The intersection of Teaching, Technology, and the Art .Teaching, Technology, And The Art Of The Deal

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  • American Journal Of Business Education Third Quarter 2014 Volume 7, Number 3

    Copyright by author(s); CC-BY 245 The Clute Institute

    Teaching, Technology, And The

    Art Of The Deal Jeffrey Schieberl, Pepperdine University, USA

    Michael Rainey, Pepperdine University, USA

    Lynda Palmer, Pepperdine University, USA


    This paper illustrates a teaching innovation that took a traditional role playing exercise based on

    a case study and added some nuances that amplified the learning experience. The example

    illustrated in this paper was a didactic negotiation exercise intended to teach simple, basic

    negotiation principles like zone of possible agreement (ZOPA), opening gambit, and the feel of

    the deal, but this innovation can be applied to many different types of interactive cases.

    Traditionally, an exercise like this is conducted in one class; however, in this case study, we

    enhanced the exercise by using two different classes in two different geographical locations1

    taught by two different professors with different styles of teaching negotiation. Additionally,

    students had a choice of technology by which to perform the negotiation and technology was used

    to bring both classes together for a debriefing session. The end result was an exponential increase

    in the learning experience. Not only did the students accomplish the key learning objectives of the

    case, the negotiation principals, but they also were able to experience different negotiation styles

    taught by the two professors and experience the impact technology has on communication


    Keywords: Teaching Strategies; Teaching Innovation; Negotiation, Teaching and Technology; Unique Teaching

    Methods; Enhancing Case Learning


    he exercise used was The Salt Harbor Case written by Professor Michael Wheeler. The story takes

    place in Salt Harbor a quaint town, similar to the Hamptons on Long Island, New York. This vacation

    spot grew from primarily a summer vacation spot to a year-round resort destination. The salient facts

    of the conflict are:

    Three months ago Brims, a national chain of coffee shops, acquired a parcel of property on which it plans to build

    and operate a Brims coffee shop. The abutting property to the Brims lot is the Easterly Bed & Breakfast Inn. After

    several years in the business, the Easterly is finally becoming profitable. Previously, the Easterlys primary source

    of income was the seasonal business. Now the Easterlys reputation is such that it is beginning to cater to

    customers on an annual basis with some of these new clients booking rooms a year in advance. The conflict in the

    case involves the oddly sized lot purchased by Brims. If Brims develops it, it will obscure the Easterly Inns view,

    perhaps causing serious, if not irreparable, damage to their business. The negotiation is between a Brims agent with

    the authority to make a deal and the owner of the Easterly.

    The two (2) confidential fact sheets are attached as Appendix A and Appendix B. They are given to the

    students who participate so that they can prepare the case for their side.

    The exercise is solely about price. The parties are told expressly, for the sake of this exercise, please do

    not introduce other issues or terms. They are also told financing is not an issueEasterly will take care of the

    1 As an interesting aside, one class was in West Los Angeles and the other in Irvineboth very different social and political cultures. This being said, there was no empirical evidence these differences had any influence on the ultimate results.


  • American Journal Of Business Education Third Quarter 2014 Volume 7, Number 3

    Copyright by author(s); CC-BY 246 The Clute Institute

    financing. All efforts are made to keep the participants focused solely on price and the steps, tactics, and process to

    achieve their best price. Included in the facts are some attorney prognostications on risks and benefits of various


    Like a real-world negotiation, the exercise has numerous challenges. It has varying degrees of asymmetric

    information and plenty of variables, which give rise to uncertainty for the negotiators. What makes this exercise

    most impactful is how it so closely illustrates real-world situations negotiators face every day. Augmenting the

    exercise with the challenge of distance, technology, and different teaching styles adds yet another interesting



    This exercise was conducted using two geographically dispersed classes taught by two different professors.

    Professor Schieberls Spring 2013 Irvine (IR) class had 13 students. Professor Raineys Spring 2013 West Los

    Angeles (WLA) class had 25 students. The distance between the two campuses is about 45 miles, but during high

    traffic times, it can be a three hour trip.

    These students are Fully Employed Masters of Business & Administration (FEMBA) at Pepperdine

    University Graziadio School of Business & Management. In the WLA class, there were two students involved in

    residential & commercial real estate and two were involved in law firms. In the IR class, none of the students had

    subject matter experience they could draw upon. The classes engaged in the Salt Harbor negotiation approximately

    half way through the semester.

    The classes were given the Easterly and the Brims fact sheets (Appendices A and B) and allotted a week to

    complete the exercise. Because of the disparity in the number of students in each class, negotiation teams were

    assigned with two students representing Easterly and one student representing Brims. Students were instructed to

    read the facts carefully and prepare a strategy. When they felt adequately prepared, they were to contact an assigned

    student partner in the other class and attempt to make a deal.

    Students were told they could conduct the negotiation in person, by Facetime, Skype, or, as a last

    alternative, by phone. Each team was responsible for setting up their meeting and instructed to treat it as a real-world

    transaction. It would be fair to say in-person negotiations were encouraged, but both professors were interested in

    any deviations attributed to the mode of the negotiation. After the negotiations were completed, the negotiators were

    required to provide a written explanation of their results and then the classes debriefed via video conference (see


    A week after the assignment was completed the students met in their respective classrooms. For the first

    hour the professors debriefed their students. During the second hour, the classes connected by video conference. The

    students could talk to their former negotiation partners. They discussed the nuances of the negotiation, including

    what worked for them and how they reached their ultimate number. However, it is important to note, although the

    debriefing seemed complete, the subsequent time in class and the following weeks yielded numerous tid-bits of new

    information. In essence the learning process appeared to be quite deep, with new information being discussed over

    several weeks following the exercise.


    One class was almost twice the size of the other class, so one side of negotiators had two people and the

    other side had one person. This did not seem to create any problems, as most of the 13 teams negotiated a deal

    within the parameters of the given facts. The deals ranged from No Deal to well over a hundred thousand dollars.

    Some examples of the discussion of the deals were:

    No DealPerhaps the student negotiators in this group collectively misunderstood the assignment. They believed simply getting Easterly to back off a lawsuit, even without a consummated deal, was sufficient.

    The negotiators believed their agreement, while not involving a cash payment or a change of ownership,

    involved value that was equivalent of a good cash value.

  • American Journal Of Business Education Third Quarter 2014 Volume 7, Number 3

    Copyright by author(s); CC-BY 247 The Clute Institute

    $110,000This price is not a valid result, as one team of negotiators added facts which were not a part of the given facts, and that, if true, would have substantially reduced the value of the property.



    Sale price of land $183,500Brims Coffee gets first right of refusal if you elect to sell the parcel of land in the future. Market price to be determined by a mutually agreeable sales agent and appraisal agent. Brims

    Coffee to absorb the cost of creating a copper placard for B & B and Coffee Shop highlighting efforts of

    the two businesses to bring a nice gathering place for the community. The relationship was strengthened by

    the meeting and sale of the parcel of land. Both sides look forward to working together in the future to

    drive business and provide amenities for the client.

    Primary strategy is to see if owner of Easterly can be induced to drop the charges. If yes to dropping charges you can trade a contract/agreement for the dismissal. If he cannot be induced, pursue second

    strategy, which is to negotiate to sell original parcel at best price possible.3

    The parties