EMPL 5800: Negotiation Skills

Consider the following scenario:

You are the Director of the Human Relations group for the Harold Black Corporation, a manufacturing company located in Midway, West Alabama. The company produces batteries for commercial and residential use. The company employs 680 employees.

Shannon Palmers, an employee of the company, came to your office complaining that another employee, Richard Dillinger, has been consistently making fun of her because of her height and her weight; Palmers is 5’3″ tall and weighs 250 pounds. According to Palmers, Dillinger has referred to her as “blubber butt,” “wide load,” and “fat ass”, and has said that she probably shops for clothes at the “tent and awning store,” “oinks” (like a pig), and eats from a “trough.” Dillinger also said, according to Palmers, that she “probably doesn’t know who the father of her son is because she has slept with so many men and obviously eats them afterward.” Palmers told you that as a consequence of these interactions with Dillinger, she constantly has been upset at work. Palmers said that this has caused her to think about quitting but she is the sole provider for her small child.

If this information is true, this activity seems to you to be an example of bullying in the workplace. The company, however, has no policy regarding bullying. In searching the West Alabama statutes and caselaw for this topic, you have determined that there are neither in the state.

While looking into this matter, you have received a letter from Palmers’ lawyer, Lester Claimer, informing you that he plans to file a suit against your company on Palmers’ behalf claiming emotional distress. Claimer indicated that Palmers is willing to settle this matter for $25,000.

Your supervisor has asked you to meet with Palmers and Claimer, as her representative, to attempt to resolve this dispute. The company thinks that even though there is no legal regulation of “bullying,” a court may nonetheless find a basis of liability in this matter.



Consider the scope of the course material and your development as a negotiator this semester. In preparation for writing your final exam, specifically think about the many concepts and strategies the course has put in your negotiating toolbox for you to take out and use as needed for negotiating situations. You may want to take notes as you look through each of the semester’s modules, identifying specific concepts and strategies that you find relevant and useful for the hypothetical situation regarding Shannon Palmers and Richard Dillinger at the Harold Black Corporation.

Written Response:

In writing, explain your plan or strategy for facilitating/conducting the negotiation between Palmers and Dillinger.

Do this by:

1. Describing the progression or unfolding of the negotiation as you envision it from beginning to end.

2. Within describing the progression or unfolding of the negotiation: Identity, define, and briefly explain the use of specific, individual negotiating concepts (i.e. tools in your toolkit) that you think would be useful to help you facilitate/conduct the negotiation successfully.

(Examples of concepts/tools would be such things as distributive bargaining; a reservation point; a target point; positive and negative bargaining zones; best alternative to a negotiated agreement (batna); leverage; psychological dynamics; integrative bargaining; log rolling; Pareto optimization; social or cultural context; and communication awareness. Note: This list is NOT comprehensive. There are many additional concepts/tools. This list simply is to make clear the types of concepts/tools that you are being asked to identify.)

Be sure to:

A. Identify the concept/tool.

B. Briefly but accurately define the concept/tool.

C. Briefly but clearly explain how the concept/tool lends to more successfully accomplishing the negotiation.

Then, separately:

Briefly explain how mediation might be advantageous to resolve this matter. In your answer, define the difference between facilitative and evaluative mediation, and explain how a facilitative mediator might help the parties come to an agreement on a possible settlement figure.

Note: This Final Exam is worth 20% of your grade. Your grade will be based on your completeness and thoughtfulness in regard to those concepts. There is no minimum or maximum length, though concise specificity is favored over unnecessarily long responses. This final exam likely can be successfully accomplished in about three pages, though you are not limited to that length if you wish to write more. You may use bullet points to identify each concept/tool and then add additional text to define the concept/tool and to explain how the concept/tool lends tom ore successfully accomplishing the negotiation.

Submit your response in a single document via the Final Exam Assignment on the class Canvas site.

Your paper should be formatted with 12 Point, Times New Roman font.
The grade assigned will be based on the completeness of the responses and the thoughtfulness of the responses.
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