Week 6 Assignments

Week 6: Negotiations Exercise

In Week 6 of this course, you will do an exercise that we call the Social Contract Negotiations Exercise. With your peers, you will negotiate over the future of work. The goal of this exercise is to identify actions and employment practices that could be building blocks for what might be called a "New Social Contract at Work". The whole exercise will take 1-2 hours.

By the Social Contract we mean: the expectations and obligations that workers, employers, and their communities and societies have for work and employment relationships. Many believe that today, the social contract at work has broken down:

  • There are not enough good jobs to meet the needs of the workforce
  • Wages are stagnant and have been for many years
  • Job satisfaction is declining
  • Unions, employers, and government are in gridlock over how to fix this problem.

Your task is to see if you can agree on employment arrangements that give the next generation workforce, employers, and other members of society the best chance of realizing their goals and meeting their responsibilities to their constituencies, to each other, and to society. It is a simulated negotiation among four major stakeholder (roles) in society:

  1. Management
  2. Labor Unions / Professional Associations
  3. Federal Government
  4. Education Institutions (K-12 and post secondary)

You will be in one of the four roles above and will negotiate with three other people in each of the other roles.

This exercise consists of the following three steps:

Step 1: Preparation Survey

The aim of the Preparation Survey is to prepare you for the role that you will be playing in the exercise. In the survey, you will answer a couple of questions which will help you rank your priorities for the role that you will be playing. Prior to the Preparation Survey, we will assign you to a role and you will fill in the survey from the perspective of that role.

Step 2: Negotiations

In this stage, you will meet three other people in each of the other roles online, and negotiate with them on work and employment practices. We will assign you a group number and you will join that group on the EdX platform. You will be communicating and negotiating with your fellow group members by writing back and forth on your group’s online page.

Step 3: Settlement Survey

After you agree with your fellow group members on specific issues, you need to record the terms of the issues on which you reached an agreement into the Settlement Survey.

For more detailed information about the exercise, please watch our short introductory video.