Public Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Development on Bay Island

Rafael Montalvo and Bruce Stiftel
Two-party distributive negotiation between a developer and a city representative over the amount of money the developer will pay the city to defray costs associated with development

What to Buy?

Login or Register to download the free packages.


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


Manatee Townhomes, Inc., has proposed a residential development for a harbor island in Bay City. Before proceeding it must obtain the approval of Bay City’s Department of Streets and Thoroughfares. Streets and Thoroughfares will grant approval only if Manatee agrees to pay a sum money in the form of a traffic impact exaction.

In this exercise the two groups meet to determine the amount of the exaction. Manatee wants a low exaction in order to keep its profits high; Streets and Thoroughfares wants a high exaction in order to minimize future tax levies. There is a large zone of potential agreement ($3.8 million to $10 million), but neither side knows too much about the interests of the other side. There are few, if any, opportunities for joint gains.



  • Divide the group into teams of one or two Manatee representatives and one or two Street and Thorough-fares representatives. Distribute the confidential instructions, and allow 20-30 minutes for reading the instructions, preparing strategies, and, if there are two-person teams, caucusing with teammates. Allow 30-45 minutes to negotiate the exaction. Debriefing should last for 30-60 minutes.
  • This case has a wide zone of potential agreement where each of the parties has reason to misunderstand the interests of the other side. In this sort of situation, the first offer is often powerful in anchoring the decision, but making a first offer that is advantageous to one’s own side is difficult without securing information about the other side’s true interests.
  • This case explores the advantages and disadvantages of sharing information. Since this is a one-issue case with a wide zone of agreement, gaining information about the other side is to one’s advantage and revealing information about one’s own side is a disadvantage.
  • This case presents the opportunity to distinguish between distributive bargaining and integrative bargaining situations, and to consider negotiation tactics that might be useful in each situations.



Role Specific:

  • Confidential Instructions for:
  • Department of Street and Thoroughfares
  • Manatee Townhomes


Teaching Package:

  • All of the above
  • Teaching note



Anchoring; Bluffing; Information exchange; Interest analysis; Interests, quantifying; Misrepresentation; Offers, first


Development on Bay Island Attributes

Time required:
1-2 hours
Number of participants:
Teams involved:
Agent present:
Neutral third party present:
Teaching notes available:
Non-English version available:
German, Spanish
PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

Close window

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 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, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at, 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.