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 Negotiation Unfolding 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 Veterans.
In moving towards negotiating a successful outcome it is critical to determine the Veterans Best Alternative To No Agreement (BATNA). Negotiators should be willing to accept any set of terms superior to their BATNA and reject outcomes that are worse than their BATNA. The BATNA of the City Negotiators was for the City to pursue legal action to repossess the stadium and the surrounding land based on the University’s violation of the City’s right to name the property as specified in the Bill of Sale.
Secondary options were available to the City to coerce the University to submit to the City’s needs. These included implementing various other non legal recourses such as: 1. Refusal to sell land outside memorial park. 2. Refusal to demolish existing facility. 3. Veterans Picketing. It is important to note at this point that many negotiators seek to negotiate a deal from the perspective of trying to get what they want. This perspective can be limiting in optimising the outcome. It is just as important to understand the interests and motivations of the other party.
The need and the desire of the parties to transact will dictate whether a deal can be done and on what terms. Both parties in this situation ranked high in both the need and desire to transact, not only from the perspective of the ongoing relationship between the Veterans, City and University, but also due to the immediate concerns surrounding the donors funds for the University and honouring the Veterans through the naming of the Stadium. A key element of the situation assessment was the risk analysis.
Acting as The Negotiators it was clear that if we were unsuccessful, one of the key risks was our possible termination of employment. This was due to the power of the Veteran’s to nominate candidates to replace Common Council members and also their ability to oppose any re-election bid by the mayor in the next City elections. If the Mayor was defeated the City Negotiators would lose their positions. Acting as The Negotiators, we clearly had a vested interest in a successful outcome to the negotiations.
An additional risk to the City occurred in the event of having to pursue further legal action against the University. This situation would arise if the City was to threaten repossession of the stadium as a last resort measure to ensure that the stadium name remained Veterans Memorial Stadium. The repercussions of such an action would be that the City viewed the maintenance of the facility as a financial burden, and was probably not prepared to take on the expense associated with maintaining the facility. Therefore, this option was more mere puff and not a viable option.
Ethically this could be seen as detrimental for the City to pursue this course of action and an abuse of their legitimate powers. Party Positions The position of the City representing the Veterans interests covered a number of points relating to the naming issue of the stadium, which are as follows: a) Retain the name of ‘Veterans Memorial Stadium’ and not to have it renamed to the ‘Roger Hardy – Veterans War Memorial’. b) The ‘Roger Hardy Field ‘sign was to be removed. c) Requirement that any new stadium built is also name after the Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The City Negotiators approach in relation to the positions above was an integrative bargaining style seeking to maximise the benefit for both parties. The case notes succinctly describe the pros and cons of integrative bargaining and highlights; that integrative bargaining mutually entwines the fate of the parties. What this is specifically referring to is that; mutual success will be achieved if the negotiation succeeds or alternatively the parties face a common fate if they fail. The opposite approach which could have been used is the fix-pie model or distributive model.
This model suggests there is a limit or finite amount in the object being distributed amongst the people involved. The University position was to change the name of the Veterans Memorial Stadium to the ‘Roger Hardy – Veterans Memorial Stadium’. Due to the Veterans uproar in relation to this change and subsequent changing of the name of the field to the ‘Roger Hardy Field’, the Universities position was to maintain the name of the field. Their argument for maintaining the name change of the field was based on their understanding of the legal issues surrounding the case.
The University believed they were acting within their legal obligations surrounding the naming terms contained within the deed of sale and state rules allowing a Chancellor to name facilitates (with conditions). Party Interests The Veterans interests were to be able to continue to honor the Veterans through the stadium name. The Universities interests were to honour their coach Roger Hardy and to receive the donation. There was a stark contrast between the negotiating parties, in terms of variation in the nature of the party’s interests from a values and interests perspective.
The Veterans positioning was a values based perspective, which was as the case suggested ‘matters of principle’. The underlying interest of the veterans group was to honour their fallen comrades for the benefit of the families of those who served during wartime. The University position was aligned with an interest based approach. The Universities interest was twofold, with the requirement to not only satisfy the donor to enable the University to receive a substantial amount of funds, but also to honour their previous football coach, Roger Hardy. Which was more important to the University, the money or honouring the coach?
