We generally think of mediation as a dispute-resolution device. Federal mediators intervene when collective bargaining breaks down. Diplomats are sometimes called in to mediate conflicts between nations. So-called multi-door courthouses encourage litigants to mediate before incurring the costs – and risks – of going to trial. … Read
In this FREE special report from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, Dispute Resolution, Working Together Toward Conflict Resolution on the Job and at Home, the editors of Negotiation Briefings cull valuable negotiation strategies and curate popular content to provide you with a concise guide on how to improve your dispute resolution skills.
dispute resolution process
What is the Dispute Resolution Process?
Too often, the dispute resolution process can be an acrimonious and unproductive. But you can find creative ways to reach mutually satisfactory agreements.
A dispute resolution process has three basic approaches, each with its pros and cons. The first two, mediation and arbitration, are considered types of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) because they are an alternative to litigation.
It can often be difficult to determine which dispute resolution process is best for your particular situation. Simply knowing what you want to get out of the process can help you decide where to start. Begin by prioritizing your goals.
There are also strategies available that can help us navigate the dispute resolution process and find the best possible outcome.
One of the most important conflict negotiation strategies you can adopt is to listen actively to your counterpart’s concerns. To do so, you will need to resist the urge to interrupt and defend yourself.
It’s also helpful to try to focus on the problem rather than the personalities involved. Because conflict tends to promote competition and antagonism, you should strive to frame the situation in a positive light. For example, focus on the potential benefits.
Don’t forget to examine ways to create value, too. Negotiators who understand the importance of collaborating with one another to create value nonetheless often abandon that approach during the dispute resolution process. Treating disputes as different from other aspects of dealmaking, they tend to view dispute resolution as a zero-sum game—one in which only a single issue (such as money) is at stake. Consequently, they tend to look at the dispute resolution process as a win-lose battle, to their detriment.
Find out more about the dispute resolution process in this FREE report, Dispute Resolution: Working Together Toward Conflict Resolution on the Job and at Home, from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.
The following items are tagged dispute resolution process:
It’s often the case that when two people or organizations try to resolve a dispute by determining who is right, they get stuck. That’s why so many disputes end up in court. There is a better way to resolve your dispute: by hiring an expert mediator who focuses not on rights but on interests—the needs, … Read
When parties find themselves involved in a serious conflict, they often try to avoid the expense and hassle of litigation by turning to one of the two most common alternative dispute resolution processes: mediation or arbitration. Disputants who are concerned about these drawbacks might want to consider a hybrid mediation-arbitration approach called med-arb. … Read
Worldwide, mediation has become a common means of resolving conflict, ranging from divorce to workplace disputes to broken contracts. Yet mediation remains an underused tool for resolving disputes in U.S. … Read
What is dispute resolution? There are three basic types of dispute resolution, each with its pros and cons. The first two, mediation and arbitration, are considered types of alternative dispute resolution because they are an alternative to litigation. … Read
Here’s a great example on how to avoid litigation by pursuing negotiation with your counterparts. In the face of antitrust charges, Google’s guiding principle for dispute resolution is “Don’t litigate, negotiate,” according to the Wall Street Journal. … Read
When it comes to dispute resolution, we now have many choices. Understandably, disputants are often confused about which process to use. … Read
When a dispute flares up and conflict resolution is required, the outcome can be sadly predictable: the conflict escalates, with each side blaming the other in increasingly strident terms. The dispute may end up in litigation, and the relationship may be forever damaged. … Read
Retired US Senator George Mitchell played a critical role in negotiating the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland. In an interview with Susan Hackley, Managing Director of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, in the February 2004 Negotiation newsletter, he describes how he was able to facilitate an agreement between these long-warring parties. … Read
Sometimes disputes are left to fester for years, even decades, until parties decide there is something to be gained from reaching agreement. In 2015, the nations of Bangladesh and India seized on an opportunity to push the “restart” button on a contentious border disagreement through dispute resolution. Such international conflict resolution examples can illustrate how … Read
Knowing what to look for in a mediator is key to successful dispute resolution. Know what qualities to look for, the purpose of the mediator, and how alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes like mediation can benefit even the most entrenched disputes. … Read
The three most common alternative dispute resolution techniques are mediation, arbitration, and med-arb. However, it can often be difficult to determine which method is best for your particular situation. Here are four possible objectives you may have as a leader in your organization and suggestions for which type of ADR may be most appropriate in that … Read
If you have ever owned a cell phone or been issued a credit card, odds are you’ve signed an arbitration agreement. You also may have signed an arbitration agreement when you started your current job or a past one, whether you remember doing so or not. … Read
