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.


Discover how to improve your dispute resolution skills in this free report, Dispute Resolution, Working Together Toward Conflict Resolution on the Job and at Home, from Harvard Law School.


An Alternative to Traditional Dispute Resolution Instruction

PON Staff   •  02/08/2016   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

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 

How to Negotiate with Friends and Family

PON Staff   •  02/02/2016   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

“Never do business with friends,” the adage goes. Yet a strict policy of keeping friends and family members out of our business lives would be impractical, and it could cause us to pass up potentially valuable negotiating opportunities.

What special issues do friends and family members face when involved in negotiations together? How can they reduce … Read More 

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

PON Staff   •  01/18/2016   •  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 

Conflict Negotiation Strategies: When Do Employees Choose to Negotiate?

PON Staff   •  01/12/2016   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

More broadly, how does the desire to negotiate stack up against other workplace decision-making procedures?

Negotiation seems to be the preferred decision-making mechanism when employees are seeking individually tailored solutions, such as adjustments to travel and work schedules. On the other hand, they prefer their compensation to be based on performance criteria and want company-wide policies … Read More 

Negotiation Examples in Real Life: The Chicago Teachers Union Strike and Dispute Resolution Strategies

PON Staff   •  01/08/2016   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

The Chicago Teachers’ Union strike offers insights into various conflict resolution strategies that could benefit negotiators in business or in personal negotiations. In this case study drawn from negotiation examples in real life, the Program on Negotiation provides analysis for negotiators from the perspective of integrative bargaining strategies and their applicability to dispute resolution processes. … Read More 

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