Community Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Homelessness in Niceville

Edward Scher and Lawrence Susskind
Six-person facilitated integrative negotiation among advocates for homeless people, community and business leaders, and a foundation regarding the allocation of a grant to alleviate local homelessness problems

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SCENARIO:

Recent publicity in a prominent national newspaper about the town of Niceville’s expanding homeless population, has caused the Ledbetter Foundation to address the issue of homelessness with a one-time grant of $500,000. The simulation explores the role a facilitator can play in this type of community problem-solving effort. The stakeholders represent five different attitudes towards homelessness which are sometimes contrary, yet lend themselves to coalition building. It is up to the foundation representative to reconcile the parties’ philosophical differences to develop a satisfactory “package”. 

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • It is important to distinguish stated positions from underlying interests. In order to reach a successful conclusion each party must prioritize its desired outcomes and be willing to forgo some to achieve others.
  • The facilitator must be able to keep the discussion focused on the “issues” and not allow disagreements among the parties to bog down the group.
  • The group should take advantage of private discussions or caucuses. Though no two groups will agree on everything, coalition building will be helpful in building consensus.
  • All interests should be fully represented in the discussions for as long as possible; however, the game requires only four of the five players (excluding the foundation representative) to reach agreement. It is up to the stakeholder to decide how flexible they will be in light of the fact that they run the risk of being excluded. The group as a whole must determine the advantages and disadvantages of excluding a stakeholder.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

For all parties:

  • General instructions
  • Background information on relevant stakeholders present at the meeting
  • Suggested proposals for grant money
  • Newspaper article on homelessness in Niceville
  • Worksheet for negotiation preparation

 

Role Specific:

  • Homeless shelter operator
  • Director of the Governor’s Task Force on Homelessness
  • Representative from the Homeless Union
  • Chair of the Niceville Homeowners Association
  • Chair of the Community Service League

 

Teacher’s Package:

  • All of the above
  • Notes on logistics, debrief questions and bibliography for further reading.

 

KEYWORDS:

Community foundation; facilitation; philanthropy; social service; homelessness; multiparty negotiation, consensus building

 

SIMILAR SIMULATIONS

Blueville Health Foundation; Wintertime in Winterville; Franklin Family Foundation; Westbrook Regional School District

 

Homelessness in Niceville Attributes

Time required:
2-3 hours
Number of participants:
6
Teams involved:
No
Agent present:
None
Neutral third party present:
Facilitator
Scoreable:
No
Teaching notes available:
Yes
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.