Irma Tyler-Wood and Bruce PattonMulti-party negotiation among hospital committee members over the allocation of scarce life-saving resources
A hospital located in a small town has a serious dilemma: the facility only has two dialysis machines which are now in demand by seven community residents with kidney failure. The patients include: a 33 year-old professional athlete, a middle-aged housewife and mother, a male model in his fifties, a 28 year-old factory worker, a corporate executive in his thirties, a child prodigy, and a middle-aged orthopedic surgeon. Without treatment, each patient will die, but only three patients can use the available machines. The machines are extremely expensive, and money to buy a third, let alone a fourth, is simply unavailable at this time. Accommodating more patients for fewer hours subjects each patient to substantially greater risk, and can postpone a choice for no longer than a week or two. The members of the Kidney Dialysis Committee are members of the community who have been asked to serve by the hospital administration. They have been given information about each patient, and have been asked to decide, confidentially, who will and who won’t receive treatment.
The exercise works best in a group of three to five; seven is a maximum. Discussion time can range from 10 to 60 minutes depending on the objective, but 10-15 minutes is usual. Videotaping is recommended to illuminate nonverbal behavior. The exercise can be done before the camera and reviewed in front of the full class. (This makes most sense in a small class where everyone is doing an exercise like this, and where participation is voluntary).
- This exercise can be used for a number of purposes. It was originally designed to explore psychological awareness and illustrate emotional reactions and nonverbal communication.
- The intensity of the psychological dimension adds considerable power to struggles over group process and control.
- Substantively, the case brings into high relief the question of what constitutes “fairness,” “objective criteria,” and societal “norms,” and the extent to which those concepts can exist outside perceptions colored by our personal values. In response, some participants can be seen to search for refuge in some absolute standard, while others seem to construct some kind of calculus of partisan perceptions and consensus.
For all parties:
- General Information
- All of the above
Closure; Commitment; Communication; Cost-benefit analysis; Delay tactics; Emotions; Ethics; Fairness; Group process; Interpersonal skills; Legitimacy; Nonverbal communication; Objective criteria; Personality; Psychological games; Separating the people from the problem
Hospital Committee, The Attributes
- Time required:
- 30 minutes – 1 hour
- Number of participants:
- Teams involved:
- Agent present:
- Neutral third party present:
- Teaching notes available:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com, 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.