Dispute resolution generally refers to one of several different processes used to resolve disputes between parties, including negotiation, mediation, arbitration, collaborative law, and litigation. Dispute resolution is the process of resolving a dispute or a conflict by meeting at least some of each side’s needs and addressing their interests. Dispute resolution strategies include fostering a rapport, considering interests and values separately, appealing to overarching values, and indirect confrontation.
Conflict resolution, to use another common term, is a relatively new field, emerging after World War II. Scholars from the Program on Negotiation were leaders in establishing the field.
Mediation can be effective at allowing parties to vent their feelings and fully explore their grievances. Working with parties together and sometimes separately, mediators try to help them hammer out a resolution that is sustainable, voluntary, and nonbinding. In arbitration, the arbitrator listens as each side argues its case and presents relevant evidence, then renders a binding decision. Litigation typically involves a defendant facing off against a plaintiff before either a judge or a judge and jury. The judge or jury is responsible for weighing the evidence and making a ruling. Information conveyed in hearings and trials usually enters the public record.
There are many aspects of disputes, including value creation opportunities, agency issues, organizational influences, ethical considerations, the role of law, and decision tools.
Articles offer numerous examples of dispute resolution and explore various aspects of it, including international conflict resolution, how it can be useful in your personal life, skills needed to achieve it, and training that hones those skills.
When a conflict looms, it can be tempting for each side to try to make unilateral decisions on key issues because of the belief that negotiations with the other side will be a dead end. This dispute resolution strategy may pay off in the short term, but it’s important to factor in the long-term costs … Read More
Here are some negotiating skills from the world of crisis negotiations: Hostage negotiators stress the importance of discussing the “drill”—goals, ground rules, and operating principles—with their team before beginning talks with a hostage taker. … Read More
When a dispute flares up, the outcome can be sadly predictable: the conflict escalates, with each side blaming the other in increasingly strident terms. The dispute may end up in litigation, and the relationship may be forever damaged. … Read More
After buying a new car, you’re eager to sell your old car. It looks well kept, but you had problems with the engine last winter. Now it’s late summer. Should you tell prospective buyers about the engine, which might or might not act up when the weather turns? … Read More
Negotiation is not only something we do at work; often the toughest negotiations we encounter are in our personal lives. Some of the most successful negotiation examples of the power of negotiation skills in dispute resolution is when they repair relationships between friends. … Read More
Here are 15 things about dispute resolution in environmental negotiations that Program on Negotiation faculty member Lawrence Susskind published on his website, Consensus Building Approach. … Read More
Suppose that in each case, the parties and their lawyers have exhausted their attempts to negotiate a resolution on their own. They’re ready for outside help in ending their dispute, yet they don’t know where to turn. … Read More
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Understanding how to arrange the meeting space is a key aspect of preparing for negotiation. In this video, Professor Guhan Subramanian discusses a real world example of how seating arrangements can influence a negotiator’s success. This discussion was held at the 3 day executive education workshop for senior executives at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.
Guhan Subramanian is the Professor of Law and Business at the Harvard Law School and Professor of Business Law at the Harvard Business School.