Are you interested in teaching The Tribes Exercise®, the wildly powerful negotiation experience featured in Negotiating the Nonnegotiable?


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What is The Tribes Exercise®?
In this emotionally dynamic simulation featured in the New York Times Magazine, participants create their own “tribes” and then confront a catastrophic threat. They must negotiate a way out of this dilemma or risk global annihilation. The Tribes Exercise is a registered trademark of Integrative Dynamics LLC, the sole distributor of this exercise.

What Makes It So Powerful?
This lively exercise raises real-life emotions that become fodder for deep insight into the role of identity in conflict resolution – and in our own lives. The exercise invited participants to reflect upon who they are, what they stand for, and how to address threats to identity. They walk away with a greater understanding of the emotional and identity-based forces that ignite conflict—and gain practical tools for counteracting them.

What Makes This Exercise Unique?
In most case simulations, participants enact roles – such as pretending they are a movie star negotiating salary. But in The Tribes Exercise, participants are themselves. They create new group identity deriving from their own, true values and beliefs. Thus, emotions that arise are based on their “actual” identity, opening the door to powerful learning about their own emotions, identity, and conflict style.

Who are the Intended Participants?
Anyone aged 18 and above! The lessons learned are critical for everyone from government workers to business executives, university students to non-profit colleagues. It has been effectively used in courses and workshops on leadership, negotiation, conflict resolution, communication, government and diplomatic relations, and finance and client advising. In other words, anyone could benefit from this exercise!

What is the Optimal Group Size?
The Tribes Exercise is intended for a group size of 20-80 people. If you have fewer than 20 students in a class, consider inviting “guest students” to join for this experience. If you have more than 80 participants, consider dividing the group into subgroups who separately experience the exercise.

How Long Does It Take?
The exercise takes 3 hours. It is ideally done without interruption. But it can be divided into two “blocks” of time, each 1.5 hours long. The curriculum describes how to do so.

What is Included in The Tribes Exercise kit?
The Tribes Exercise® is available for licensed use and includes four components:

1. Facilitator’s Guide. This 32-page manual walks you through the exercise from start to finish, describing how to prepare for and facilitate it. The curriculum details the many nuances necessary to heighten the emotional impact.

2. Participant Debrief Handbook. This booklet includes background materials and analysis worksheets to concretize insights gleaned from the exercise.

3. Video Exclusives. The Tribes Exercise is a multi-media experience and includes seven short videos that frame the exercise, provide dramatic enhancement, and support in-depth debrief. Videos include exclusive mini-lectures by Prof Shapiro on frameworks for addressing the emotional and identity-based aspects of negotiation.

4. Questionnaire. To create their own tribes, participants must complete this specially designed questionnaire that has been field-tested and refined over the past two decades.

Why is The Tribes Exercise Timely?
Given sociopolitical, ethnic, and racial divisions spreading around the world, this exercise offers unique insights into tribalism, tribal dynamics, and most important, how to counter them.

Where Can I Learn More about the Tribes Exercise?
Dr. Shapiro has facilitated the exercise around the world and describes some of those experiences in his book, Negotiating the Nonnegotiable. In fact, The Tribes Exercise is designed to illuminate key principles in the book and brings the ideas to life in a powerful way.

Can Dr. Shapiro Run the Exercise for my Organization?
Pending availability, Dr. Shapiro does facilitate this exercise for organizations around the world. If you are interested, please contact Mia Dolany at

* The Tribes Exercise is a registered trademark of Integrative Dynamics LLC.