The Negotiation Challenge was founded by Dr. Smolinski and Dr. Kesting (henceforth “Founders”), who remain responsible for the academic aspects of the competition, such as the preparation and testing of the negotiation simulations, introduction of objective and consistent evaluation criteria and scoring mechanisms, selection and briefing of the judges, etc.
The Negotiation Challenge is operated by Econnections Sp. z o.o., located in Gebice 40, 66-620 Gubin, Poland (henceforth “Organizer”), which is also the official party in the contractual relationship with the participants.
The participants of The Negotiation Challenge are primarily graduate students majoring in business or law from best universities worldwide. They compete in teams of three all registered students at the time of the application and competition. Exceptionally, undergraduate students who can demonstrate serious interest in negotiation will also be considered. Participants are expected to possess both a theoretical background and practical experience in negotiation. The participants’ interest in negotiations is expected to be wide and reflect various types of negotiation situations including, but not restricted to distributive and integrative negotiations that may be scorable or non-scorable. Since the competition is conducted exclusively in English participants are expected to have a strong command of the language.
It is preferred, although not compulsory, that the participating teams are selected and endorsed by the university within which the team members belong, ideally following an internal competition by the university designed to select the best qualified applicants in a given year. Often selected teams are coached by university faculty specifically for the competition, which is encouraged since it raises the competition level significantly. Coaches are encouraged to attend the competition, but will have no participating role in it. Teams satisfying these criteria will generally be given priority, although teams that do not are by all means encouraged to apply and demonstrate their knowledge and experience in their application letters.
The registration for participation in The Negotiation Challenge can be submitted solely through the online registration form. Registration constitutes a legally binding offer to conclude a contract. The contract becomes binding only on receipt of our written confirmation (by email).
All registrations should be received strictly before the deadline posted in the TNC website. Late registrations will not be considered unless there is a compelling reason that can be demonstrated, prima facie. All successfully registered teams will receive an automatic email confirmation. Teams are expected to follow up their registrations and ensure that they have been received by the organizers in full.
Personal data collected during the registration process is saved and processed by the Organizer solely for the purpose of conducting the competition. Participants’ names and email addresses will only be shared with their negotiation partners and judge(s) for the purpose of conducting the negotiation rounds.
During the competition, the organizing team and/or hired professionals will take photos and/or record videos including the images of the participants. These materials are intended for the evaluation, research, and/or marketing purposes of the competition. Unless specified otherwise, with their registration for the competition, the participants explicitly agree to participate and support these activities.
A non-refundable registration fee applies to all teams registering for the competition. Potential travel and accommodation expenses are not included in the registration fee. The registration fee can be paid with a credit card or PayPal at the end of the registration process. Participation in The Negotiation Challenge is only possible, if the Organizer receives the payment in full on their account prior to the competition.
If any portion of the registration fee is still unpaid on the date of the competition, the registered team shall not be entitled to take part in The Negotiation Challenge.
Although the registration fee is non-refundable, should a registered participants or team not be able to take part in the competition, we will be pleased to accept a nominated substitute(s).
The Negotiation Challenge typically starts with 3 online qualification rounds, during which the participants negotiate over a communication medium of their choice (Zoom, Teams, Meet, phone, email, messenger, etc.)
The highest ranked teams are invited to a face-to-face event, which takes place on one or two consecutive days, normally a Friday and a Saturday. It consists of 2-3 negotiation rounds normally held in the morning and/or afternoon of each of the two competition days or remotely. Some of these rounds are judged by a team of invited negotiation experts and normally, a gala dinner follows, during which the trophy is awarded to the winner.
The Organiser may change the structure of the competition (e.g. by adding additional negotiation rounds, reducing their number, changing their format, etc.) . This will not entitle the competition participants to a reduction of the registration fee.
The organisers shall be entitled to cancel The Negotiation Challenge at any time due to organisational, economical or other important reasons (for instance due to force majeure, insufficient number of registrations, etc.) and terminate the contract extraordinarily. If the competition is cancelled by the organizer, all registration fees will be refunded. Further claims for compensation are excluded
All types of claims for damages against the organiser shall be excluded, provided that no intentional wrongdoing or gross negligence has occurred. The organiser cannot be held responsible – with the exception of intention or gross negligence – for any personal injury and losses or damages of objects belonging to the conference participants or companion
During each round the teams negotiate based on a negotiation simulation written exclusively for the competition by the Founders or other experts in the field. The Founders create the simulations at their absolute discretion. The simulations model a variety of negotiation situations, typically: integrative, distributive, mixed-motive, and multi-party, not in any particular order. In some simulations the teams might be split and the team members might be asked to negotiate individually. Selected examples of the negotiation simulations from the past competitions can be found in our book: The Negotiation Challenge: How to Win Negotiation Competitions.
