In the January 2022 Issue of Connect, Horacio Falcão discusses how role-play cases help him as a negotiation professor, his two favourite cases, a passion for writing, plus much more.
Horacio, what is it you like about writing case studies and teaching with the case method?
I am a negotiation professor and I mostly write role-plays. As every aspect of business negotiates, I have the freedom to write role-plays about strategy making, finance deals, gender or leadership discussions, budget allocation, team disputes, marketing/sales, just about any interaction within or between organisations. Besides, the case method with role-plays creates a deeper learning experience, as students simulate a negotiation, learning much more than if they were just listening, watching, thinking or discussing about it. Ultimately, negotiation is when the ‘rubber hits the road’ for many business disciplines, and role-plays add this pragmatic dimension to the case method.
How does the case method come alive in the classroom, and what skills does it teach students?
Role-plays offer lots of interactive possibilities in the classroom. First, students negotiate with one another. Then, students role-playing, generates data to hold evidence-based debates about results, strategies, and good or bad moves, which they are excited to discuss. Finally, the professor can invite students on opposite sides of a debate to renegotiate in front of the class to show different approaches or arguments in action.
What’s your favourite case, and why?
I have two.
Indonesia Strategy is about leadership, LMX, gender, teamwork, avoiding manipulation, conflict resolution, and more, as a recently promoted younger female boss discusses the department strategy with an older male employee who just lost the promotion to her. Its rich mix of objective and subjective variables in just three pages allows students to go in many directions and sets the ground for debrief on how to lead or negotiate win-win relationships.
Lombardi & Co is great for finance or negotiation classes as a mergers and acquisitions (M&As) case with spreadsheets, filled with diverging assumptions and other value levers. It uniquely teaches how students can negotiate M&As under a win-win strategy.
If you could be transported into another profession for one week, which would you choose, and why?
Novelist. I love to write. It would be good to write something with no rules or boundaries, just following my creativity and imagination.
How do you relax?
As I used to travel a lot before the pandemic, I developed a lot of at-home/with-family relaxing activities. I still love to travel with the family during vacations, but on a weekly basis I relax by reading (literature and comics), writing poetry, exercising and going for walks, spending time with my wife and kids playing board games, cooking or watching the eventual movie at home with them.
Do you have a favourite quote or guiding principle?
Be positive, not naïve. This is a guiding principle that I created after decades of teaching, advising, and experimenting on negotiation. The world needs more people being positive towards others, but many people refrain from doing so, fearing the risks and vulnerabilities of being positive. This principle reminds me to persevere with being positive even in the toughest negotiation or conflict, while pushing me to find positive strategies that reduce my risks and vulnerabilities from potential exploitation by the counterparty.