Regulation Negotiation Role-Play: Gadgets, Inc.

TitleRegulation Negotiation Role-Play: Gadgets, Inc.
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication1998
AuthorsPeele, C, Susskind, L
Keywordsagency, agreement, agreements, coalition, coalition building, contingent agreement, dispute, environmental dispute resolution, HNI, negotiation, negotiation dynamics, negotiations, PON

Six-party, four-issue negotiation among a company's management and union representatives, environmental groups, and state and federal environmental agencies over fines and adoption of new technology in response to the company's illegal polluting

Full Text

Over the past eight months, Gadgets, Inc. (‘Gadgets’), a metal plating firm, has failed to comply with state regulations on the concentrations of copper and lead in their waste water. Gadgets’ required monthly reports to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) have been accurate, but the violations were overlooked by DEP for the first five months. When DEP noticed Gadgets’ violations three months ago, it demanded immediate compliance and five months worth of fines.

Gadgets officials were surprised and upset. Citing economic hardship, past good faith efforts and its role in the local economy, Gadgets requested a delay in paying the fines while it explored options for rectifying its pollution problem. DEP initially agreed, but has now come under fire from environmental activist.

In the midst of this situation, the Innovative Technology Program (‘ITS’) of DEP has announced a new system for pollution prevention. ITS has been looking for a middle-sized firm to test its new system and DEP has ordered Gadgets to install this new system for further testing. The environmental activists now believe that Gadgets is getting off the hook, and that the system has not been sufficiently tested for use in a working firm.

Following the procedures of DEP’s Innovative Technology Program, the Environmental Secretary’s Special Assistant has called a meeting of interested parties to discuss four issues: (1) the choice of a pollution prevention technology; (2) a possible DEP subsidy for the installation of the new pollution prevention system at Gadgets; (3) the payment of fines by Gadgets; and (4) the frequency of and responsibility for monitoring of compliance by Gadgets. In addition to the Environmental Secretary’s Special Assistant, the meeting will include representatives from Gadgets management, the Gadgets workers’ union, two environmental activist groups, and the EPA.