Resolving disputes requires specialized negotiation skills that may include mediation, arbitration or other alternative dispute resolution approaches
Organizations have long recognized the value of hiring professional mediators to help in resolving disputes. More and more, managers have begun to also see value in securing mediation training for themselves and their employees.
In mediation, a neutral third party tries to help parties in conflict hammer out a resolution that is sustainable, voluntary, and non-binding. Mediation is also a relatively fast and inexpensive means of resolving disputes.
Increasingly, however, employers are adding another dispute-resolution tool to that list: e-mediation. Like traditional mediation, e-mediation is a voluntary process of resolving disputes with the assistance of a neutral third party. Although, the role of technology is often likened to a “fourth party” in the process, and it is used to varying degrees.
When mediation doesn’t work, parties may move to arbitration. In arbitration, a neutral third party serves as a judge who is responsible for resolving disputes. Arbitrators hand down decisions that are usually confidential and that cannot be appealed.
A hybrid mediation-arbitration approach called med-arb combines the benefits of both techniques. In this increasingly popular process, parties first attempt to collaborate on an agreement with the help of a mediator. If the mediation ends in impasse, or if issues remain unresolved, the parties can then move on to arbitration.
Of course, the most familiar approach to resolving disputes is litigation. Civil litigation typically involves a defendant facing off against a plaintiff before either a judge or a judge and jury.
Lawyers typically dominate litigation, which often ends in a settlement agreement during the pretrial period of discovery and preparation.
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.
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Led by mediation experts Audrey Lee and Alain Lempereur, the Harvard Mediation Intensive delves into mediation principles and processes through interactive presentations and hands-on exercises. From employment and business disagreements to public and international conflicts, you will discover effective ways to enable parties to settle their differences across a variety of contexts.
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We said goodbye to breakfast meetings, client lunches, and after-work happy hours. Goodbye to handshakes, fist bumps, and pats on the back. Goodbye to the boots-on-the-ground sales game as we knew it, and hello to Zoom calls and text messaging.
To make matters even more difficult, the economy started to trend downwards—and so did the … Read Make the Most of Online Negotiations
During the course of a complex negotiation, the last thing we want to think about is the possibility that a serious disagreement or contract breach will arise during the implementation stage. Yet we also know that such conflicts are common.
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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 Training: What Can You Expect?
Suppose you want to hire a mediator to help you resolve a conflict that you’re having with an individual or a company, but for various reasons, meeting face-to-face would be difficult. That’s where online mediation comes in.
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You want to hire a mediator to help you resolve a conflict that you’re having with an individual or a company, but meeting face-to-face would be difficult. Perhaps you and the other party are located in different geographic areas, or social-distancing guidelines are keeping you apart.
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When their employees get into disagreements with one another, managers have various ways of coping. For example, they can try to mediate the dispute themselves; they can make use of in-house procedures and systems set up for managing disputes, if they exist; or they can refer the case to a professional mediator.
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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 a compensation offer for large numbers of claimants. Instead, “special masters” are often assigned to create and administer victim-compensation programs, a job … Read More
A married couple was debating whether their four-year-old daughter should attend public or private elementary school. It was a difficult issue, and Mike had a tendency to walk out when the conversation got heated. Frustrated, Lisa turned to negotiating terms and conditions just as a negotiator would in a business deal.
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Negotiation research suggests that e-mail often poses more problems than solutions when it comes to relationships, information exchange, and outcomes. Here is a case study of conflict management and negotiation about the challenges of building rapport with your counterpart when negotiating online.
