GEC Scenario #20: Contract Conditions

This sample scenario is from a collection of 70+ Global Engineering Competency (GEC) scenarios developed for instructional and assessment purposes. For more information, including links to usage tips and other supporting resources, visit our About page.

As a sales engineer, you led negotiation of a contract with a Chinese customer that commits them to purchasing a certain number of parts from your firm each year at a discounted price. The contract stipulated that if the minimum number of parts was not purchased each year, the price would go up substantially. Having bought only 10% of the product they originally committed to, the price was raised significantly after the first twelve months. Now you are sitting down with a senior executive and several of his associates in one of their conference rooms, and you can see the executive is very angry. Before you even have a chance to speak he starts berating you in Chinese, then throws an ashtray that shatters on the floor. What would you do?

  1. Try to leave the room immediately and contact your boss.
  2. Tell the executive that his behavior is not acceptable and he needs to cool off.
  3. Try to calm down the angry executive and explain why you need to stick to the written contract.
  4. Open up a conversation with the group about potentially renegotiating the contract.
  5. Give the executive time to express his frustration, then explain that you value their business and want to discuss how to strengthen your relationship.
  6. Stand up, go face-to-face with the angry executive, and tell him the price increase is not negotiable.

Recommended Uses: INSTRUCTION/TRAINING (see our GEC Resource Guide for additional guidance)

Citation: Jesiek, B. K. and Woo, S. E. (Eds.). (2018). GEC Scenario #20: Contract Conditions. Retrieved from

License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. 1160455 and 1254323. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. We also acknowledge support for this work from Purdue's Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment and Research (CILMAR).