Public Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Development Negotiations in the Project Review Process

John Forester
Two-party, three-issue, scoreable negotiation between a developer and a city planner over the design, process, and affordability of a proposed housing development

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SCENARIO:

A developer and city planner are about to begin negotiations concerning a proposed development in Riverdale City. The design of this residential project is based on a previous development that Jones, the developer built. Cole, the city planner, opts for changes in the design, in addition to adding affordable housing units. Another issue which the parties must address is the amount of help that Cole will give to the project. Both the planner and developer are highly concerned about the time element involved. Jones feels that the proposed plan will upgrade the neighborhood, while Cole argues that some definite changes must be made so that the development is suitable for neighborhood. Following the negotiations, Cole will submit a report containing recommendations to the Board of Zoning Appeals.

 

MECHANICS:

This exercise was created for two players. The scoring system is designed on a maximum, moderate, and minimum scale. The players need approximately 20 minutes to prepare for the negotiation which can run from 60 to 90 minutes. Post negotiation discussions take about 45 minutes. The planner can be required to submit a draft of the agreement made between the parties in the form of recommendations to the Board of Zoning Appeals.

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • The maximum, moderate, and minimum scale of scoring in this game enables participants to concentrate on the three main issues and create detailed discussions. Communication becomes a key element, as the parties must be clear about what they are searching for and what they will accept.
  • The parties have an opportunity to create a package that will reflect joint gains. In post negotiation discussions, participants can discuss the differences in scores by reviewing actual and possible packages, as well as negotiating styles.
  • Dealing with the dynamics of trading between issues forces students to set values on their interests and assess the importance of each issue to the other party as well.
  • The role of “face saving” and legitimacy is highlighted in the conflicting interests of both sides.
  • The possibility of achieving joint gains can stimulate tension between creating and claiming; the inferiority of compromises can also be highlighted.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

For all parties:

  • General Information

 

Role Specific:

Confidential Information for:

  • Jones, the Developer
  • Cole, the City Planner

 

Teacher’s Package:

  • All of the above
  • Possible Scorable Outcomes

 

PROCESS THEMES:

Anchoring; Authority; BATNA; Bluffing; Closure; Commitment; Communication; Competition v. Cooperation; Compliance; Cost-benefit analysis; Decision analysis; Drafting; Interest, dovetailing; Issue control; Meaning of “success”; Message analysis; Objective criteria; Offers, first; Packaging; Precedents; Public opinion; Time constraints; Yesable propositions

 

Development Negotiations in the Project Review Process Attributes

Time required:
1-2 hours
Number of participants:
2
Teams involved:
No
Agent present:
None
Neutral third party present:
None
Scoreable:
Yes
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 are then permitted to view the document on your computer and either print the number of copies you purchased, or forward the electronic file as many times as the number of copies you purchased. You will only receive a link to one electronic file per document. So, if you order 25 soft copies, you may either forward copies of the link to 25 people via e-mail, or print (and/or photocopy) 25 hard copies of the document.

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

The purchase price and handling fee are the same for both soft and hard copies. Soft copies do not entail a shipping fee.

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 781-966-2751 (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 781-966-2751 (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, then you should order a single Teacher’s Package for that role simulation. A PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package is also available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. There is no need to order participant materials as well as a Teacher’s Package, as 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. Please note that the materials in Teacher’s Packages are for the instructor’s review and reference only, and may not be duplicated for use with participants.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

If you wish 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 “Participant Copies.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required; 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 “Participant Copies.” 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.