Community Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Changing Times for the Senior Center in Redwood Hills

Connie Ozawa
Multi-party, multi-issue facilitated negotiation for five or six players representing civic and business leaders and owner of a senior center regarding the expansion of other groups' use of the center

Please note: you must order multiple copies in order to run this simulation. You should order a copy for every person participating in the simulation.Read more.

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SCENARIO:

Redwood Hills is a growing, rural community which is suffering from a shortage of public meeting facilities. The Town Council would like the Martha Gold Senior Center to allow access to their facility. The Senior Center Board has called a meeting with current and potential user groups to see whether an agreement is possible on issues including access, fees, financial issues, responsibility for maintenance and repairs, and the Center’s name. If agreement is reached, the Board will adopt the agreement as policy and the County will renew the 10-year property tax abatement arrangement.

This exercise provides an opportunity to examine closely the role of the facilitator and various facilitation techniques as well as the dynamics of multi-party negotiations.

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • The value of ground rules in helping to establish the facilitator’s role in the process and in managing disruptive communication patterns.
  • The critical role of the facilitator in structuring the negotiation process to encourage interest-based negotiations.
  • Techniques in which the facilitator can address issues regarding the legitimacy of negotiating parties. Some parties will presume more “authority” in a negotiation than others. In actuality, all parties present at the table have equal legitimacy in the sense that their consent is valued. By reminding parties to consider their BATNAs, the facilitator can create legitimacy for all parties around the table as well as creating motivation for reaching agreement.
  • The value of visual aids and graphic displays of information. Graphics representation can be a pivotal tool for clarifying the resources under discussion. Included in this discussion can be an acknowledgment of the varied learning styles of individual negotiators and the facilitator’s role in ensuring a common base knowledge.
  • The impact of varying assumptions about technical information on options considered and the ultimate agreement.
  • The potential difficulty of negotiating symbolic issues. A party may or may not be willing to trade economic compensation for an issue of symbolic value.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

For all parties:

  • General Information

 

Role Specific:

  • Confidential information for:
  • Senior Center Director W.B. Cutt
  • COHA Oregon Representative M. Furia
  • Coalition of Civic Organizations Representative D. Kline
  • Town Council Member S. Sherman
  • AAA Director N. Vie
  • Facilitator

 

Teacher’s package (26 pages total):

  • All of the above
  • Teaching notes

 

Changing Times for the Senior Center in Redwood Hills Attributes

Time required:
3-5 hours
Number of participants:
6
Teams involved:
No
Agent present:
Non-lawyer
Neutral third party present:
Facilitator
Scoreable:
No
Teaching notes available:
Yes

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 will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

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 301-528-2676 (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 301-528-2676 (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, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. 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.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

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 “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.

If you are ordering hard copies, 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 “Quantity.” 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.