01 May 2013

Simulation: Rushing River Cleanup

The Rushing River Cleanup simulation is a thee-party, single-issue negotiation over the cost of complying with government regulations. We ran this simulation in one 90-minute period, with only about 60 minutes for the actual simulation. After dividing the class into three groups by "Acme's," "Borland's." and "Chemco's" groups had time to prepare their negotiation strategis, tactics and talking points before embarking in negotiations. While the distribution of the fictional government resources is explicated in the game itself, the challenge for students lies in negotiating how to divide the expected payoff, given their company's contribution to the project and water output that must be sanitized by the project. There were plenty of opportunities to test out some of our PD strategies (Nice, Retaliatory, Forgiving) during the negotiations as there could only be one outcome/distribution of funds, and that teams can choose to either cooperate with two other parties or to defect against one and cooperate with the other. Given that agreements between two parties had a finite time limit, this also meant that teams had to make decisions in a more stressful environment than they normally would have had to work with. We also used two debriefing exercises for the simulation. The in class debrief was quite contentious as one team was still smarting from having lost a deal right at the deadline and then a set of survey questions to which students replied to via Google Docs. Both were insightful as students had the opportunity to reflect on how their strategies and tactics worked out in the simulation.