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A difficult move

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CASE STUDY. The case is based on a negotiation between two parties: the owners of a house being sold and their tenant.

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Description

A difficult move: Abstract

A difficult move is a case study by Bruno Lussier and Matthew Philp.

The case is based on a negotiation between two parties: the owners of a house being sold and their tenant. One year earlier, Gabriel and Mia had decided to buy a new house and rent out their old one, to which they were still emotionally attached, to cover the cost of private schooling for their two children; they now need extra income and have resigned themselves to selling their first home. Corinne, their tenant, moved in about a year ago and, expecting to live there for several years, had invested heavily in the house, installing a heated swimming pool, an air conditioner, and an alarm system among other things. These were major expenditures that she was unauthorized to make according to her lease, but that greatly increased the value of the house, which Gabriel and Mia are now trying to sell. Corinne had agreed to move as long as they offered her financial compensation of $16,500. They agreed, and a verbal agreement was reached. However, once a purchase offer was on the table, with just forty-eight hours to finalize the transaction, Corinne changed her mind and demanded $23,570 in compensation. The two parties have agreed to meet to negotiate an agreement, and the case ends by giving the perspective of each of the two parties.

Multi-part case

  • Part A: General Information
  • Part B: Perspective of Gabriel and Mia (for teachers only)
  • Part C: Perspective of Corinne (for teachers only)

Teaching objectives

The case illustrates the following negotiation concepts:

  • Difference between the concepts of selling and negotiating
  • Preparing a negotiation
  • Honing negotiation skills
  • Importance of relationship and communication during negotiations;
  • Understanding what is really happening during a negotiation (e.g., issues, interests, power struggles, stakeholders)
  • Different negotiating styles and personalities
  • Useful skills for any situation, whatever a person’s position in business or in life

Main themes covered

  • Negotiation

Concepts and theories related to the case

The case allows students to apply key negotiating tactics in a familiar situation, learning to adapt to certain personality types depicted in an exaggerated, almost cartoonish, way. They will also learn how to make concessions or compromises as well as various tactics useful to achieving their objectives. Finally, they will examine subtleties of good negotiation by trying to distinguish what is left unsaid so as to grasp what is actually happening. Since the facts of the case are simple and straightforward, no-one will benefit from prior knowledge, allowing for a highly educational team exercise.

Additional information

Also available in French.

Teaching notes are available for teachers only. Please contact HEC Montréal Case Centre.

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