Cover Image
close this bookNegotiator : The Councilor as Negotiator: Handbook 7 (UN Habitat - United Nations Centre for Human Settlements )
close this folderPart II - Workshop on the councilor as negotiator
View the documentOverview
View the documentWarn - up exercises: what kind of negotiator are you?
View the documentTrainer presentation
View the documentRole play/case study: the bulldozer disagreement
View the documentExercise: the language of negotiation
View the documentRole play/case study: hawker/council confrontation
View the documentSkill transfer exercise

Role play/case study: hawker/council confrontation

Time required: 120 minutes


To provide participants an opportunity to apply the techniques of principled negotiation (as defined in the preceding exercise and the essay presented earlier in the handbook) to find a mutually acceptable way for a city council to get what it wants without undermining or damaging relations with a powerful community group.


Tell the participants they will be taking part in a role-play/case-study concerned with keeping city centre streets clear of unnecessary street hawker traffic during the visit of conferees to an international conference being held locally.

Ask for six to eight volunteers to take part in a role-play exercise. Explain that half of the volunteers will be assuming the roles of city councilors and the other half will be assuming the roles of hawkers, an active, well organized, and sometimes militant group. Identify which volunteers will be playing which roles. Participants not playing roles will be asked to take part as citizen observers at a negotiation meeting between the two groups.

Give each group a description of the task (see below) and two conflicting roles (see The Trainer's Guide). Explain that the council's objective is to negotiate an agreement with the hawkers that gains their cooperation in getting the streets clear of congestion and traffic jams just before, during, and immediately after the conference. The hawkers, on the other hand, want to benefit economically from ready access to a lucrative new market - free-spending conference participants.

Give the two groups about 30 minutes to read and discuss the situation and decide on a strategy for getting what they want. Note: Some additional coaching at this point for the council group from the trainer on the use of principled negotiation methods will add to the learning value of this exercise for all participants.

While the two groups are discussing the task, ask the participants who are not playing roles to arrange tables and chairs for a negotiation meeting as shown in the room layout suggestion below. After about 30 minutes, reconvene the two groups to begin the exercise.


Seating arrangements for negotiators and observers

Seat the selected representatives of the two groups at the negotiation table. Seat non-participating members of the two groups in a circle around the negotiation table. Tell negotiators they have 20 minutes to reach an agreement. At the end of 20 minutes, call time and lead a discussion focused on the following questions:

1. What characteristics of principled negotiation were used by council negotiators to reach an agreement with hawkers? With what success?

2. How does it feel to be part of a team that uses principled negotiation strategies to reach an agreement?

3. How does it feel to deal with people who are using principled negotiation strategies?

4. Under what circumstances could your own council make use of principled negotiation?

The hawker/council confrontation

The situation

The city of Khulla has been selected by a prestigious international organization as the site for its annual conference and exhibition. The selection of Khulla as a conference site is important to the city's economically depressed business community. Several thousand conference participants will fill Khulla's hotels, restaurants and other businesses, giving a healthy boost to the local economy during their week-long stay in the city. City leaders have worked hard to bring the conference to Khulla and they want the event to be the best ever for the conference participants so it will encourage repeat business.

The only apparent obstacle to a successful conference is a difference of agreement between city leaders and the local hawkers who sell their wares from streetside booths and camel-drawn carts. Although a source of noise, clutter, and confusion on the city streets, the hawkers are a major contributor to the local economy. Moreover, they are efficiently organized to protect their collective interests.

Position of the city council and the hawkers

Position descriptions for the city council and hawkers can be found in Trainer's Guide to Training for Elected Leadership and may be duplicated by the trainer for distribution to role players.