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Dioxin - Waste to Energy Game

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.
Role Simulation
Pat Aaron
Three-person mediated small-claims dispute between a dry cleaning business and a customer over compensation for torn shirts
Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

DirtyStuff I

Lawrence Susskind
Five-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among industry, environmental, labor, and government representatives to develop single-text regulation of toxic industrial by-product
Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

DirtyStuff II

Jeffrey Litwak and Lawrence Susskind
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
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Discount Marketplace and Hawkins Development

Lawrence Bacow
Two-party negotiation between a shopping center developer and a prospective anchor tenant over the terms of the proposed lease's "use, assignment, and subletting" clause
Role Simulation
Ethics Negotiation Role-Play:

DONS Negotiation

Robert Bordone and Jonathan Cohen, adapted from PONS Negotiation by Nevan Elam and Whitney Fox
Four-person, two-party, two-round between a former couple and their lawyers regarding the knowing transmission of DONS, a fatal disease communicated through sexual intercourse
Role Simulation
Health / Medicine / Pharmaceutical Negotiation Role-Play:

Drug Testing in the Workplace

Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld and Roger Winthrop
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
Role Simulation
Cross-Cultural Negotiation Role-Play:

DS-30

Robert Ricigliano and Victor Issraelyan
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
Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

East Falls Brownfields

Tracy Dyke, under the direction of Lawrence Susskind and Susan Podziba
Seven-person, non-scoreable, facilitated negotiation among planners, regulators and activists regarding the cleanup and redevelopment of environmentally contaminated property
Role Simulation
Law / Courts Negotiation Role-Play:

Eazy's GarageTwo-party (lawyers only) version

Bruce Patton
Two-party negotiation between lawyers for an auto mechanic and a customer over a disputed auto repair bill
Role Simulation
Consumer Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Eazy's GarageFour-party (lawyers & clients) version

Bruce Patton (adapted by Sheila Heen)
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
Role Simulation
Values-based / Identity-based Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Ellis v. MacroB

Kate Harvey and David Kovick, under the supervision of Lawrence Susskind and Jennifer Brown
5-person nonscorable mediation between an employee and his/her corporate employer regarding potentially conflicting values and interests around issues of homosexuality and religious faith
Role Simulation
Family Negotiation Role-Play:

Ellsworth v. Ellsworth

Frank Sander and William Ury
Two-party, multi-issue negotiation between lawyers for a divorcing couple over the terms of the divorce, including alimony, child support, and income tax issues
Role Simulation
Role-Play:

ENCO

Jeswald W. Salacuse, Arun Venkataraman, and Fritz von Carp

Role Simulation
Education Negotiation Role-Play:

Farrakhan Negotiation, The

Eric Collins
Five-person, multi-issue negotiation among university administrators and student organizers over cost and arrangements for a controversial figure to speak on campus
Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

Federal Lands Management IMatching the Process to the Situation

Consensus Building Institute, Montana Consensus Council, and Bureau of Land Management
Facilitated multi-party negotiation over the appropriate decision-making process for a federal land management dispute
Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

Federal Lands Management IINegotiating a Resource Management Dispute

Consensus Building Institute, Montana Consensus Council and Bureau of Land Management
Facilitated multi-party negotiation over the appropriate environmental, commercial, residential, and other uses of federal lands in the Rocky Mountains
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Fie's Agent

Jeremy Bird under the supervision of Melissa Manwaring
Two-party integrative e-mail negotiation between a soccer star and her long-term representative over the terms of a potential new agency contract
Role Simulation
Danya Rumore, Anjali Lohani, and Mubarik Imam
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.
Role Simulation
Jeffrey Litwak and Lawrence Susskind
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
Role Simulation
Corporate Decision-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Fishladder Claim

Susan Podziba and Lawrence Susskind
Three-party, two-round internal negotiation among agency officials over whether to litigate or pursue non-binding arbitration to settle a contract claim against a private contractor
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Flagship Airways

Paddy Moore, Hal Movius and Lawrence Susskind
Six-person, four-issue negotiation between three representatives of an industrial manufacturer and three representatives of its primary client over restructuring of an existing purchase agreement
Role Simulation
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?
Role Simulation
Climate Change Negotiation Role-Play:

Flooding and Climate Change Risks in Northam

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
Role Simulation
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.
Role Simulation
Cross-Cultural Negotiation Role-Play:

Foreign Direct Investment in Mandoa

Michèle Ferenz, Stan Byers, and David Fairman with assistance from Professor Lawrence Susskind
A facilitated multi-party negotiation among government officials regarding the design of a foreign direct investment strategy that balances economic, societal, and environmental concerns
Role Simulation
Catherine Preston and Lawrence Susskind
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
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Fresh Air

Candace Modlin and Robert C. Bordone
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
Role Simulation
Imam Soliman, under the direction of David Fairman
Seven-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the West Bank city of Hebron to discuss land claims, security, and border control
Role Simulation
Regulation Negotiation Role-Play:

Gadgets, Inc.

Cheri Peele and Lawrence Susskind
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
Role Simulation
Law / Courts Negotiation Role-Play:

Gator v. City of Quincy

Karen Falkenstein Green
Three-person small-claims mediation between a motorist and a city attorney regarding liability for damage to the motorist's automobile due to a pothole
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

GE International Contract

Duncan MacLaren; adapted from The Tendley Contract
Two-party potentially integrative contract negotiation between representatives of a large corporation and a consulting firm over very different expectations of the cost of services

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