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Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, negotiators are increasingly making deals and resolving disputes online. But a trend toward online dispute resolution (ODR) was already in the making before we all began to quarantine. On July 15, experts discussed how technology can help us effectively and efficiently resolve disputes in a roundtable discussion, “AI Agents Negotiating Deals … Read More
Many people are working from home these days, but that doesn’t mean disputes between employees have evaporated. In fact, the inability to hash things out in person might exacerbate long-simmering conflicts and leave people feeling even more alienated from one another. The stress we’re all facing from the threat of COVID-19 and disruptions to daily … Read More
In Harvard Law Today, Brett Milano published an article titled, Catastrophic harms, complicated questions reviewed a recent panel, “Innovative Models for Resolving Disputes after Mass Disasters and Catastrophic Harms,” held at Harvard Law School on Oct. 22. As mentioned in the article, it “brought together three experts who have helped resolve disputes after recent historic … Read More
More and more companies are inserting alternative dispute resolution (ADR) clauses in their contracts with customers and vendors—and even, in some cases, in agreements with their own employees. ADR clauses can be beneficial for all concerned if it means avoiding the cost, delay, and uncertainty of going to court. Mandated mediation, in particular, may offer … Read Mandated Mediation: What to Expect
On May 14, Susan Hutson, the independent police monitor for the city of New Orleans brought together community stakeholders and police officials to help formulate a program that would allow police officers and citizens to mediate minor disagreements, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. Aided by a professional mediator, citizens and officers would sit face to … Read More
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.
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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.
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As businesses increasingly branch out globally, they also face the possibility of broken contracts and strained relationships. Mediation can be an effective means of resolving disputes and getting business partners back on track, but do intercultural differences complicate the process? If so, how can disputants and mediators adjust?
Elizabeth D. Salmon of the University of Maryland … Read Using Mediation to Resolve International Disputes
What are the essential skills a negotiator needs to resolve conflicts abroad? How do international conflicts differ from domestic conflicts? What issues specific to bargaining across borders emerges in intercultural negotiations? In this article we explore ways in which negotiators can develop bargaining skills to overcome any barriers to communication they may encounter in negotiations … Read More
The MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program, one of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School’s many research programs, acts as a center for research committed to thinking about and resolving disputes in the public sector. Led by its Director and Program on Negotiation executive committee member Lawrence Susskind, the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program conducts research … Read More
Whenever one side fails to meet its contractual obligations, renegotiation is more likely to succeed if the parties have a strong relationship. Ideally, the aggrieved party will value long-term relations more than potential gains from a claim for breach of contract. For example, a bank will be more willing to renegotiate a loan with a … Read What to Do Before the Deal Breaks Down
Thanks to leadership from the Middle East Negotiation Initiative (MENI) of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, a series of negotiation skills trainings was recently provided to eleventh grade students from Jewish and Arab schools in Israel. These two-day workshops, co-sponsored by the Program on Negotiation and the Amal Network and funded by … Read More
You’re close to a deal, but concerns linger. Some of the contract seems less than precise. What in the world does “reasonable best efforts” mean, for example, or “good faith”? Negotiators in this commonplace situation face a choice: push for more precision now or sign the deal and hope the ambiguities won’t cause trouble down … Read Is the Devil in the Details?
Some 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 are met, parties’ attitudes toward one another often improve.
Other … Read Equal Time in Mediation
Adapted from “The Mediator as Team Adviser,” by Stephen B. Goldberg (professor, Northwestern University), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, May 2006.
When faced with a trial, a corporation sometimes engages one law firm to represent it in court and a second law firm to explore settlement possibilities. According to conventional wisdom, the second law firm … Read Involving mediators in settlement talks
Adapted from “Is the Devil in the Details?,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter.
You’re close to a deal, but concerns linger. Some of the contract terms seem less than precise. What in the world does “reasonable best efforts” mean, for example, or “good faith”? Negotiators in this commonplace situation face a choice: push for more … Read Devilish Contractual Details
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 Resolving disputes with respect
Remember that big sales contract you negotiated last fall, the one that got you a fat year-end bonus? Well, your manufacturing department has just told you that delivery will be two months late. So now it’s your job to persuade your customer to accept a new date without canceling the deal. And that’s not all. … Read How to Avoid a Do-Over
When interests collide, some managers dig in their heels: You get your way or I get mine. Others go for a compromise where the plan is to give up as little as possible. Neither strategy is likely to lead to the best outcome. But businesses, nonprofits, government agencies … and even rock ‘n’ rollers … … Read More
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