Lawrence SusskindEight-person, multi-issue mediation among regional government, environmental, development, and business interests regarding environmental and economic tradeoffs and ethical issues in the development of a manufacturing plant
Imports Inc, a large multi-national corporation, has recently purchased Smith’s Rollers plant. The new owners want to expand the plant and are considering a site in Milltown on the Humboldt River. Milltown is located in Arcadia — a fictitious western European country. In manufacturing the rollers, the chemical by-product ‘Laminia’ is generated. Although community leaders are enthusiastic about the project and the potential creation of new jobs and economic expansion, there is much concern regarding the long-term effects of the chemical releases. The elected regional Governors of Humboldt have invited seven parties, together with a mediator, to participate in an informal discussion that will cover both environmental and economic issues. There will be two preliminary meetings prior to the main meeting. The first preliminary meeting will include leaders from the Dairy Cooperative, Environmental Action League, and Arcadia Environmental Quality Agency. The second preliminary meeting will involve the Mayor of Milltown, the Director of Economic Development in Humboldt, and the Coordinator of the Business Association will meet to review their mutual concerns. When these six parties come together, the Lawyer from Imports, Inc., in addition to a professional mediator will also be present.
- The preliminary meetings create a bi-level negotiating process. Participants have an opportunity to compare the differences and similarities of their particular dispute resolution styles when negotiating with parties having some similar ideas and then with parties articulating seemingly opposing interests. In addition, analysis can be made of how agreements may be reached in the face of differing interests and views.
- Although three main issues are discussed at the meetings, each player has additional concerns as well. This underscores the possibilities of creative settlements, as well as aids players in deciding what coalitions will be most useful.
- The use of linkage should be explored both in terms of threats and in terms of incentives or promises.
- The blending of economic and environmental issues provides and opportunity to discuss the costs and benefits of tradeoffs, as well as advantages and disadvantages of revealing all of one’s concerns.
- During debriefing, discussion regarding the mediator’s method of handling dispute should be highlighted. At this point confidential information provided to the mediator by the Governors should be revealed. Analysis of this information and how the neutral party used it to either attempt agreement or decide that a consensus was unreachable provides an opportunity to focus on the role of a mediator in a public policy dispute.
Estimated Time Requirement:
30 minutes- read instructions
45 minutes – private meetings for each of the 2 coalitions
15 minutes – mediator can use this time to meet with the coalitions if she or he has not been present in the private meetings
60-120 minutes – coalitions negotiate
60 minutes – debrief
Total: 2.5-3.5 hours
Needed for the exercise:
2 small rooms with seats for 4; 1 large room with seats for 8; Flip charts, markers and writing materials for all parties and in particular the mediator
For all parties:
- General Background and Instructions
- Milltown Journal Editorial
Confidential Instructions for
- Coordinator of the Humboldt Business Association
- Representative of the Arcadia Environmental Quality Agency
- Director of Economic Development
- Lawyer for Imports, Inc.
- Head of the Environmental Action League
- Head of the Dairy Cooperative
- Mayor of Milltown
- All of the above
- Notes on the background readings, logistics, debriefing, summary of major lessons and potential exam questions
Environmental dispute resolution; mediation; mediating science-intensive policy disputes; contingent agreement; multi-party negotiating; consensus building; brainstorming; packaging; Agenda control; Authority; Bluffing; Caucusing; Coalitions, blocking; Commitment; Communication, public v. private; Compliance; Consensus building; constituents; Cost-benefit analysis; Creating and Claiming value; Credibility; Currently perceived choice analysis; Decision analysis; Distributional disputes; Joint gain; Group process; Information exchange; Interest, dovetailing; Lawyering; Legitimacy; Linkage; Managing uncertainty; Mediation; Media; Meeting design; Misrepresentation; Monolithic v. non-monolithic parties; Objective criteria; Options generating; Partisan perceptions; Personality; Precedents; Public opinion; Reality testing; Relationship; Reservation price; Risk perception; Separating the people from the problem; Systems of negotiation; Threats; Trading, issues; Undisclosed principles; Yesable propositions
The Carson Extension (mediated version)
- Time required:
- 2-3 hours
- Number of participants:
- Teams involved:
- Agent present:
- Neutral third party present:
- Teaching notes available:
- Non-English version available:
- French, Spanish
PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center
Soft copy vs. hard copy
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Ordering a single copy for review
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Ordering copies for multiple participants
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 “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.
If you are ordering hard copies, 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 “Quantity.” 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.