15.665 | Spring 2014 | Graduate

Power and Negotiation


Reflective Memos

Reflecting critically on one’s own choices and actions is crucial for strengthening one’s negotiation skills. You are required to write 5 one–page single spaced memos (300–500 words) over the semester.

  • Simulation Memos: For three of these memos, you should select a particular negotiation simulation performed in class in which you participated. By applying the relevant concepts dealt with in class and in the readings, try to address the following questions: What did you do well? What did you not do well? What will you do differently next time and why?

Due: Each of the three simulation memos is due in class the week after the simulation upon which you reflected. Please turn in a hardcopy of your memo to your TA.

You may choose to reflect on any 3 simulations. Please note that for the last two classes in the course there are no simulations for you to reflect upon.

  • Real Life Memo: To fully internalize the negotiations skills learned in the classroom it is important to experiment using these skills outside the classroom. For one of your five memos you should analyze a “real life” negotiation that you experience outside the classroom. If you happen to be already engaged in a negotiation during the semester, whether in your professional life or personal life, you may reflect upon that. Another alternative is to create a negotiation situation. One fun way to do this is to negotiate a typically “non-negotiable” item like a candy bar at a grocery store. You could also try to negotiate free food or other “freebies” for the entire class (see the “Freebie Challenge” described below). This memo should describe your preparation, strategy, the outcome, and what you learned from the experience.
  • Grand Finale Memo: For the final (5th) memo reflect back on what you’ve learned in the course of the semester, how your negotiation style has changed, and what you still want to work on going forward. As part of this memo please think back to some very significant negotiation that occurred earlier in your life, and reflect on how you might have approached this negotiation differently in light of the concepts learned in this class.

All five memos will be graded with a check (typical grade for a memo), check-plus (exceptionally good memo which exhibits insights from integrating experience with concepts learned in class and the readings), or check-minus (below average memo).

The purpose of the memos is not to get it “right” but to become self-aware by digging deep and clearly reflecting about your own learning as a negotiator. The memos are a way to encourage you to integrate your experiences inside and outside the classroom for greater insight and skill in negotiating.

Group Paper and Proposed Presentation

After forming a team with colleagues (guidance about team sizes will be provided in class), please collectively research and write a 7–10 page paper (double-spaced, maximum 3000 words) investigating a real-world conflict situation of your own choosing. You may gather data on the conflict situation through secondary sources (media accounts, books, scholarly research) or primary sources (e.g., interviews of the parties involved). Apply the concepts analyzed in the class and readings to explain the negotiation situation, and provide suggestions as to how the parties may be brought to an agreement, or alternatively how the bargaining strategies adopted by one or more of the parties could be improved. All members of the team will be evaluated equally, so it is up to you to negotiate an equitable distribution of efforts and contributions within your team.

Together with the paper, each team will create a simulation or exercise that illustrates the key lesson learned from your paper. Please submit a PowerPoint presentation and a simulation / exercise that can be used in class to teach your fellow students this core lesson. The goal of the presentation and simulation is Not to explain the nuances of your paper or demonstrate your brilliance (save that for the paper!), but to distill the essential lesson and unleash your creative spirits to think of how you might bring this lesson to life for your classmates. Be creative in your proposals: create a dramatization, invent a short game, exercise, or simulation—whatever you think would work to teach the core lesson.

The groups with the most promising presentation proposals will have an opportunity to takeover part of Class 12 and run the proposed exercise. will generally refrain from intervening during presentations to give you autonomy to present the lesson as you see fit. If your group is picked to present in class this will be positively reflected in your paper grade and in your class participation grade.

Freebie Challenge

In the spirit of experimentation and fun, I challenge those of you who want to push your negotiation skills to try to negotiate free food, drinks or other “freebies” for the entire class. Approach restaurant owners or other vendors, and negotiate on behalf of the class. (In the past some students have convinced local restaurants to provide free food as a marketing strategy). Any food or other freebies will be shared in the last session. While this exercise is purely voluntary, booty that comes with a good negotiation story will enhance your class “participation” grade.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2014
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Written Assignments with Examples
Presentation Assignments
Instructor Insights