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

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.

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SCENARIO:

Andy Appros was a well-qualified and efficient employee of Costless, a consumer outlet chain, who quickly advanced within the company hierarchy. After three years at Costless, Appros was fired under allegations of embezzlement. Appros claims that this firing was based solely on his supervisor’s racial prejudice, and he is now suing the company for discrimination. Both sides wish to avoid trial and the possible accompanying publicity, so they have each hired a negotiator to settle the dispute. Each side possesses undisclosed information which may bear on the outcome of the settlement, and it is up to the clients to determine how much of this information to divulge to their respective negotiators.

 

MECHANICS:

The case is designed for four to five people: one person who will play Appros, one who will play the Vice President of Costless, and one negotiator on each side. There is also an optional role for Costless’ accountant, who is familiar with the undisclosed information of each side. Preparation should take about 60 minutes for each participant, client interviews should last 30-40 minutes and the actual negotiation should take between 60-90 minutes.

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • How does internal conflict over these issues manifest itself in verbal and nonverbal behavior? What differential effects do different negotiation techniques have on the level of conflict — can partisan perceptions be strengthened by some approaches, greater understanding promoted by others? Which is desirable on an individual or societal level?
  • This case provides an excellent opportunity to plan, practice, and test skills in “separating the people from the problem,” and dealing with each on their own merits.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

Role Specific:

Confidential Instructions for:

  • Andy Appros
  • Chris Clarion
  • Negotiator for Andy Appros
  • Negotiator for Chris Clarion and Vice President of Costless
  • (Optional) William Walters, Accountant for Costless
  • Questionnaire for Andy Appros
  • Questionnaire for Chris Clarion

 

Teacher’s Package (25 pages total):

  • All of the above
  • Teacher’s Note


PROCESS THEMES:

Negotiator-Client relationship; Disclosure; Illegal conduct; BATNA; Interests; Options, generating; Preparation

 

Costless Warehouse Attributes

Time required:
1-2 hours
Number of participants:
4
Teams involved:
Yes
Agent present:
Non-lawyer
Neutral third party present:
None
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.