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Through role play and simulation, this course teaches strategic ways to close business deals that do more than just make money


Uncommon Courses is an occasional series from The Conversation US that highlights unconventional approaches to teaching.

Title course:

“Negotiation Strategy: Fostering Collaborative Dynamics in Competitive Environments”

What prompted the idea for the course?

I designed this class to help students business students find the skills and confidence they need to develop solutions to improve the world around them through business.

Students arrive on campus with energy, ambition and an instinct that the business community can somehow make a positive impact. That’s why I developed a course to teach students how to be true to themselves when negotiating business deals. This course teaches them that financial benefits are not the only way to measure business success. Successful negotiators strive for maximum profit while embracing an inclusive and collaborative approach.

What does the course examine?

Everything about the course is designed to teach students how to negotiate both rational And really. Students learn strategies to increase monetary gains. At the same time, they learn how to identity And emotions can be aligned with business strategy to fuel ambition and explore creative solutions to challenging environmental and social problems.

Students discover new ways of thinking and feeling when they negotiate. For example, in one of the negotiation reflections, I invite students to describe how anger can help define ethical issues. Another scenario shows students how expressions of grief can potentially build the empathy and trust needed to resolve conflict. Class discussions motivate learning diverse paths for exceptional success.

It is a highly interactive educational experience with a maximum of 36 students. The design of the course invites students to role-play negotiations in teams of two to six students. Classroom experiences open a window to observe personal patterns of competitive and cooperative behavior.

Role-playing exercises and negotiation simulations show you how not to get stuck in win-lose propositions. For example, imagine two manufacturing companies fighting to secure the supply of a metal compound, only to discover that they have complementary technology that could create a better product. Both companies would make more money and customers would benefit from this new product. It’s a win-win situation. Now imagine that their innovative technology could reduce pollution and create jobs in a region with high unemployment. Students learn that they don’t have to choose between profit and positive impact. They can achieve both.

Why is this course relevant now?

When faced with challenges such as the recent bank collapse and mass layoffs, students will broadly ask themselves, What can someone like me do in a situation like this to make things better?

Good negotiators understand how to approach business decisions by asking what is appropriate based on their personal values. Students learn that the way social problems are framed limits how they envision solutions. When people think only of profit, they miss opportunities to do good.

The course introduces decision frameworks that transform competitive nature of business to collaboration opportunities.

What is a crucial lesson from the course?

Being yourself in business means approaching the work with the same logic that applies to the community, locally and globally.

Every solution starts with yourself, with who you are in relation to people. Success in business is not limited to winning competitive games studied by economists. The course highlights the interpersonal character of human understanding, communication and coordination. Students learn to build their personal path forward.

What materials does the course contain?

• “An introduction to decision making‘, by James March

• “On the way to Yes”, by Roger Fisher, William Ury and Bruce Patton

• “Negotiate sincerely‘, by Shirli Kopelman

• “The mind and heart of the negotiatorby Leigh Thompson

What does the course prepare students for?

Students learn to see themselves as a resource. They’ll see who they are as an essential part of understanding what’s on the negotiating table and how to navigate a discovery process. They will be prepared to perform with dynamic flexibility, dignity and integrity. The classroom experience provides a blueprint for collaborating on diverse professional endeavors. It paves the way negotiate from within to pursue profit and make the world a better place.

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