595 Assignment 2011

Group Case Study Negotiation

Assigned September 14th

Assignment Components Due 9th October, 30th October, 9th November

Presentations on 9th November and 16th November.


The assignment I involves three analytical exercises to be completed by specific dates during the course and a presentation on your case study in one of the last two classes. The analytical exercises are designed to help you develop your understanding of the knowledge, skills and attitudes that we are examining in the course by applying them to an issue of particular interest to you. They are also intended to assist you in advancing your communications, negotiation, facilitation and mediation skills and how these might be used in diverse contexts. The presentations are designed to share your group members' experiences and reflections with others in the course.

Before class on 21st September you are to select an issue that relates to your interests and in which you can analyse the use of negotiation. The issue that you select should be well defined and involve a relatively small number of parties in order to make your task more manageable. This likely means that you will want to pick a specific project or problem situation of some kind. The issue that you select must lend itself to being elaborated by you so that it is at least real enough that you are able to define the policies and institutional arrangements that would be relevant to it. You should not formally adopt a role as a "facilitator" or "mediator" as this has been found to introduce too many complexities. Beyond this you are free to design the specifics of your issue in any way that you wish by drawing on your experience, written materials and discussions with people familiar with such issues. You may base your issue on a real case but you should not be attempting to replicate the negotiations that took place in it. Conflict resolution is difficult in any situation but particularly so in societal and cultural contexts that are new to you. It is therefore recommended that in this initial stage of developing your skills you do not design case studies that are conceived as being in countries other than Canada.

Please note we will be using a case study simulation in class entitled Development of Northern BC Valley, which is outlined on the Valley Simulation site. Please read the outline of the case and choose a topic for your group that is different in subject and character.

The objectives of the exercise are

  1. to define the policy and institutional context for the issue,
  2. to determine where and how negotiation is and might be used in dealing with the issue,
  3. to develop your negotiation skills by addressing the selected issue,
  4. to assess the factors that affect the productivity of the negotiations, and
  5. to make recommendations on how negotiation based mechanisms might be utilised most productively in dealing with the issue.

Your first task is to negotiate an agreement with three (3) other people in the class with whom you will carry out the exercise. Negotiation groups may include only 4 people. Each of you will take on a specific role in the issue (e.g. proponent, regulator, affected stakeholder etc.). Before class on September 21st you should have circulated to the class by posting to the Negotiation Case Studies web site your suggestions for topics that you would be interested in finding people to work with. For example: Is anyone interested in a case study of a conflict relating to the removal of land from the Agricultural Land Reserve for development of housing? You may suggest as many topics as you like. In as far as possible you should have begun to agree on topics and groups through discussions before class. In class we will confirm the groups and you will have time to convene and begin developing an agreement on how you will proceed. We will brain storm elements of a model agreement for undertaking the negotiation exercises that you each can utilise. I have provided some advice on what to include in such agreements. Your exercise agreements must be signed and delivered to me by email by noon on 28th September. There is no grade for these agreements but we will revisit them during the last two classes to discuss how you would refine them in light of your experiences with them.

Each of your three written assignments will be a maximum of 1000 words in length with an additional one page maximum for figures, diagrams, tables or appendices. You may choose to submit them to me in one of two ways:

  1. one each, informing me to read and grade them as separate submissions, or
  2. a joint submission, informing me to read and grade them as a joint submission.

The first option implies separate grades, the second a common grade. If you elect the second option you may if you wish choose to indicate who prepared which parts.You should give careful thought to the relative merits of the two options for each of the three assignments. If four of you submit jointly then you have a maximum of 4000 words.

When you are role playing with the other participant(s) in your case you should adopt the approach that you would expect your party to use in order to make the most of the learning exercise. You should not, however, reply to the Analytical Exercises in role as this becomes too complicated.

Analytical Exercise I (20% of Course Grade)

Due 12.00pm 9th October, 2011

You are requested to provide me with a memorandum which introduces me to your issue by defining the policy and institutional context; sketching the history of the issue so far; indicating the interests of the parties involved, in particular those of the one that you are role playing and the two or three with whom you are going to be negotiating; and your agreement with the other negotiating parties on how you will proceed with the specifics of the negotiations relating to your case within the framework of your agreement for the overall exercise.

Analytical Exercise II (20% of Course Grade)

Due 12.00pm 30th October, 2011

You are requested to provide me with a memorandum that details your strategy for negotiating specific issues with the other parties indicating, amongst other things, the steps you will take, the opportunities that you perceive for agreement and the difficulties that you expect to encounter and how you will deal with them. Whereas your response to the first Analytical Exercise focused on outlining general and procedural steps in your negotiation, this response should emphasize the specific and substantive aspects of your negotiations strategy.

Analytical Exercise III (20% of Course Grade)

Due 12.00pm 8th November, 2011

You are requested to provide me with a memorandum that details the agreement that you have reached and your assessment of how well it meets your interests; to the extent that you do not reach agreement, you should explain the reasons. The second half of your memorandum should recommend how the policy and institutional arrangements for dealing with your issue should be re-designed in order to facilitate more productive use of negotiation in the future.

Please proof-read your memorandums with care. I will grade each of them out of 100 and I will take off 1/4, 1/2, 1, upto a maximum of 2 for each spelling or typographical error. I will also subtract marks for exceeding the word count as follows: first 100, 1/4; second 100, 1/2 and so on. Late assignments will incur a penalty of 1/2 for part or all of the first day and the penalty will double each day thereafter.

Presentations (25% of Course Grade)

Each group will make a presentation on either the 9th or 16th November that summarizes their case study negotiations and their reflections on the experience. There will be times allocated for presentation and discussion, which will be determined when we know how many case study groups are formed. In preparing your presentations please keep in mind that others in the class do not know anything about your case and take advantage of projection, handouts, and posters to support your presentation. It should include consideration of the following questions:


The grades and feedback on the Analytical Exercises will be provided within one week after their submission. The grades for presentations will be determined after the last class. Grading will follow SCARP's general ranges and the following criteria will be used in assessing marks:

Analytical Exercises

Presentation Session