It could be possible that the renaming of the stadium was a means to an end to receive the additional funds, or alternatively it could have been the cases that a genuine desire to honour the coach was a priority. Perhaps a combination of the two. The scenario which played out between the varying interests of the University and the Veterans Association is not uncommon, where one side may perceive the conflict as a rivalry for resources and the other side may view it as a matter of principle. Understanding the Universities motivations is imperative in being able to optimise the egotiation process. Typically parties interested in additional resources are more open to concessions than parties such as the Veteran seeking to hold the line in relation to a deeply held value. The willingness of the University Negotiators to make concessions was apparent throughout the negotiation process. This willingness was overt and appeared very early in the negotiation process. I would hold this as a criticism of the other parties approach in that they were perhaps too keen to make concessions early in the negotiation process before listening to our position.
It appeared as if they had decided on their strategy and executed without consideration to our position on the day. Perhaps the group were executing a similar scenario to that which may have prompted Napoleon Bonaparte to make the comments in the opening advice. Positional and Interest Based Bargaining Distinguishing between positions and interests in understanding the dynamics of the negotiation process and its impact on the negotiated outcome is significant. It is useful firstly to understand what the terms positional and interest based bargaining refer to. A position is the stance you take on a specific subject.
Positional bargaining focuses on “the what” in a negotiation. Those using this approach are seeking to get what they want, without disclosing their motive, and often disregarding the needs of the other side in order to reap the biggest gain. Positional bargaining is distributive, does not create value, and often even leaves value on the table. An interest on the other hand, is both an objective and/or a need. Interest Based Bargaining focuses on “the why” in a negotiation. This method opens the door for an integrative approach to negotiation, where both sides work together to find the best solution for all parties involved.
In the process, they may create value through their collaborative efforts. The Universities initial alignment was both positional and interest based. Positional from the perspective of focusing on ‘the what’ in relation to the renaming of the stadium and ‘the why’ was covered in their focus on the rationale for their wish, which was based on their need to honour the coach. It could however be argued that perhaps it was more positional which was highlighted by the lack of information surrounding the donor pledge during the early stages of the negotiation process and purely focused on their naming requirements and honouring the coach.
Perhaps the Universities true interests were disclosed later in the process as the Universities wish to honour their retired coach Roger Hardy and receive the donor pledge. The Veterans interests were well known from the outset (to honour the Veterans). Reflections of a Negotiation Our group’s negotiated result was considered a success. The actual result that was achieved between the both parties was as follows: 1. University agree to keep the stadium name as it is and agree not to name the field Roger Hardy Field. 2. Set up of independent committee to oversee the future naming rights of the veterans, with exclusion clauses.
Consists of Uni board members and veterans. Committee primarily concerned with naming of the facility. Individual buildings renaming must go to through Committee. 3. Uni was to renaming an annual cup Roger Hardy Cup. 4. Building of new facility the name with remain the same. Prior to entering into the negotiation room our group The Negotiators had identified the following possible set of solutions with a number various combinations achievable. Satisfying the veterans 1. Name a street within the complex. 2. Build a memorial – including all veteran’s names. 3.
Honouring the veterans – veteran’s trophy cup. 4. University payments to veterans over time. Satisfying University 1. Veteran’s making an annual donation to the University 2. Negotiate with the Donor 3. Like NAB Cup. Roger Hardy Cup. In critically reflecting on our performance I would suggest that we had limited success in expanding the pie and therefore see that this would have been an area for improvement. The group certainly delivered on what was our top priority regarding the naming rights issue, but perhaps there were further opportunities to deliver additional benefits for the parties.
For example, perhaps there would have been the opportunity for financial support to be received by the Veterans from the University in the form of ongoing donations. Another alternative is perhaps contributions given by the Veterans to the University in the event that the donor’s pledge was forfeit if the negotiation has taken a different path. In closing, the exercise was very useful in gaining both practical and theoretical exposure to the negotiation process within the relative safety of the class room.