International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Monroe Energy Assistance Game I

Allan Morgan and Lawrence Susskind
Six-party, four-issue negotiation among representatives of consumer groups, political leaders, and public utilities to develop a statewide energy assistance plan for low-income residents

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Free review copies of non-English Teacher’s Packages will be emailed upon request. Please contact tnrc@law.harvard.edu  or telephone 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 781-966-2751 (outside the U.S.)

SCENARIO:

A federal statute requires each state to submit a plan indicating how it will use its share of a national energy assistance fund for low-income residents. The state of Monroe has been criticized for not managing its program effectively. Federal assistance funds have declining significantly, and Monroe must develop a new strategy for energy assistance. A six-member Energy Assistance Task Force including representatives of state agencies, utility companies, the legislature, and consumer groups will attempt to reach a consensus on next year’s plan. Issues that they will address include: eligibility criteria for benefits; sources of funding; level of benefits provided by the program; and method of payment of benefits. The Governor has asked the Task Force to submit a report following the session.

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • Identify and recognize interests: players must clearly identify and express their interests vis a vis energy cost and supply. In addition, players must recognize the interests of the other parties in order to achieve agreement.
  • Relationships: the significance of relationships can be studied in the context of negotiation strategies. In particular, this game explores how existing and future relationships are linked to implementation of agreements.
  • Join Gains: When parties value issues differently, they can create trades that benefit both parties and facilitate an acceptable agreement.
  • Coalitions: This game provides an opportunity to analyze the effect of coalitions on a negotiation, especially blocking coalitions.
  • Public Policy Dispute Resolution: This game highlights how public policy disputes can be resolved by bringing stakeholder representatives together in a face-to-face negotiation.
  • Representation and agency: Issues of representation and agency can be explored, since each of the players represents a group or institutional constituency. Each representative has a mandate which aids or constrains his or her ability to negotiate.

 

MECHANICS:

This exercise is best played with six players (one per role). One variation may include replacing the legislative representative’s function as convener with an outside mediator/ facilitator. Preparation takes approximately 30 minutes, although more time is recommended. The negotiation can be conducted in one and one-half hours. Debriefing time should be at least one hour.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

For all parties:

  • General Information
  • Appendix Summary of Significant Data

 

Role specific:

Confidential Instructions for Representatives of

  • The Citizens Utility Board
  • The Department of Social Services
  • The League of Low-Income Consumers
  • The Legislature
  • The Public Utility Commission
  • The Utility Companies

 

Teacher’s Package:

  • All of the above

 

KEYWORDS/ THEMES:

BATNA; Caucusing; Closure; Coalitions; Commitment; Communication; Competition v. Cooperation; Consensus building; Constituents; Currently perceived choice analysis; Energy Policy Negotiation; Fairness; Group process; Information exchange; Interests analysis; Interests, dovetailing; Issue control; Joint gains; Managing uncertainty; Multiparty negotiation: Objective criteria; Packaging; Partisan perceptions; Political constraints, dealing with; Pressure tactics; Public opinion; Reservation price; Risk aversion; Single-text procedure; Systems of Negotiation; Time constraints; Utility analysis; Yesable propositions

 

Monroe Energy Assistance Game I Attributes

Time required:
2-3 hours
Number of participants:
6
Teams involved:
No
Agent present:
None
Neutral third party present:
None
Scoreable:
Yes
Teaching notes available:
No
Non-English version available:
Spanish
PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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

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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.).

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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.