Employment Negotiation Role-Play:



Ron Karp and Bruce Patton

Two-party conversation between an employee and his supervisor regarding the employee's recent poor job performance and potential termination


Please note: you must order a copy (a.k.a. license/usage fee) for every person participating in the simulation in your course. This simulation has multiple roles, so you will be unable to complete your purchase without meeting the minimum quantity requirement of copies per role.

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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 will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

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 301-528-2676 (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 301-528-2676 (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, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. 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.

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.

Bulk Pricing Discount

For bulk orders, we offer the following pricing discounts. Please note that these only apply to bulk orders of the same simulation.

  • Between 100-250 copies – 10% discount
  • Between 251-500 copies – 25% discount
  • More than 500 copies – 50% discount
Log In or Register to download the free Teacher's Package Sample.


Jerry has been a steady worker for the company for four years. During the last three months, Jerry's work and attitude have taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Jerry's supervisor does not know the reasons behind Jerry's decline, but the situation has come to the point where the supervisor is prepared to fire Jerry, and is under considerable pressure from management to do so. At the supervisor's instigation, the two are about to meet to discuss this situation.



This exercise can be done between students, or between a student and the instructor. It works well both ways. The issue of firing someone seems to have high general salience. In playing Jerry, the instructor can model the psychological game of "victim." Videotaping participant exercises can produce psychologically rich interactions. In participant-instructor demonstrations, the interaction with Jerry can be followed by a meeting between the supervisor and the supervisor's superior.



Role Specific:

Confidential Instructions for:

  • Jerry
  • Supervisor


Teacher's Package:

  • All of the above
  • Draft Teacher's Note



BATNA; Closure; Commitment; Communication; Compliance; Emotions; Ethics; Fairness; Information exchange; Nonverbal communication; Objective criteria; Options, generating; Personality; Power imbalance; Pressure tactics; Psychological games; Relationship; Risk perception; Separating the people from the problem



This case was designed to explore the psychological games of "victim" and "rescue." By gaining awareness of the archetypes, participants become more sensitive to analogous, but less dramatic, interpersonal dynamics that they encounter in negotiations.

This case provides an excellent opportunity to plan, practice, and test skills in "separating the people from the problem," and dealing with each on their own merits. Dealing humanely with Jerry should not require continued disastrous reliance on his handling of important company business.

The power of good preparation is also apparent here.

Jerry Attributes

Time required: Less than 30 minutes
Number of participants: 2
Teams involved: No
Agent present: None
Scoreable: No
Teaching notes available: Yes
Neutral third party present: None
Non-English version available: German, Spanish