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.

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What is Dispute System Design?

PON Staff   •  05/03/2021   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

dispute system design

Dispute System Design (DSD) is the process of identifying, designing, employing, and evaluating an effective means of resolving conflicts within an organization. In order to be effective, dispute systems must be thoroughly thought out and carefully constructed. … Read More 

How to Negotiate with Friends and Family

PON Staff   •  04/20/2021   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

negotiate with friends

“Never do business with friends,” the adage goes. But should you always stay away from an opportunity to negotiate with friends and family? 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. … Read More 

What Is an Umbrella Agreement?

Katie Shonk   •  04/20/2021   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

umbrella agreement

Business negotiators tend to want the best of both worlds. When reaching an agreement, they want to pin down parties’ respective rights and responsibilities, but they also want to retain the flexibility they need to deal with ever-changing business conditions. One solution to this apparent dilemma is to craft an umbrella agreement. … Read More 

Union Strikes and Dispute Resolution Strategies

PON Staff   •  04/15/2021   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

Dispute Resolution

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 

Methods of Dispute Resolution: Building Trust in Online Mediation

Katie Shonk   •  04/05/2021   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

methods of dispute resolution

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, mediators and other negotiation practitioners often insisted on meeting in person, convinced that online methods of dispute resolution lack “the human touch”—the warmth, energy, body language, and other subtle factors that build essential ingredients in conflict resolution, including trust, empathy, and rapport.

But when lockdowns and social-distancing restrictions took hold in the … Read More 

Using Principled Negotiation to Resolve Disagreements

Katie Shonk   •  04/05/2021   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

principled negotiation

Parties can often reach a better agreement through integrative negotiation—that is, by identifying interests where they have different preferences and making tradeoffs among them. If you care more about what movie you see tonight, but your friend cares more about where you have dinner, for example, you can each get your preference on the issue … Read More 

Alternative Dispute Resolution Examples: Restorative Justice

Katie Shonk   •  03/08/2021   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

alternative dispute resolution examples

Alternative dispute resolution examples often highlight relatively cheap, quick, and efficient alternatives to litigation, such as mediation. Within the criminal justice system, cases increasingly are being resolved through a form of alternative dispute resolution called restorative justice. A recent news story has prompted discussion of how restorative justice is defined—and how it can be implemented … Read More 

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