Community Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

First City Bank and the PressDeveloping a Public Relations Strategy

Jeffrey Litwak and Lawrence Susskind
Six-party negotiation among lending institution representatives, community leaders, a contractors' association, and the mayor's office to develop a public relations strategy and solutions to a foreclosure crisis caused by a widespread mortgage scam

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SCENARIO:

The local newspaper, ‘the Gazette’ has recently published an article about a possible mortgage scam involving the First City Bank (‘the Bank’). The Bank has allegedly offered high interest rate loans in low-income and minority neighborhoods and has forced a high number of foreclosures in these areas. Private mortgage companies have been accused of colluding with contractors, and the city government has been blamed for its lack of regulation of the private lending industry. A meeting has been arranged between representatives of First City Bank, the mayor’s office, political leaders of low-income neighborhoods, private mortgage companies, the city wide trade association of contractors and the State Banking Commission to discuss the situation.

 

MECHANICS:

Allow a minimum of 30-45 minutes for preparation. The negotiation itself should last at least 2 hours with an additional 60-90 minutes for discussion and debriefing afterwards.

There is another version of this game used in the angry Public course. This other version focuses on media strategy public relations in crisis situations.

Lawrence Susskind has published ‘Dealing with an Angry Public’ that addresses the major points of this game.

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • The primary focus of this game is on the formulation of a media/public relations process appropriate to a multi-party public disputes resolution effort.
  • The efforts of a chief elected official to act as consensus-builder can backfire. When and how elected officials should try to play facilitative roles is a sub-theme worth exploring in this case.
  • Coalitions are often formed in multi-party negotiations. This game provides an instructive context for exploring coalition strategies especially blocking.
  • This exercise provides the opportunity to discuss a variety of issues. Parties that reveal their true interests do not necessarily do better than those who remain silent or bluff. The advantages and disadvantages of revealing all of one’s concerns are illustrated in the exercise.
  • The advantages of caucusing can be explored. Some players will invite pre-negotiation caucusing while others will not participate in private caucuses.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

For all parties:

  • General Instructions
  • Gazette article
  • Public Relations Strategy

 

Role Specific:
Confidential Instructions to the Representative of the

  • Citywide Trade Association of Contractors
  • First City Bank
  • Mayor
  • Neighborhoods
  • Private Mortgage Companies
  • State Banking Commission

 

Teacher’s Package (28 pages total):

  • All of the above

 

KEYWORDS/THEMES:

Agenda control; Authority; BATNA; Bluffing; Caucusing; Coalitions; Commitment; Communication; Competition v. Cooperation; Compliance; Dealing with an angry public; Delay tactics; Financial analysis; Group process; Information exchange; Joint gains; Media strategy in crisis situations; Multi-party negotiation; Objective criteria; Options, generating; Pressure tactics; Public disputes; Public opinion

 

SIMILAR SIMULATIONS:

Teflex Products

Dirty Stuff II

Other angry public games

 

First City Bank and the Press Attributes

Time required:
2-3 hours
Number of participants:
6
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 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.