Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Solar Power

Georg Berkel
Two-party, one-issue distributive negotiation about the acquisition of a renewable energy firm

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.Read more.

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SCENARIO:

The potential acquirer of a technology firm wishes to participate in a fantastically huge project for the production of renewable energy in Northern Africa and the Middle East (Desertec). The acquisition target is viable, yet its owners lack the resources to continue to compete. The exercise condenses the acquisition down to the lone issue of price. Based on a real case, the exercise is best used at the beginning of a course. It covers all basics of distributive negotiations and allows for deducting the tactics of value distributing from the participant´s results.

 

MECHANICS:

Since the acquisition target is not publically traded –the transaction is a one-off between the parties who will not work together anymore in the future— the outcome of this negotiation is determined by how successful the parties divide their proverbial pie. This serves as an eye-opener to many students, allowing them to see the structural similarities between the multi-million-dollar-transaction at hand and day to day negotiations that they may be more familiar with. At the same time it allows them to check and assess their own performance, attitude, and preferences vis-à-vis the requirements of successful value distribution. Lastly, the exercise offers a glimpse into the world of value creation and segues to the possible next exercises in the course.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

Role specific:
Confidential Instructions for:

  • Buyer
  • Seller

 

Teacher’s Package:

  • All of the above
  • Teaching Notes
  • Results Spreadsheet (in Excel format, emailed separately)

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • This exercise possesses a very large zone of possible agreement (ZOPA), the concepts of which can thereby be introduced, together with the underlying ideas of BATNA and Reservation Price.
  • Due to the large ZOPA, practically all students will reach an agreement, which is of course good on the one hand, and will allow the students to clearly see the differences in how good their achieved result is on the other hand.
  • Students thereby benchmark themselves against the others, and realize that their success was not determined by differences in information or time, but rather in different behaviors they chose to employ. This typically opens participants up for the discussion of the mechanics of value distribution, and the tactical requirements for mastering this successfully.
  • Especially in the rare cases where an agreement is found outside the ZOPA, the case also lends itself to discussing the boundaries between professional negotiation tactics and unethical behavior. It encourages students to recognize and examine their own unspoken assumptions and attitudes about pie sharing ethics and behavior.
  • The exercise includes one side item that students often catch. (Both parties in the scenario would prefer to keep the existing production site of the seller intact, including keeping his/her staff.) This item can serve as an occasion to drawn the line between distributive and integrative negotiations – and to build a bridge into this upcoming topic in the course.

 

PROCESS THEMES:

Anchoring; BATNA; Bluffing; Closure; Commitment; Compatible issues; Fairness; Information exchange; quantifying; individual gains; Legitimacy; Misrepresentation; Objective criteria; Offers, first; Reservation price; Systems of negotiation; Pie sharing; Value Distribution, tactics of

 

Solar Power Attributes

Time required:
2 Hours
Number of participants:
2
Teams involved:
No
Agent present:
None
Neutral third party present:
None
Scoreable:
Yes
Teaching notes available:
Yes
Author:
Georg Berkel

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.