Session 1

Democratic Decision-Making: An Overview   

Assigned Reading:     

  • Shapiro, The State of Democratic Theory, 10–34

Session 2

Deliberation vs. Dispute Resolution in the Public Sector   

Assigned Readings:     

  • Susskind and Cruikshank, Breaking the Impasse, chapters 1–4
  • Susskind, “Arguing, Bargaining and Getting Agreement” 
  • Susskind, “Consensus Building, Dispute Resolution and Social Justice”
  • Forester, “Five Generations of Theory-Practice Tensions”   

Session 3

Introduction to Negotiation: Playing the Traditional Game Well   

Game #1: Parker v. Gibson + Debriefing

Assigned Reading:

  • Lewicki and Litterer, “Strategy and Tactics of Distributive Bargaining.”
  • Raiffa, The Art and Science of Negotiation, chapter 2


Session 4

Playing the Traditional Game Well (Framing, Anchoring and Managing the Pattern of Concessions) 

Scenario #1: Traditional Negotiation Game

Assigned Reading:

  • Bazerman and Neale, Negotiating Rationally, 1–64   

Session 5

Consensus Building: Introduction to the Mutual Gains Approach (MGA) to Negotiation 

Scenario #2: The Consensus Building Approach

Assigned Reading:

  • Susskind and Cruikshank, Breaking Robert’s Rules, part 1 (book; please read as much as possible).
  • Mutual Gains Approach to Negotiation: A Four Step Process (handout plus laminated card)
  • Fisher and Ury, Getting to Yes

Session 6

MGA Continued    

Game #2: Bakra Beverage (iDecisionGames) + Debriefing 

Session 7

Value Creation and Integrative Bargaining 

Assigned Reading: 

  • Lewicki and Litterer, “Strategy and Tactics of Integrative Bargaining”

Session 8

Multi-Party Negotiation Theory (Conflict Assessment) 

Game #3: Three Party Game + Debriefing 

Assigned Reading: 

  • Sebenius, “Sequencing to Build Coalitions”      
  • Susskind and Crump, introduction to Theory and Practice of Public Dispute Resolution

Session 9

Multi-Party Negotiation Theory continued 

Game #4: Harborco (iDecisionGames) 

Assigned Reading: 

  • Raiffa, The Art and Science of Negotiation, 257–274

Session 10

Game #4 Debriefing; Introduction to Facilitation 

Scenario #3: Facilitation 

Assigned Reading: 

  • Straus, “Managing Meetings to Build Consensus”
  • Schwarz, “Group Facilitation and the Role of the Facilitator” and “What Makes Work Groups Effective”


Session 11

Roles and Responsibilities of the Facilitator in a Public Disputes Context 

Assigned Reading: 

  • Thayer-Hart, The Facilitator’s Tool Kit

Session 12

Gender and Negotiation 

Scenario #4: Gender and Negotiation 

Assigned Reading: 

  • Bowles, “Psychological Perspectives on Gender in Negotiation”
  • OPTIONAL: Tinsley et al., “Women at the Bargaining Table” 
  • OPTIONAL: Thomas-Hunt and Malkov, “Social Norms and Stereotypes”

Session 13

The Process of Facilitating a Public Meeting 

Game #5: Dirty Stuff 

Session 14

Game #5 Debriefing 


Session 15

Introduction to Mediation 

Assigned Reading: 

  • Susskind and Ozawa, “Mediated Negotiation in the Public Sector”
  • Moore, “How Mediation Works”
  • OPTIONAL: Nolon, “Second Best Practices?”

Session 16

Roles and Responsibilities of the Mediator 

Scenario #5: Roles and Responsibilities of Public Sector Mediators 

Assigned Reading: 

  • Forester and Stitzel, “Beyond Neutrality”
  • Susskind and Thomas-Larmer, “Conducting a Conflict Assessment”
  • Mayer, Stulberg, Susskind, and Lande, “Panel Discussion—Core Values of Dispute Resolution”

Session 17

Game #6: Hydropower in Santales (iDecisionGames) 

Assigned Reading: 

  • Fisher, “Negotiating Power”

Session 18

Game #6 Debriefing; Roles and Responsibilities of Mediators (and Planners as Mediators) 

Session 19

The Ethics of Mediation and Dispute Resolution; Cross-Cultural Applications of Public Dispute Mediation 

Scenario #6: A Call to Prayer 

Assigned Reading: 

  • Gensberg, “Mediating Inequality”
  • Waldman, “Mediation Ethics,” chapters 6 and 8.
  • Avruch, Culture and Conflict Resolution, parts 3–4

Assigned Video (watch before class): Cross-Cultural Negotiation Video


Session 20

Introduction to Dispute Systems Design in the Public Sector (Rule-Making, Rate Setting, etc.) 

Exercise: Negotiating with a Newtonian 

Assigned Reading: 

  • Rogers, Bordone, et al., Designing Systems and Processes for Managing Disputes, 116–132
  • Costantino and Merchant, Designing Conflict Management Systems, chapter 1
  • Miller, What Human-Centered Design Can Tell Us About the State of Dispute Systems Design, 1–56
  • OPTIONAL: Susskind, Babbitt, and Segal, “When ADR Becomes the Law”


Session 21

Introduction to Values-Based Disputes 

Game #7: OutFest 

Assigned Reading: 

  • Forester, “Dealing with Deep Value Differences”
  • Susskind and Field, Dealing with an Angry Public, 1–14 and 152–197
  • Laws, “Representation of Stakeholder Interests”

Session 22

Game #7 Debriefing    


Session 23

Wrap-up Discussion (Incorporating All the Ideas and Techniques Covered in 11.255 into Your Personal Theory of Practice (PTOP)) 

Session 24

Final Exam 

**Note: mindful of the fact that this year’s academic calendars differ significantly between MIT and Harvard, we will allow Harvard students to take the final one week early so grades can be submitted to their registrar by their required end-of-term date. 

Session 25

Last class

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2021
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments
Lecture Notes