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.

Negotiation Techniques and Negotiation Tips: Diagnose Your Negotiating Style

PON Staff   •  11/18/2015   •  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 

Difficult Situation Examples: The Hostage Negotiator’s Drill

PON Staff   •  11/16/2015   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

Here are some negotiating skills and negotiation techniques 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.

Such negotiation teams are likely to commit to working together as slowly as needed to resolve a standoff. This type of agreement can … Read More 

Conflict Negotiation Strategies: Apple’s Apology in China

Katie Shonk   •  11/08/2015   •  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 

An Alternative to Traditional Dispute Resolution Instruction

PON Staff   •  11/02/2015   •  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 

Employee Grievances: Most Legal Disputes are Resolved in Litigation or Arbitration?

PON Staff   •  10/28/2015   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

A common question asked is, “If most legal disputes are resolved in litigation, is there room for arbitration or mediation?”

In 2000, Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE), seeing the surge in employee grievances and litigation in other companies, implemented a revolutionary dispute system they called SOLUTIONS to deal with its own internal disputes.

Dispute Systems Design, or DSD, is … Read More 

Conflict Negotiation Strategies: When Do Employees Choose to Negotiate?

PON Staff   •  10/25/2015   •  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 to … Read More 

What are the Three Basic Types of Dispute Resolution? What to Know About Mediation, Arbitration, and Litigation

PON Staff   •  10/19/2015   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

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.

When it comes to dispute resolution, we now have many choices. Understandably, disputants are often confused about which process … Read More 

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