Community Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Neighborhood Care, Inc.

Lawrence Susskind and Bruce Patton
Two-party negotiation or mediation between church and neighborhood representatives over the possible use of church facilities for services for the mentally challenged

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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:

Neighborhood Care, Inc. is a non-profit mental health organization that provides counseling and recreational health services to mentally challenged adults and teenagers. Neighborhood Care would like to rent space in a local church, and the church is interested. Local residents oppose the idea and plan on staging a protest at the next zoning hearing, when the church will seek a permit to operate the Neighborhood Care facility. The situation is also complicated by the fact that the church is located in a neighborhood with residents of a different religious faith.

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

There are two versions of this exercise:

Original by Lawrence Susskind –
Each participant receives a single sheet of paper with a summary of both sides’ views. The group is asked to discuss how a mediator, contacted by one side, ought to proceed. The group is then asked to discuss how a mediator, in the mediation, should proceed. The participants are then given a copy of the actual negotiated agreement and asked to evaluate it.

 

Revised version by Bruce Patton –
This is a mediation exercise. Each side receives its views as confidential instructions. The mediator comes to the meeting at the request of the parties. The parties may be represented by individuals and/or teams. Any agreement reached can be compared with the actual signed agreement.

 

Estimated Time Requirements:

Original non-mediated Version:
Group discussion on how a mediator ought to proceed after being contacted by one side: 15-30 minutes
Group discussion on how the mediator should proceed during the mediation: 15-30 minutes
Evaluation of an actual negotiated agreement: 15-30 minutes Total: 45-90 minutes

 

Revised Mediation Version:
Reading and preparation: 10 minutes
Mediation 60-120 minutes
Debrief: 45-60 minutes
Total: 105 – 190 minutes

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • Partisan perceptions: This case illustrates how and why groups with competing interests or concerns can view the same situation in different ways.
  • Mediator issues: The difficulties facing mediators trying to gain entry into community disputes are illustrated, especially the problem of maintaining neutrality.
  • Identifying success: The prospects for developing written agreements in community conflicts are presented. The difficulties of defining a “good” outcome in a community dispute are also highlighted.
  • Implementation: Review of the agreement reached in the real-life case highlights the problem of implementing informed negotiated agreements.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

For all parties: Non-Mediated Version

  • Memorandum on the Neighbors’ and Church’s Views
  • The Actual Signed Agreement (names blocked out)

 

Role specific: Mediated Version

  • Confidential Instructions for the
  • Neighbors’ Representative(s)
  • Church’s Representative(s)
  • Mediator
  • The Actual Signed Agreement (names blocked out)

 

Teacher’s Package:

  • All of the above
  • Extensive teaching notes for mediated version debrief

 

KEYWORDS/ THEMES:

Agenda control; Authority; Commitment; Communication; Competition v. Cooperation; Compliance; Constituents; Education, as a means; Emotions; Facility siting negotiation; Implementing informed negotiated public agreements; Interest analysis; Issue control; Linkage; Mediation; Mediation, negotiating entry; Meeting design; Negotiating in communities of faith; Objective criteria; One-text procedure; Options, generating; Partisan perceptions; Public dispute mediation; Public opinion; Reality testing; Relationship; Risk perception; Value-based disputes; Yesable propositions

 

SIMILAR SIMULATIONS:

Jefferson Hazardous Waste Negotiation

Siting an Asphalt Plant in the City of Mandroa

 

Neighborhood Care, Inc. Attributes

Time required:
2-3 hours
Number of participants:
3
Teams involved:
No
Agent present:
Non-lawyer
Neutral third party present:
Mediator
Scoreable:
No
Teaching notes available:
Yes
Author:
Non-English version available:
Spanish
PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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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.).

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 781-966-2751 (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, 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.