Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Deke Slims’ Silver Dollars

Ron Karp and Bruce Patton
Three-person distributive exercise consisting of two separate two-party negotiations between the representative of an estate and two separate coin dealers over the price of a silver coin collection large enough to affect the silver market

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:

Leslie Milkem, executor of the estate of the late Deke Slims, must deal with the cache of 244,000 silver dollars found hidden in Slims’ basement. Although Milkem has been trying to avoid publicity (which might depress the coin market), one weekly circular has published the numismatic find and two major coin dealers have already expressed an interest in purchasing the hoard. Milkem has agreed to meet with each of them, although Milkem has concerns about the reputation of one of them. Neither dealer knows of the other’s interest in the coins.

 

MECHANICS:

There are three parties involved in this negotiation, but the structure of the interaction depends on the estate executor. The executor may set up separate meetings with each of the coin dealers, arrange a conference of all three, ignore one or both of the dealers, or some combination. Only the executor knows the identity of the other parties. The exercise should be given at least an hour, and can be negotiated in the background over several days or a week.

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • The theme of objective criteria is highlighted by the need to set standards under pressure.
  • Due to the complexity of the effects of the hoard on the market, some financial analysis should be done to develop a wise and creative solution.
  • The opportunity for mutual blackmail motivates discussion of both threats and alternative negotiating dynamics.
  • The varying perceptions of each party’s reputation and ethics emphasize awareness of partisan perceptions and the power and importance of questioning assumptions.
  • The issue of “controlling” a negotiation arises in this case because of Milkem’s power over meeting arrangements.
  • This exercise also provides an opportunity to review BATNA, the meaning of “success,” and fairness.
  • Risk aversion is an important factor in designing good settlement options in this case.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

For all parties:

  • General Information

 

Role Specific:

  • Confidential Instructions for:

 

Teacher’s Package:

  • All of the Above

 

PROCESS THEMES:

Agenda control; Commitment; Communication; Competition v. cooperation; Confidentiality; Creativity; Credibility; Currently perceived choice analysis; Ethics; Information exchange; Media; Meeting design; Misrepresentation; Objective criteria; Offers, first; Options, generating; Partisan perceptions; Pressure tactics; Quantitative analysis; Risk aversion; Threats; Yesable propositions

 

Deke Slims' Silver Dollars Attributes

Time required:
1-2 hours
Number of participants:
3
Teams involved:
No
Agent present:
None
Neutral third party present:
None
Scoreable:
No
Teaching notes available:
No

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.