Thomas WiegandMulti-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
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.
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.
For all parties:
- General instructions for the Neighbor Representatives
Confidential Instructions for:
- Cab Driver (Version A Only)
- Retired Executive
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
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
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:
- Teams involved:
- Agent present:
- Neutral third party present:
- Teaching notes available:
- Non-English version available:
- French, Spanish
PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center
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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.