Zero sum game!

Tonight, we had two negotiation role-play exercises, both with dramatically different outcomes.

The first exercise, called Campus Travel Agency: a negotiation role play, involved a travel agency and an airline called Midwest Airlines. The purpose of the first exercise was to explore the dynamics of interpersonal negotiation, and to experiment with negotiating strategy and tactics.

Our teams objective was to try to maximize profitability through a commission on the airline seats. Our lead negotiator decided to push for a 20% commission rate when the airline was only willing to offer around 8%. It ended with the airline’s lead negotiator abruptly ending the meeting, and our negotiator spending the next 45 minutes explaining why he wouldn’t budge from his 20% commission demand.

Because of our teams fixation on the commission and profitability of the sale, which was written into the script, we never had any substantive conversation about other areas where Midwest Airlines could potentially sweeten the deal with other incentives and goodies.

We then moved into the second exercise, the Ugli Orange Case. Now that we had softened up the other team, we had them right where we wanted them and we were able to get them to work with us on what could have been a very difficult negotiation to secure a very rare orange of which there were only 3000 available in the world. We were able to agree to work together to offer $90,000 for the Ugli oranges, of which our team only needed the juice, and that they are team needed the rinds.


One thought on “Zero sum game!

  1. Nice job at describing the first “negotiation meeting.” Regarding the second meeting, it is fair to say that it takes the two parties to be willing to negotiate and get what they need. In this negotiation, the “other” party made a good deal that you may not know about, and of course, was not going to disclose it. In any case, the willingness of the other party made it a win-win for both. It takes two to tango!

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