Community Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Chestnut Village

Thomas Wiegand
Multi-party, multi-issue negotiation between 3-4 construction company representatives and 5-6 neighborhood representatives over safety and nuisance complaints regarding a local construction project; internal team meetings precede external negotiations

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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Free review copies of non-English Teacher’s Packages will be emailed upon request. Please contact tnrc@law.harvard.edu  or telephone 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 781-966-2751 (outside the U.S.)

SCENARIO:

Version A: Four weeks ago, the Bunyon Brothers Construction Company began work on a 77-unit condominium complex at the end of a quiet, wooded, dead-end street named Chestnut Drive. Residents of Chestnut Drive were surprised and angered by this development, but the construction company properly, although quietly, obtained all necessary permits. Recent developments have the neighbors fuming. Among them are noise, speeding trucks, lack of a fence around the site, foul language and habits among the construction workers, and damage to windows and at least one foundation allegedly caused by blasting. The neighbors (a retired executive, a lawyer, a cab-driver, a dentist, a shopkeeper and a carpenter) have arranged a meeting with the construction company (General counsel, a Senior VP, VP for Marketing & Development and VP of Construction Management) in an attempt to correct the situation. Each group will have a preparation meeting before an external negotiation is held.

Version B: Same as version A, except the role of cab driver is eliminated and the roles of Senior VP and General Counsel have merged into one.

NOTE: This exercise is a merger of the one-sided exercises Bunyon Brothers and Chestnut Drive and is structurally similar to the exercise Construction in Bunyonville without mediators.

 

MECHANICS:

Allow 90-105 minutes for internal negotiations. External negotiation should last 60-90 minutes. All members shall be present at the meeting but it works best if there is only one presenter for the construction company.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

For all parties:

  • Map

 

Role Specific:

  • General instructions for the Neighbor Representatives

 

Confidential Instructions for:

  • Cab Driver (Version A Only)
  • Carpenter
  • Dentist
  • Lawyer
  • Retired Executive
  • Shopkeeper

 

General Instructions for Construction Company

 

Confidential Instructions for:

  • General Counsel (Version A only)
  • Senior Vice President (Version A Only)
  • Senior Vice President/ General Counsel (Version B Only)
  • Vice President of Construction Management
  • Vice President of Marketing & Development

 

Teacher’s Package (34 pages total):

  • All of the above
  • Teaching Note

 

PROCESS THEMES:

Agenda control; Authority; BATNA; Commitment; Communication; Compliance; Crisis decision-making; Currently perceived choice analysis; Emotions; Force; Group-think; Group process; Media; Meeting design; Preparation; Public opinion; Threats; Yesable propositions

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

This case focuses on two major themes. The first is preparation. What is your BATNA? What is theirs? What are their major interests likely to be? What are ours? What does their choice look like now? How, realistically, could we change it? What can they actually do? What can we do? How do we make it as easy as possible for them to do what we want, and hard for them to do otherwise? How do we best communicate all of this? What yesable propositions do we have for them? Should we consult before deciding?

The second theme is meeting design and group process. How do groups work together to prepare for a negotiation? Set an agenda? Set strict time limits? Use a flip-chart and a recorder? A facilitator? Separate inventing from deciding? And how do they work together in the ultimate meeting? How do they avoid divide and conquer tactics or distractions that keep them from focusing on any one point? How do they get commitment?

Another important theme is the problem of representing and dealing with a representative of a constituency without firm authority. Can the negotiators really commit their neighbors? How should the Bunyon Brothers deal with that? Can either party really agree to what the other one wants?

The case also raises questions of relationship and reputation. Both sides have important long-term interests.

 

Chestnut Village Attributes

Time required:
2-3 hours
Number of participants:
10
Teams involved:
Yes
Agent present:
Lawyer
Neutral third party present:
None
Scoreable:
No
Teaching notes available:
Yes
Non-English version available:
French, Spanish

PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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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.