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.

Chain reactions: How observers escalate conflict

PON Staff   •  11/15/2014   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

The United States and the USSR. The nationalists and the unionists in Ireland. Israel and Palestine. History is rife with stories of conflict that grew progressively more heated and destructive over the course of generations.

Such conflicts can escalate and spread because the parties involved show favoritism toward members of their own group at the expense … Read More 

Arguing over who’s right? Change the discussion

PON Staff   •  10/15/2014   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

In 2013, negotiators from Citigroup and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) began meeting to discuss what penalties the bank should face for allegedly defrauding investors in 2006 and 2007. The DOJ accused Citigroup of ignoring signs that a significant portion of the mortgages it had packaged and sold had underwriting defects. Widely criticized for … Read More 

Lawyers in Mediation and the Mediation Process

PON Staff   •  09/12/2014   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

How does the presence of lawyers affect the process of mediation? You might guess that when one or both sides bring an attorney to a mediation, the process would become more contentious and adversarial, with impasse more likely, than if the parties worked solely with a mediator. That conventional wisdom is contradicted by new research … Read More 

In Dispute Resolution, A Tale of Two Arthurs

Katie Shonk   •  08/12/2014   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

In the business world, long-term loyalty to a CEO is supposed to be a good thing. For New England supermarket chain Market Basket, however, employees’ reverent appreciation for their former chief and co-owner, Arthur T. Demoulas, has proved to be destructive to the business in the short term, causing employee and customer protests as well … Read More 

The Paradox of Positions

PON Staff   •  05/23/2014   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

It’s not difficult for negotiators haggling over seemingly finite resources to become entrenched in their positions. Sometimes the only way to get unstuck is to think appreciatively and creatively about the other side. Rather than trying to determine why a person has taken a particular position, consider what she wants, appreciate it, and try to … Read More 

For Detroit Pensioners, Dispute Resolution Pays Off

PON Staff   •  05/06/2014   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

On April 15, Detroit city employees and retirees breathed a huge sigh of relief after the city’s emergency manager and its pension fund managers reached a deal that would significantly reduce proposed cuts to pension benefits, CNNMoney reports. Some civilian workers will face a 4.5% reduction in pensions and lose cost-of-living adjustments. Retired public-safety workers … Read More 

Others May Be More Powerful Than You Think They Are

PON Staff   •  04/04/2014   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

Imagine that you’re a national account sales manager and are preparing to negotiate your annual raise.

You have met all your sales objectives and feel that you are not only a valuable employee but also the top producer in the department.

You feel quite confident that you will receive the highest possible salary increase. But during an … Read More 

Islam, Sharia and Alternative Dispute Resolution: Mechanisms for Legal Redress in the Muslim Community

PON Staff   •  03/05/2014   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution, Events

Dr. Mohamed M. Keshavjee will discuss his new book, Islam, Sharia and Alternative Dispute Resolution, which provides an informed and thorough discussion of the relevance of Sharia and its principles that affirm equity, justice and basic human rights, and its interface with the UK’s official judicial system. … Read More 

Bet you didn’t know…Negotiation research you can use

PON Staff   •  12/15/2013   •  Filed in Dispute Resolution

As state and local governments in the United States have been stretched to the breaking point, conflicts between public-sector employers and employees have become increasingly acrimonious, often resulting in stalemates.

When governments and employee unions reach impasse, they often turn to alternative dispute-resolution practices such as mediation and arbitration. Though these practices can be successful, the … Read More