As social beings, negotiation skills are important for both our personal and professional lives, from resolving an argument with a spouse to negotiating the terms of employment. Skilled negotiators in business are able to resolve differences before they escalate and are value maximizers for their organizations when dealing with suppliers, clients, and co-workers. Mastering negotiations also leads to better relationships in people’s personal lives as they navigate conflict resolution in a more trustworthy and thoughtful manner.

Teaching negotiation skills though role-playing in a safe academic environment allows students to gain much needed confidence, which is critical for success as they further their careers. Negotiations will impact salary trajectory, collegiality and fit in the workplace, and the level of trust built between the employee and her/his organization. The typical student has little to no work experience and inherently enters the workforce with no formal negotiation training.

We introduce a novel negotiation role-play which incorporates the resolution of cultural differences in employment practices, which are becoming ever more prevalent as workplaces become more diverse. This case study is meant to provide experiential opportunity to understand diversity in the work place and the need to be sensitive to cultural differences. This role-playing exercise includes a teaching note and handouts for the participants (HR director and a prospective employee) involved in the negotiation.