Technology Negotiation

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Technology is a pervasive part of modern life, providing countless benefits ranging from new cancer treatments to smart phones. Technologies are also sources of disruption and at the root of many disputes. Parties frequently disagree on the relative costs and benefits associarted with the adoption of new technologies and feud over such things as patent infringement and intellectual property rights. The fast pace of development and the complexity of the tech sector make disputes and complex negotiations all the more common and challenging to resolve.

The Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) offers a variety of role-play exercises to help parties practice working through technology-related negotiations. Some, like Aerospace Investment, revolve around making deals between investors and inventors. Parties must balance difficult demands with the desire to maintain a positive relationship. Intellectual property is at the heart of many technology-related disputes. In PowerScreen Problem, lawyers for two partners in a small computer software firm negotiate over who has ownership of a product developed by one partner in his spare time. Technological developments can also evolve into public disputes. In Offshore Wind Farm Negotiation, various parties, including area residents, fishermen and the project proponent, discuss a proposed wind farm.

Two videos presenting simulated technology-related negotiations are also available through the TNRC. In Hans Brandt, a manager grapples with how to handle a software engineer who will not engage with the rest of the team. Human resource issues are often part of technology disputes.

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Case Studies & Articles

Gina Coplon-Newfield

This case study provides an intimate view into the fierce battle among major US nonprofit environmental groups, Members of Congress, and industry over energy policy in 2007. The resulting law slashed pollution by raising car efficiency regulations for the first time in three decades. For negotiators and advocates, this case provides important lessons about cultivating champions, neutralizing opponents, organizing the masses, and using the right message at the right time.

Role Simulations

Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Aerospace InvestmentBalancing Venture and Relationship Capital

Nicholas Sabin
Two-party term sheet negotiation between a venture capitalist and the founder of an aerospace start-up company in which participants are scored both on their substantive performance and on the other party's perception of the relationship
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Akron Steel

Allison Berland
A non-team, multi-issue, non-scorable exercise that gives participants an opportunity to map a conflict at the workplace.
Role Simulation
Labor Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Axis Affair

Anita Ramasastry and Erin Monaghan
Two-party negotiation between attorneys for a male executive and a recently terminated female employee regarding allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination
Role Simulation
Corporate Decision-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Casino

Sheila Heen, Scott Peppet and John Richardson
Two-party intra-organizational discussion between a newly-promoted manager and her division vice-president over work performance, responsibility for a new computer game project, and office environment issues
Role Simulation
Technology Negotiation Role-Play:

Chiptech

Deborah Kolb
Two-party negotiation between a company's chief financial officer and the head of the human resources department regarding the budget for the department's reorganization
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
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
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
Role Simulation
Technology Negotiation Role-Play:

Lattitude.com

Melissa Manwaring
Two-party distributive e-mail negotiation regarding the potential sale of a domain name
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Least-Cost Planning Exercise

Clinton Andrews and Lavinia Hall
Six-party, multi-issue mediation among electric utilities, consumer interests, environmentalists, and mediator with technical expertise, over the best way to meet increased demands for electricity
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

MedLeeIn Pursuit of a Healthy Joint Venture

Candace Lun and Jeswald W. Salacuse
Two-party, four-issue negotiation between representatives of two companies with different national and corporate cultures regarding a possible joint venture
Role Simulation
International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Multisearch Software

Eric Gould and Michelle Easter
Two-party integrative negotiation between a software developer and a software manufacturer over a possible contract for a new search engine product
Role Simulation
International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Offshore Wind Farm Negotiation

MIT Students in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, under the supervision of Prof. Lawrence Susskind and Dr. Herman Karl
8-party nonscorable negotiation among commercial, environmental, and governmental stakeholders over a controversial proposal to develop offshore wind farms
Role Simulation
Game Theory and Negotiation Analytics Role-Play:

Pepulator Pricing Exercise

Mark Drooks and Mark Gordon
Two-team, scoreable, multiple round, "prisoner's dilemma"-style negotiation between representatives of two companies over the monthly price for fictional products called "pepulators"
Role Simulation
Technology Negotiation Role-Play:

Powergraphics

Michael Watkins, Marjorie Corman Aaron and Joshua Weiss
Two-party integrative negotiation between business partners concerning the ownership of a new computer program one of them has developed; condensed, non-agent version of PowerScreen Problem
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

PowerScreen Problem

Bruce Patton, Mark Gordon and Andrew Clarkson
Two-party integrative negotiation between the lawyers for business partners concerning the ownership of a new computer program one of them has developed
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Solar Power

Georg Berkel
Two-party, one-issue distributive negotiation about the acquisition of a renewable energy firm
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Technology Equipment Partners

Tracey Brenner, under the supervision of Lawrence Susskind
Two-team, six-party, four-issue negotiation between representatives of two corporations setting up a simultaneous high-tech joint venture and purchasing agreement
Role Simulation
Technology Negotiation Role-Play:

Telecom Services

Beth Doherty under the supervision of Lawrence Susskind
Two-party, two-issue, integrative, scoreable negotiation over the terms of a telecommunications services contract
Role Simulation
Organizational Development / Change Negotiation Role-Play:

Telemachus Technology

Ellen Waxman and George Maxe
Three-party intra-organizational negotiation among mentor, mentee, and mentee's manager regarding an upcoming meeting that touches on diversity, communication, and mentorship issues
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Tendley Contract

Two-party integrative contract negotiation between a computer consultant and a school district representative at an apparent impasse over different expectations over cost of services
Role Simulation
Sean Cote under the supervision of Abram Chayes and Antonia Handler Chayes
Three-person mediated or arbitrated settlement conference regarding a contract dispute between a U.S.-based graphics firm and a Japanese digital printer manufacturer
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

What To Do With Hexiglass?

Beth Doherty and Hal Movius
3-player, non-scoreable game designed to teach the benefits of managing communication and trust in the context of a technology negotiation.

Video and Audio

original
Videos and Audio

Morgan Guaranty Trust Company

Realistic video depicting the use of principled negotiation to prepare for and negotiate a bitter business dispute, featuring Getting to YES co-author Roger Fisher
Videos and Audio

Lawrence E. Susskind

A discussion of the role and functions of a court-appointed special master serving as a mediator in a case study of a scientific/technical dispute in New Jersey

Books

original
Book

Shafiqul Islam and Lawrence E. Susskind

In this book, the authors show how open and constantly changing water networks can be managed successfully using collaborative adaptive techniques to build informed agreements among disciplinary experts, water users with conflicting interests, and governmental bodies with countervailing claims.

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