Robyn & Luis


Jeswald W. Salacuse

A short dramatized problem regarding a dispute between two corporate officers over the best way to improve company profitability


Robyn & Luis, a short film written and produced by Jeswald W. Salacuse, presents a dramatized problem for use in courses on negotiation, conflict resolution, management, or leadership. Under the guidance of an instructor, students seek to resolve the problem through discussion. A dramatized problem tends to engage students actively in discussion and also helps develop students’ perceptual skills — key assets for any negotiator, manager, or leader. In a further attempt to simulate reality in the classroom, the video seeks to encourage students to react and make decisions in real time.

The film viewer is placed in the position of the CEO of a publicly traded communication equipment manufacturer that has had low, stagnant profits for the past five years. Hired just six months ago, the CEO has been given 18 months by the firm’s board chairman to turn the company around and increase its profitability. The CEO has been working energetically with the company’s vice presidents to develop a plan of action to fix the problem. In order to control costs, the CEO has agreed with Vice-President for Finance Robyn Kendal to impose a 5% limit on budget increases in all departments in next year’s budget. Kendal is to work with seven vice presidents to implement the budget cap. The CEO knows, however, that cutting costs alone will not achieve a sustained improvement in profitability. Company productivity must also be increased. Luis Molina, the company’s Vice President for Human Resource Development, has proposed a new human resource development model that emphasizes employee training and evaluation as a way to improve productivity. Molina’s plan is based on the human resources system in the company’s Canadian subsidiary, the organization’s most profitable unit. The CEO encourages Molina to develop a new human resources model based on the Canada system for the entire company

Two weeks later, on the day after the CEO returns from a two-week trip, Robyn Kendal and Luis Molina appear at the door of the CEO’s office and ask for a meeting. They enter the office and sit opposite the CEO’s desk, looking directly at the viewer. Remind the CEO of the directive to limit budget increases, Kendal reports that whereas all the other vice presidents have agreed to limit budget increases for their units to 5%, Molina has refused and is insisting on an 8% increase. Molina replies that he needs the additional 3% (i.e. $200,000) in order to implement the new human resources plan that he and the CEO had agreed upon. Kendal insists, as the CEO had previously agreed, on the need to reduce costs in order to improve company profitability, while Molina argues strongly fro the necessity of increasing productivity as the basic means of raising company profits on a sustained basis. The film ends as both face the CEO (i.e. the viewer) and say “well…?”


  • Understanding and analyzing the nature and causes of interpersonal conflict in the work place
  • Understanding the various roles that a third party may play in the settlement of a conflict
  • Understanding and using strategies for mediation and other forms of third-party intervention in a conflict


Robyn & Luis Attributes

Time required:
Teaching notes available:
Run Time:
7 minutes

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 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, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at, 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.