Featured Article, Case, or Simulation – SiGNAL Winter 2019

I hope you enjoy this new section of the newsletter that highlights a case, simulation, or article. Below is a short interview with the authors of D-Loyal, a new simulation that is part of the DRRC portfolio. DRRC is offering a special IACM discount: 10% off for those using this simulation in their classes, now until the end of May.

The authors of D-Loyal are Li HUANG and Chengyi LIN. Li HUANG is an Assistant Professor at INSEAD. Li’s research examines how the tension between contradictory psychological forces drives and regulates individual’s mental, social, and organisational life. Her teaching focuses on negotiations and leadership through influence. And Chengyi LIN is an Affiliate Professor at INSEAD. Chengyi’s research focuses on digital transformation and innovation. He has been mentoring start-ups and advising multi-nationals on digital strategy and business model innovations.

Tell us a bit about the case/simulation you wrote for DRRC.
D-Loyal is a two-party, single-issue negotiation with hidden integrative potential. You can find it here at the links to the DRRC websites: DRRCexercises.com and https://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/dispute-resolution-research-center.aspx

It is set in the new digital age, when a young AI start-up is negotiating a deal with a large industry incumbent. To enrich the exercise, we made an effort to incorporate multiple important background topics such as entrepreneurship, work-life integration, dual career, diversity and inclusion etc. These current and relevant challenges make the exercise very engaging for both MBA students and executive participants.

What inspired you to write it? 
D-Loyal was inspired by two digital start-ups, both of which were mentored by Chengyi. One start-up successfully negotiated a deal and was acquired by a large incumbent. The two founders of the startup also negotiated their future roles in the company that acquired them as part of the deal. The second start-up was founded by a women entrepreneur, who is also an INSEAD alumni. During her journey as an entrepreneur, she often had to actively manage work-life integration: dual career, family planning, and raising small children. She sold her second company due to some of these challenges.

Having experienced some of the same challenges in our own careers and personal lives, we were inspired by the two start-up stories. We felt that it is our responsibility as educators to expand our teaching beyond the narrow conversation around business performance and professional career. We believe it is also important to also discuss the broader impact of business on families and societies.

What was your writing process? (What surprises did you encounter along the way?)
At the beginning, we were concerned that part of the story may be too personal, for example work-life integration and the tension between couples. To our pleasant surprise, founders from both start-ups were very open and excited to share their experiences. One of the founders puts it very well as follow, “We were so young when we went through these. … If others can learn from us and make less mistakes, I would be very happy.” We worked hard to channel their passion and care through our writing. Our students and participants have been very engaged in the exercise and debrief. They especially appreciated its relevance to both their professional and personal life.

How would you suggest instructors use this case/simulation in the classroom?
D-loyal can be used at the beginning of a course when students have learned the basics of value claiming and are likely to approach a negotiation with a win-lose mindset. We have two additional suggestions: 1) Don’t feel intimidated by the context – digital and M&A. We have provided necessary information in the teaching notes. You don’t need to be an expert on either to be successful in using this exercise. Quite the contrary, the students will appreciate your effort in bringing current and complex context into the classroom. 2) Be open to discuss the challenges and trade-offs between business, career, and family. It is perhaps the most important negotiation we all face and many of your students will find the discuss helpful.

Any suggestions for those interested in writing their own case/simulation?
We enjoyed writing this simulation exercise. If you are considering writing a case or simulation exercise, we’d suggest that you draw insights and ideas from those who inspire you.

Do you have a favorite case/simulation that you use in the classroom (besides your case/simulation of course 🙂 )? What is it and why do you like using it?
We have many favorites. One of them is Bullard Houses. We like it for three reasons. First, it facilities the discussion of ethics and morality in negotiations. Second, like D-Loyal it is also based on real life events. Third. it delivers teaching points that elegantly complement those of D-Loyal. In D-Loyal, only a focus on underlying interests would allow negotiators to come to an integrative agreement. In Bullard Houses, a focus on underlying interests would and should result in an impasse.

Anything else you would like to share?
We’d like to thank Cindy and the DRRC team for helping us bring this uniquely wonderful story alive.