Employment Negotiation Role-Play:

Job Negotiation, The A three-party, email-based, employment offer negotiation


Jennie Hatch & Kessely Hong

A three-party employment negotiation involving a mid-career student negotiating two job offers via email at the same time.


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.


Jordan Webb, a current masters student, negotiates via email (simultaneously) with two tech firms who are potential employers. Both firms have offered to create a new position for Jordan, as the Director of Community Engagement, to manage public-private partnerships. Jordan’s interests are wide-ranging, including the work itself, salary & benefits, start date & vacation time, location, degree of travel, and flexibility in working from home because of family concerns. Avery Adams represents Computech, Jordan’s former employer. Baylor Bell represents Innoventrix, another potential employer. Avery Adams does not know Jordan has another job offer (unless Jordan decides to reveal this information). Baylor Bell knows that Jordan has an offer from Computech, but does not know that Jordan is still negotiating the terms of the offer (unless Jordan decides to reveal this information).

The major lessons relate to self-advocacy in job negotiations as well as dealing with the challenges presented by communicating via email (instead of face-to-face). This simulation highlights sources of power for job candidates in career negotiations, including preparation, setting high aspirations, having a strong BATNA, emphasizing unique skills or contributions the job candidate can bring to the organization, considering a range of interests, and connecting with others. This simulation also helps students consider strategies to effectively negotiate via email, including setting up a meeting in person (or via Skype) prior to the email exchange when possible, establishing shared norms for communication (and swiftly sharing the reason for any delay in communication), formatting messages so they appear professional and are easy for the recipient to understand, and the importance of proofreading.

This role-play is based on Sheila Heen’s “The Offer”.


View a Questions & Answers sheet here



Confidential Instructions for:

  • Jordan Webb (Job Candidate)
  • Avery Adams (Computech)
  • Baylor Bell (Innoventrix)


Teacher's Package:

  • All of the above
  • Slides with teaching tips for the negotiation simulation

Job Negotiation, The Attributes

Time required: 2.5 - 4 hrs total. (30-45 minutes prep, 75 - 105, minutes for the simulation, 45-75 minutes for debrief.)
Time Required Alternative: Another option is to allow students to complete the email negotiation overnight or over a weekend, outside of class time
Number of participants: 3
Teams involved: No
Agent present: No
Neutral third party present: No
Scoreable: No
Teaching notes available: Yes
Authors: Jennie Hatch & Kessely Hong
Recommended Supplemental Reading: "Make the Most of e-mail Negotiations,” Negotiation, July, 2009, pp. 5-7Thompson, Leigh, The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator, Prentice Hall, Chapter 12, “Negotiating via Information Technology,” pp. 319 – 337Thompson, Leigh, and Nadler, Janice, “Negotiating Via Information Technology: Theory and Application,” Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 58, No. 1, 2002, pp. 109-124.