Carnegie Mellon University


The Program for Research and Outreach on Gender Equity in Society

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Applying Negotiation Basics to a Case Study

Negotiating a Promotion 


About: In this exercise, apply your knowledge of negotiation to a simple case study

Suggested Time Allotment: 20 minutes

The Case:

You, Ana Maria Estrada, are a manager for a large bank headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.  You began working at the bank as a teller 15 years ago and you have worked your way up in the organization. You are eager and a fast learner, and you earn the trust and respect of those with whom you work. Furthermore, your years at the bank make you very experienced in handling various situations. The bank’s staff performs very well under your leadership.

Recently, though, you have begun to feel like you are stagnating in your position. You want to be considered for a higher management position, and you have started reading books about management and leadership. Although you know the bank very well and have strong social skills, you know that there is more to learn.  You have been commended verbally by your supervisor for dedication and professionalism and have received excellent performance evaluations.  However, you are worried that you are being overlooked for further promotion because you don’t have your MBA.  Although you know going back to school at this point in your life would be a significant change, you are willing to get your MBA if it will help you get promoted.

There is a part-time MBA program offered by a university near you.  Unfortunately, classes for the program are held only on Saturday, and you work on Saturdays. Furthermore, the program is expensive.

You want to schedule a meeting to talk to about your opportunities for promotion and your thoughts about potentially attending graduate school.  How should you frame this conversation with your supervisor?

ZOPA : Zone of Possible Agreement

BATNA : Best alternative to a negotiated agreement

Aspiration Value : The Aspiration Value is defined as the outcome with the highest value at which a negotiator places some nonneglible likelihood that the value will be accepted by the opponent (White & Neale, 1994)

Reservation Value : The least favorable point at which one will accept a negotiated agreement