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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Are We in Competition?

PON Staff   •  04/26/2012   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

Ford vs. GM. Coke vs. Pepsi. Oxford vs. Cambridge. These famous rivalries remind us that the top two achievers in a given realm often compete fiercely with each other.

Now Stephen M. Garcia and Richard Gonzalez of the University of Michigan and Avishalom Tor of the University of Haifa have produced a useful series of studies … Read More 

Hurry Up and Wait

PON Staff   •  04/25/2012   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

Suppose that one bargainer is impatient, gritting her teeth and thinking, “Cut to the chase, for Pete’s sake!” Feeling pressured, the other person wants to say, “Easy on the coffee, pal! Let’s give this the time it deserves.”

According to a recent study by professor Karen J. Jansen of Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal College of … Read More 

Are You Listening to Me?

PON Staff   •  04/24/2012   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

For your next negotiation, what would you pay for a gadget that shows you how well you’re engaging the other side?

It would tell you when you’ve been persuasive enough to close a deal.

It would also alert you when the other side has tuned you out, so you’d know how to take a different tack.

A team … Read More 

Opening Multiple Doors for Dispute Resolution

PON Staff   •  02/24/2012   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

The Harvard Law School website featured a story about the Ministry of Justice in Chile hosting Harvard Law School Mediation and Clinical Program students Leah Kang (HLS ’12), Teresa Napoli (HLS ’13), and Apoorva Patel (HLS ’13), as well as HNMCP Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law Jeremy McClane (HLS ’02) so that the students … Read More 

Former PON Graduate Research Fellow Featured in the “Boston Globe”

PON Staff   •  06/15/2011   •  Filed in Daily, Dispute Resolution, Graduate Research Fellowships, PON Graduate Research Fellowships, Students

Sreedhari Desai, a PON Graduate Research Fellow for the 2009-2010 academic year, was recently featured in an Op-Ed in the Boston Globe. Desai’s research examines the ways in which childhood cues can make businesses more charitable and individuals more honest. The full text of the article can be found here.

About Sreedhari Desai:
Sreedhari Desai is an … Read More 

Let Go of Lawsuits

PON Staff   •  01/10/2011   •  Filed in Daily, Dispute Resolution

Adapted from “Helping Your Adversary to Let Go,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter.

Why is it that so many lawsuits aren’t settled until the parties reach the courthouse steps?

Sometimes the reason is strategic: each side may be waiting for the other to blink first. Dwight Golann, a legal scholar and veteran mediator, has identified another … Read More 

Family Matters

PON Staff   •  08/09/2010   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

Adapted from “All in the Family: Managing Business Disputes with Relatives,” by Frank E. A. Sander (professor, Harvard Law School) and Robert C. Bordone (professor, Harvard Law School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter.

What happens when family members go into business together? In a few lucky cases, harmony and success follow without effort. More often, … Read More 

Resolving disputes with respect

PON Staff   •  06/07/2010   •  Filed in Daily, Dispute Resolution

Adapted from “Equal Time,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter.

Social scientists have long tried to identify the key drivers of success in resolving disputes. Several factors have been proposed: individualized contact that goes beyond the superficial, equal status among parties, commitment to a common goal, and institutional support. Studies have shown that when such conditions … Read More 

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