Organizations have long recognized the value of hiring professional mediators to help resolve disputes. More and more, managers have begun to also see value in securing mediation training for themselves and their employees. Although there are times when the services of an unbiased, professional mediator are needed, there may also be instances in which employees … Read
Mediation is often thought of as a last step to adjudicate disputes. In this article, professor Lawrence Susskind spells out the hidden advantages of using mediation early in the process to solve problems and reach voluntary compliance agreements. … Read
When disputes arise, negotiators face the difficult question of whether to try to reach a settlement on their own or hand decision-making power over to a judge, a jury, or an arbitrator. Parties often benefit from settling their disputes before going to court, write Robert H. Mnookin, Scott R. Peppet, and Andrew S. Tulumello in … Read
Sooner or later, almost all of us will find ourselves trying to cope with how to manage conflict at work. At the office, we may struggle to work through high-pressure situations with people with whom we have little in common. We need a special set of strategies to calm tempers, restore order, and meet each … Read
So, you’re stuck in a serious dispute, but you’re desperate to avoid the hassle and expense of a court case. You’ve heard about alternative dispute resolution but are not sure what it entails. … Read
The choice: arbitration vs. mediation. You’re not sure which of two common dispute resolution processes, mediation or arbitration, to use to resolve your conflict. … Read
No one likes to go to court. Not only is it expensive and time-consuming, but it often leads to frustrating results and damaged relationships. So, how does mediation work in a lawsuit and is legal mediation a better route? … Read
Too often, dispute resolution can be an acrimonious and unproductive process. The following 10 negotiation and conflict resolution strategies can help you find creative ways to reach mutually satisfactory agreements. … Read
Dispute resolution is often a multistep process that can start with negotiation, move on to mediation, and, if necessary, end in arbitration or litigation. … Read
As a collaboration between UST School of Law and the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, the following is the transcript of a conversation between the creator of the multi-door courthouse, Harvard Law Professor Frank E.A. Sander, and the executive director and founder of the University of St. Thomas (UST) International ADR [Alternative Dispute … Read
When one party brings up the possibility of a lawsuit in a business dispute, the threat can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Yet business negotiators often benefit from settling their disputes before going to court, write Robert H. Mnookin, Scott R. Peppet, and Andrew S. Tulumello in their book Beyond Winning: Negotiating to Create Value in … Read
During his years as George H.W. Bush’s Secretary of State, one of James A. Baker, III’s, goals was to encourage the free-market reforms that Communist Party of the Soviet Union General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev had launched in the late 1980s. One day during his tenure, a high-level Bush administration official commented in the press that … Read
When countries face contending water claims, one of the biggest obstacles to reaching an agreement is uncertainty. Specifically, there are three types of uncertainty: uncertainty of information, uncertainty of action, and uncertainty of perception. In part 2 of this 5 part series, Program on Negotiation faculty member Lawrence Susskind explains the uncertainties facing negotiators trying … Read
The news that actors Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are headed for divorce puts the issue of divorce negotiations in the spotlight. … Read
You’ve seen how mediators can help one organizational team prepare for a complex negotiation. But what about when litigation looms? … Read
The most difficult peace negotiations in recent decades—in Ireland, the Middle East, the former Yugoslavia, and Sri Lanka—were plagued by a common enemy: violent disruptions by spoilers opposed to the peace process. In each of these cases, extremists stalled negotiations by creating security crises that divided public opinion and drove negotiators apart. … Read
If you manage people, disputes will show up at your door. The marketing VP protests that the budget cap you and your new finance VP proposed is hindering a research initiative you supported. Two young sales representatives are embroiled in a turf war. Your administrative assistant is upset because the HR director won’t approve the … Read
What at first seemed like a minor misunderstanding has spiraled out of control. A Chicago-based printing company hired your Chicago-based IT consulting firm to train its staff to use its new computer system. … Read
For 70 years, the governments of Japan and South Korea disagreed over what Japan might owe the Korean women its soldiers abused during World War II. The story of how they finally came to agreement reminds us of the importance of including all interested parties in conflict-resolution efforts. An unresolved issue During the war, tens of thousands … Read
Back in 2000, James Brown, the legendary “Godfather of Soul,” signed a will leaving most of his estate—valued up to $100 million—to provide scholarships to needy children. In an audio tape, the musician explained that he hoped to cement his legacy with these good deeds. In the will, Brown also set aside scholarship funds for … Read
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
When you’re thinking about resolving a dispute in court, it’s crucial to remember that the decision that will be imposed on you is binding. If blinders lead a judge to grant a motion that should be denied, deny a motion that should be granted, assign responsibility to the wrong party, or award too much or … Read
Adapted from “Blind Justice? Think Twice Before Going to Court,” by Chris Guthrie (professor, Vanderbilt University Law School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, April 2007. Planning to resolve a personal or business dispute in court? Consider that judges don’t make decisions based on a thorough accounting of all the relevant and available information. Instead, like … Read