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.

When deals fall apart

PON Staff   •  05/31/2020   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

For investors and employees of office-space company WeWork, the April 1 news was no joke: Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, WeWork’s dominant shareholder, was reneging on an agreement to buy $3 billion of the company’s stock from them. A longtime financial backer of WeWork, SoftBank had agreed to the purchase as part of a bailout of the … Read More 

Why Nonaggression Pacts Often Fail

PON Staff   •  03/31/2020   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

On December 12, 2018, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren had Vermont senator Bernie Sanders over to her house for a meeting, New York magazine reports. There, they each admitted what was already apparent: They were running for president. Friends as well as colleagues, Sanders and Warren agreed to try to protect the progressive movement by not attacking each … Read More 

Ask A Negotiation Expert: Dispute Resolution After Mass Disasters

PON Staff   •  11/30/2019   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

In the aftermath of a large-scale catastrophe or disaster in the United States—such as 9/11, the opioid epidemic, and mass shootings—the courts can be ill-equipped to take on the complex task of negotiating compensation for large numbers of claimants. Instead, “special masters” are often assigned to create and administer victim-compensation programs, a job that typically requires … Read More