International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Mountain View Farm

Roger Fisher and Andrew Clarkson
Two-party, multi-issue integrative negotiation between a farmer and a neighbor over the sale or lease of part of the neighbor's land

Please note: you must order multiple copies in order to run this simulation. You should order a copy for every person participating in the simulation.

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SCENARIO:

A Vermont farmer somewhat interested in the possibility of expanding activities has considered going into maple syrup production, wood cutting, or increasing the farmer’s cow herd. The farmer’s neighbor is a person from Boston who only comes up on occasional weekends and holidays and is currently interested in selling or leasing at least part of the property. In preliminary discussions, the two have differed significantly on their assessments of the land owned by the Bostonian, but have agreed to meet and discuss the situation further.

 

MECHANICS:

This exercise is usually conducted one-on-one for about 45-60 minutes. With a bit more time, participants can be asked to spend some time drafting a written agreement. Communication with unresponsive parties can be explored in review by modeling a typically smart, but cautious Vermont farmer of few words. Review should take from 60-90 minutes. Asking each participant silently to jot down the points of their agreement usually highlights the imprecision and ambiguity of most oral negotiations.

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • This negotiation focuses squarely on interests, options, and objective criteria. Positional bargaining is virtually certain to leave large potential joint gains unrealized. On the other hand, there is the challenge of engaging in joint brainstorming without unintentionally committing oneself.
  • While a variety of options seem likely to be of mutual benefit, most require additional information for full analysis and decision-making. This raises nice questions of how to structure contingent decisions under uncertainty, and how to build in appropriate incentives for objective information-gathering.
  • Poorly thought out agreements often ignore important unknowns and details of implementation. Clear thinking suggests setting realistic expectations about what can be accomplished in the meeting. Agreements will tend to vary dramatically in their scope.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

Role Specific:

Confidential Instructions for the:

  • Owner
  • Farmer

 

Teacher’s Package:

  • All of the above
  • Draft Teaching Note

 

PROCESS THEMES:

Agenda control; BATNA; Closure; Commitment; Creativity; Information exchange; Interest analysis; Interests, dovetailing; Joint gains; Managing uncertainty; Objective criteria; Options, generating; Pareto optimization

 

Mountain View Farm Attributes

Time required:
1-2 hours
Number of participants:
2
Teams involved:
No
Agent present:
None
Neutral third party present:
None
Scoreable:
No
Teaching notes available:
Yes
Non-English version available:
German, Spanish

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.