Hans Brandt

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Jeswald W. Salacuse, Program on Negotiation (2003)

Hans Brandt is a short film which presents a dramatized problem for use in courses on negotiation, conflict resolution, management, or leadership. The brevity of the film and the richness of the teaching notes make the film highly adaptable for use in a variety of classroom settings.

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Hans Brandt, a short film written and produced by Jeswald W. Salacuse, presents a dramatized problem for use in courses on negotiation, conflict resolution, management, or leadership. The brevity of the film and the richness of the teaching notes make the film highly adaptable for use in a variety of classroom settings.

The viewer is placed in the position of the leader of a software development team that has been successful in creating new products. The leader believes that the team's success has been due to the leader's efforts to develop a sense of cohesion and teamwork among its members. One important element in the team leader's approach is the holding of staff meetings twice a week, at 9 am on Monday and Thursday, for team members to share ideas and resolve problems. Six months ago, the leader's company acquired the U.S. subsidiary of a German software manufacturer. As part of integrating the two companies, Hans Brandt, a German software engineer in his late fifties, was assigned to the leader's team. Brandt attends staff meetings irregularly and says little or nothing when he does attend. Technically brilliant, he has proposed an innovative project idea that the leader's superior have just agreed to fund. When the team leader tells Hans of the company's decision, Hans takes that occasion to announce that due to the demands of the new project he will not be attending staff meetings any longer. He rises to leave. The film ends with a freeze frame of Hans rising from his chair.

Under the guidance of an instructor, students seek to resolve the problem through discussion. It is hoped that a dramatized problem will engage students more actively in discussion than a traditional written case and will also help develop students’ perceptual skills — key assets for any negotiator, manager, or leader. In a further attempt to simulate reality in the classroom, the video seeks to encourage students to react and make decisions in real time. This teaching note is designed to aid instructors in using the film and in conducting the classroom discussion of the various issues it raises, including cross-cultural communication, the tension between empathy and assertiveness, the potential gap between communicative intent and impact, and the risks and benefits of various approaches to conflict management. Attached as appendices to the teaching note are a student questionnaire, which may be reproduced for classroom use, and slide masters that the instructor may use in discussing the film.

 

  • "I like to use short dramatized problems such as Hans Brandt to launch classroom discussions. Video is an attention-getting medium, and it gives students a rich set of common background facts and data for their analyses and recommendations. Moreover, this video is short enough to be used in virtually any class period or training session while leaving plenty of time for discussion. The accompanying detailed teaching notes are intended to help the instructor guide the discussion. I have used this video with great success in both graduate classes and executive education seminars on negotiation, management, and leadership." – Jeswald W. Salacuse, Henry J. Braker Professor of Law, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University

Hans Brandt Attributes

Time required: Less than 30 minutes
Teaching notes available: Yes
Produced by: Program on Negotiation, 2003
Run Time: 3 minutes, 30 seconds