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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How Mediation Works

Katie Shonk   •  12/08/2016   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

When negotiators can’t come to agreement but want to avoid an expensive, time-consuming, and potentially rancorous lawsuit, mediation is often their most logical choice. Mediation can help to resolve a wide range of disputes. … Read More 

Negotiation Research Demonstrates the Impact of Memory on Decision Making Processes in Bargaining Scenarios

PON Staff   •  06/09/2016   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

Findings from Negotiation Research How Memory Affects Decision Making in Negotiations

Recent negotiation research published by Psychological Science from Program on Negotiation faculty member and assistant professor at Harvard University’s Department of Psychology Joshua Greene and his colleague Elinor Amit explores the impact vivid mental imagery has on decision-making processes for negotiators. The negotiation skills insights that can be obtained from such negotiation research are many … Read More 

For Kesha, Support of Peers Could Bring Settlement Leverage

Katie Shonk   •  03/15/2016   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

Business negotiators are typically advised to keep their dealmaking and dispute resolution efforts private. Complaining about an adversary’s negotiation and conflict resolution strategies to the press or on social media can escalate disputes and increase the likelihood of impasse.

Yet when a negotiation becomes so contentious that it requires formal dispute resolution, such as a lawsuit, … Read More 

Program on Negotiation associate Paola Cecchi Dimeglio Edits a Collection of Dispute Resolution Essays in “Interdisciplinary Handbook of Dispute Resolution”

PON Staff   •  06/22/2015   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

program on negotiation associate paola cecchi dimeglio edits a collection of dispute resolution essays

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 

Not-So-Privileged Information

PON Staff   •  01/19/2015   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

The law of attorney-client privilege protects certain communications on the assumption that clients will reveal critical information to their attorneys only if they know such disclosures will not harm them in court. Despite the inadmissibility of such evidence, judges can have difficulty disregarding privileged information that sheds light on a case. … Read More 

To Avoid the Need for Dispute Resolution, Plan Ahead

Katie Shonk   •  12/16/2014   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

When disputes flare up in business relationships, a failure to thoroughly anticipate and prepare for the future is often to blame. Consider a dispute that has arisen surrounding the estate of Maurice Sendak, the acclaimed children’s book author and illustrator of dozens of books, including the masterpiece Where the Wild Things Are. As Randy Kennedy … Read More 

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