Most of the negotiation rounds are scorable and the scoring mechanism are announced and explained in detail directly before the respective round. Integrative negotiation rounds are judged by invited senior negotiators experts.
The teams receive their general and/or confidential instructions at the beginning of each negotiation round and sufficient time to prepare for the negotiation. Whenever general information is distributed either on paper or audio-visually it may be assumed that the other party has exactly the same information. Confidential instructions, on the other hand, model information asymmetry between the negotiating parties. The authors of each simulation or a representative introduce it prior to each negotiation round and explain the related scoring and ranking mechanism for that particular round.
In scorable negotiation rounds teams representing the same party are ranked and the points for this round are assigned based on this ranking, the highest scoring team being awarded as many points as there are participating teams, the second highest receiving two points less etc. In the case that two or more teams happen to be ranked in the same place, each of them will receive the number of points assigned to that particular place. Integrative negotiations are evaluated by the committee of judges who judge and compare the evaluation of the observed negotiation in closed session, at their discretion. The teams are ranked based on the announced criteria and then awarded points as above.
If it is not specified otherwise, the teams that end up without an agreement will be ranked based on the score assigned to a non-agreement outcome.
In the multi-party negotiations, the scores of each team is the sum of the scores of each team-member as compared to those participants with the same role. The teams are then ranked as above.
The winner of the The Negotiation Challenge will receive a trophy and a title of The Great Negotiator.
For reasons of expediency, there is no possibility of an appeal against the organizing committee’s decision with respect to selection for the competition or any aspect of the coring and ranking.
Exceptionally, the organizers may hear complaints with regard to foul-play or major regulation violations, but the decision is purely at the organizer’s discretion.
Code of Conduct
Each participant and each participating team undertake not to disclose any aspect of their confidential instructions to anybody throughout the negotiation, with the exception of any information it seems fit to share during the negotiation with the other side as part of its negotiation strategy.
Each participant and each participating team are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and fully follow the organizers directions. Each participant and each participating team are expected to behave respectfully to the organizers and to each other. No foul language or inappropriate behavior will be accepted throughout the whole event.
Each participant and each participating team are expected to immerse themselves in the roles they invariably assume during the negotiation rounds. By doing so, they make the competition more realistic and rewarding for themselves, the other side, and the audience.
Each participant and each participating team are expected to conduct themselves during the competition in accordance to standards of fair play. This includes, but is not limited, to the embellishment of information that is not included in the instructions, per se. In particular, although participants and participating teams may add (embellish with) neutral information that make their role more realistic, they are expected not concoct evidence that will give them a negotiation advantage over the other side. Since the line may occasionally be thin, participants are encouraged to err on the side of caution.
Although it is appreciated that during any negotiation, immersion in the role may result in displays of emotions as well as a number of negotiation tactics which may appear confrontational, each participant and each participating team is expected not to cross the personal line, both psychologically and physically, especially when it would lead to a violation of other participants’ health, integrity, feelings, etc.
The authors of the negotiation simulations used in the competition undertake to keep them private and not to divulge any information pertaining to the role-plays to any applicant and participating teams or their coaches prior to the conclusion of the competition, other than is necessary for conducting the negotiations themselves.
The Founders and Organizer undertake to ensure that there is no conflict of interest for judges in the integrative negotiation rounds. Judges who may have a conflict of interest with respect to a particular team are expected to recuse themselves as soon as practicable.
The Founders and Organizer undertake to abide by the highest standards of professional integrity that befits the community of professional negotiators and mediators, as well as those of their respective professions (e.g., academics, lawyers, etc.).
Participation in the competition automatically implies the acceptance of these Terms and Conditions and of the aforementioned undertakings offered by the organizers and the participants. The organizing committee reserves the right, at its absolute discretion, to expel any team or team member who does not abide to the aforementioned rules and disrupts the competition, at any point during the competition, even without prior warning.
In the event that any provision of these Terms and Conditions is invalid in part or in full, or in the event that the contract contains a loophole, this shall not affect the validity of the other provisions of the contract or parts of these provisions. Any invalid or missing provisions shall be replaced by the applicable legal regulations.
In the case of any disputes arising from this contract, Polish law shall apply. The sole court of jurisdiction for any claims resulting from the contract associated with these Terms and Conditions shall be Krosno Odrzanskie.