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.
I want to make four simple points regarding corporate stakeholder engagement and mineral extraction in Colombia. I presented these ideas several weeks ago at a Harvard Law School seminar sponsored by the Colombian government. We had senior officials present along with a great many Colombian graduate students studying at Boston-area schools. I think these prescriptions … 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?
Suppose that two businesses have similar sounding names. The similarity is confusing to customers, or could be down the line. One of the businesses decides to do something about it. How can they engage in a successful dispute-resolution process?
Two recent conflicts over business names went in different directions. First, a public dispute broke out … Read More
On November 28, dozens of employees at several fast-food restaurants in New York City walked off their jobs and demanded better pay and unionization. In doing so, they launched what is believed to be the largest coordinated campaign in the United States to unionize fast-food workers from different restaurants, reports Steven Greenhouse in the New … Read More
When countries face contending water claims, one of the biggest obstacles to reaching an agreement is uncertainty. Specifically, there are three types of uncertainty: uncertainty of information, uncertainty of action, and uncertainty of perception. In part 2 of this 5 part series, Program on Negotiation faculty member Lawrence Susskind explains the uncertainties facing negotiators trying … Read More
Program on Negotiation associate and researcher Paola Cecchi Dimeglio, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard Negotiation Research Project, was the editor for a comprehensive, interdisciplinary guide to dispute resolution that combines negotiation research written in both French and English.
Cecchi Dimeglio’s “Interdisciplinary Handbook of Dispute Resolution,” published by Larcier, is currently available in the Program … Read More
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.
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
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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.