This course requires completion of three problem sets, participation in a series of sixteen negotiation exercises, and a final group project.

Problem Sets

Problem Set 1 ( PDF)

Problem Set 2 ( PDF)

Problem Set 3 ( PDF)

Negotiation Exercises

Throughout the course you will participate in role-playing negotiation exercises. You will be assigned a role, partnered with one or more other students, given a case with instructions and confidential information, and asked to prepare and negotiate. When cases are handed out ahead of time, you should come to class prepared to negotiate. In general, we will have a greater range of experience to draw on and a richer discussion if you prepare individually, rather than with a partner or in a study group. Think of it as contributing to a bigger sample for our collective research project and controlling cross-case influences. As a group, you are dependent on each other to suspend disbelief and animate the exercises vividly and plausibly and provide a rich base of experience for us to draw on. Abstracts of scenarios from the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation Clearinghouse are provided below.

Negotiation Exercise Instructions ( PDF)


Appleton vs. Baker ( PDF)

Elmtree House

Malta Bargain with Great Britain

Patriot, Parts A and B

Sally Soprano ( PDF)

Table Talk

HackerStar ( PDF)

Redstone ( PDF)

The Vineyard

Theotis Wiley ( PDF)

Re-engineering Game

Zabian Game

Weathers and Evans ( PDF)

Intersoft Argentina, Parts A and B

Three-party Coalition Exercise ( PDF)

Harborco ( PDF)

Guidelines for Final Project

The final project for class is a group project. It should, in the most general sense, explore in-depth an issue or problem in negotiation that interests you. As a starting point, you should be able to say what your point of departure is.

  • “I’m interested in how MIT seniors negotiate their first jobs.”
  • “I’m interested in how participants switch the mode of negotiation.”
  • “I’m interested in negotiations that play out on two levels.”
  • “I’m interested in whether or not people will lie in negotiation.”
  • “I’m interested in labor-management negotiations.”
  • “I’m interested in how emotions influence negotiation.”
  • “I’m interested in framing effects.”

Notice the key phrase is, “I’m interested in.”

The second step is to restate this as a question that allows you to explore the topic. If you’re interested in lying, you might ask, “Do people lie when asked directly about information they have?” In a previous year a group asked, “What was the interplay between domestic and international negotiations preceding the first Gulf War?” Another explored an interest in fairness by looking at the questions, “How do members of this living group negotiate the assignment of rooms?” A group that was interested in emotion asked, “Do people negotiate the same issues differently when they are angry?”

Notice that this question provides a bridge to the “data” you’ll analyze. This could be a case, a set of negotiations you observe, a set of interviews, or something you participate in yourself. So you’ve got to identify or generate some data and then analyze with respect to your question about negotiation.

Finally, you should relate it back to the kinds of issues we’ve been talking about in class. How does your analysis inform the way you approach negotiation?

In the past, good papers have been in the neighborhood of 20 pages. This is a general guideline and the length will vary depending on what your topic is and how you present it. It’s hard to imagine a ten-page paper going into enough depth and a thirty-page paper is likely to be too long.

Once you start to identify a group, schedule a meeting with me and we can talk through your topic to make sure you are on the right track. We should have a first meeting sometime soon after the break.

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

assignment Written Assignments