What’s in a Name?
Major Negotiation Case Based Exercise
MGX5630Principles of negotiation
I will tell you the mistake you are always making. . . . You draw up your plans the day before the battle, when you do not yet know your adversary’s movements, or what positions you will have to occupy. NAPOLEON BONAPARTE
FRENCH EMPEROR AND GENERAL
This negotiation role-play case analysis was performed during on campus classes held at Monash University on Friday 24th Feb 2012, as part of the subject Principles of Negotiation. The informational structure of the case was divided into common information shared between two groups consisting of three negotiators each. In addition, each group was given its own discrete brief. The purpose of exercise was to successfully negotiate an optimal outcome for each of the groups.
The case itself, as the name suggests, was based on naming rights of the Veterans Memorial Stadium at River City in the USA. The stadium had a long history of public and University patronage, but over the years became less used by the public schools due to the school having their own fields. The University eventually became the primary users of the field and subsequently the City reflecting on the high cost of maintaining the facility decided to sell the stadium to the University for $1, with the expressed term in the deed of sale, that the City must be consulted over any name changing in relation to the stadium.
The Stadium became the home football stadium for the River City University Eagles football team. The University after some time wanted to rename the stadium after their highly regarded retired football coach Roger Hardy. The renaming would not only honour the coach, but in addition, would result in a wealthy donor pledge of $91,250 to the University. The proposed new name of the stadium was the ‘Roger Hardy – Veterans Memorial Stadium’. Due to the unwillingness of the City to change the name of the stadium, the University proceeded to rename the field only to Roger Hardy Field. The University did so acting under state rules which allowed a Chancellor to name facilities that were less than an entire building (such as rooms, wings, or exterior plazas) without approval from anyone else. Subsequently lawsuits were filed against the University. Both parties eventually hoped to negotiate an out-of-court settlement through their designated negotiators.
The main parties to the case were the Veterans who saturated the local population of River City (pop. 51,000), accounting for approximately 10 percent of the population and the River City University. There was also a large military base in the area. The Veterans were represented at the negotiation table by professional negotiators acting through the City Council. Our team performed the role of the negotiators representing the Veterans interests but employed by The City (The Negotiators). The University negotiators were accountable to a wealthy donor and also accountable to the City through a contractual arrangement regarding the naming of the stadium when the University took possession of it in 1980. The University being a public institution is also indirectly accountable to the veterans as well as to the other citizen groups
The prelude to the negotiation was based on preliminary reading of the case and internal group discussion. Initially the group was interested in understanding the parties or performing a self-assessment and ‘other party’ assessment.
As part of the self-assessment The Negotiators sorted through the key facts to assist building a cohesive assessment of the situation. This involved determining our negotiation goal, or as describe by Thompson (2012) answering the ‘what do I want’ question. The Negotiators were principally interested in representing the interests of the Veterans acting through the City with the objective of satisfying the need of honouring the...
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