Dispute Resolution

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.

In this FREE special report from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School,  Dispute Resolution, Working Together Toward Conflict Resolution on the Job and at Home, the editors of Negotiation Briefings cull valuable negotiation strategies and curate popular content to provide you with a concise guide on how to improve your dispute resolution skills.

How to Overcome Cultural Barriers in Communication – Apple’s Apology in China

Katie Shonk   •  05/06/2015   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

In China this April, Apple CEO Timothy D. Cook made the unusual move of apologizing to Chinese customers for his company’s warranty policy and promised to make amends, the New York Times reports.

On March 15, International Consumers’ Day in China, the nation’s largest state-run television network criticized Apple for giving iPhone customers in China a … Read More 

Examples of Difficult Situations at Work – Negotiation Skills for Dealing with Difficult People

PON Staff   •  04/29/2015   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

Learning how to overcome emotions in negotiation can help you create better agreements and claim more value in your negotiation scenarios. Examples of difficult situations at work are used to illustrate the negotiation skills you can incorporate into your negotiation strategies when you learn how emotional triggers impact your decision making ability. … Read More 

Negotiation Techniques and Negotiation Tips: Diagnose Your Negotiating Style

PON Staff   •  04/22/2015   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

Negotiators tend to fall into very specific negotiation styles or employ similar sets of negotiation techniques. Negotiation research has identified four such negotiation styles: individualists, cooperators, competitives, and altruists. Learn how each negotiation style impacts the negotiation process at the bargaining table and how to adjust your negotiation strategies accordingly. … Read More 

Negotiating Terms and Conditions to Reach an Agreement

PON Staff   •  03/25/2015   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

A married couple was debating whether their four-year-old daughter should attend public or private elementary school. It was a difficult issue, and Mike had a tendency to walk out when the conversation got heated. Frustrated, Lisa turned to negotiating terms and conditions just as a negotiator would in a business deal.

Lisa imposed a condition on … Read More 

Google’s Approach to Dispute Resolution

Katie Shonk   •  03/18/2015   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

In the face of antitrust charges, Google’s new guiding principle for dispute resolution is “Don’t litigate, negotiate,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

In recent years, U.S. and European regulators have accused Google of abusing its dominance in online searches by promoting its own services, such as Google Shopping, at the expense of its competitors’ services. … Read More 

An Alternative to Traditional Dispute Resolution Instruction

PON Staff   •  03/11/2015   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution, Pedagogy at the Program on Negotiation (Pedagogy @ PON)

Many negotiation and mediation instructors draw from other disciplines for a range of purposes. Insights from social psychology, for instance, can help students understand, explain, or predict certain interpersonal and inter-group dynamics. Ideas from economics and game theory can shed light on various value-creation principles. The performing arts, including improvisational theater, can help negotiation students … Read More 

Dispute Resolution and Business Negotiations: Negotiating Under a Blue Moon

Keith Lutz   •  02/16/2015   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

Adapted from, “Negotiating Under a Blue Moon,” first published in the June 2009 issue of Negotiation.

The following question was posed to our Negotiation Coach for June 2009, Gregory Barron, a professor at Harvard Business School.

Question: I am planning to relocate my retail store to an ideal location in a small shopping mall. Aware that I’ve … Read More 

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