Norbert Jacker and Mark GordonTwo-party integrative negotiation between agents for an opera singer and an opera house regarding a possible contract for an upcoming production
Sally Soprano is a distinguished soprano who is now somewhat past her prime. She has not had a lead role in two years but would like to revive her career. The Lyric Opera has a production scheduled to open in three weeks, but its lead soprano has become unavailable. Lyric’s representative has requested a meeting with Sally’s agent to discuss the possibility of hiring Sally for the production. Neither knows much about the other’s interests or alternatives. There is a wide range of possible outcomes.
NOTE: This exercise is a modified version of the exercise Sally Swansong I, developed by Norbert S. Jacker and Mark N. Gordon. Sally Swansong I is still available upon request. The Spanish, Swedish, and Dutch translations are based on the original Sally Swansong exercise. See also Theotis Wiley, a variation of this simulation set in the context of a potential endorsement contract between a basketball player and an athletic shoe company.
- Confidential Instructions for:
- Sally Soprano’s Agent
- Lyric Opera’s Business Manager
- Post-negotiation handouts:
- Some possible criteria for establishing salary
- Some creative options
- Teacher’s Package includes:
- All of the above
- Teaching Note
PROCESS THEMES: Anchoring; Attorney/Client relations; Authority; BATNA; Bluffing; Confidentiality; Constituents; Fairness; Information exchange; Interests, dovetailing; Lawyering; Legitimacy; Meaning of “success”; Misrepresentation; Objective criteria; Offers, first; Options, generating; Pareto optimization; Precedents; Risk aversion; Risk perception; Systems of negotiation; Trust
This exercise is an excellent vehicle for comparing principled negotiation and positional bargaining.
The knowledge that one’s BATNA is weak often leads people to negotiate much less vigorously than they otherwise would. Is this ever justified? If so, under what conditions? The case affords a good opportunity to point out that any such analyses should be based on a consideration of the parties’ relative BATNAs.
The available data allow a number of more or less equally persuasive arguments about what a “fair” salary would be. This is at a minimum good practice in developing and using objective criteria. Beyond that, the case presents the more difficult challenge of finding an objective basis with which to judge the applicability of alternative objective criteria.
Good negotiators put the distributive issues in this case in perspective and reduce their importance by dovetailing interests with creative options that expand the pie. This case has an enormous potential range of such creative options.
Since the case does have a strong competitive element, there is ample opportunity to explore techniques for indirectly and directly extracting information from the other side. Likewise, techniques of protecting oneself from “giving up” the possibility for gains that were unforeseen can be explored and discussed.
Sally Soprano I Attributes
- Time required:
- 1-2 hours
- Number of participants:
- Teams involved:
- Agent present:
- Norbert Jacker and Mark Gordon
- Neutral third party present:
- Teaching notes available:
- Non-English version available:
- Chinese, Danish, French, Hebrew, Norwegian, Spanish, Turkish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, German, Dutch, Croatian, Czech
PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center
Soft copy vs. hard copy
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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, 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.