What is conflict resolution? Conflict resolution defined

Content taken from the Association for Conflict Resolution Commission and edited by Papa & Roberts, PLLC

What is Conflict Resolution?

Conflicts may be resolved in numerous ways-surrendering, running away, overpowering your opponent with violence, filing a lawsuit, etc. The movement toward Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), sometimes referred to simply as conflict resolution, grew out of the belief that there are better options than using violence or going to court. Today, ADR and conflict resolution are defined (often interchangeably) as using a wide range of processes that encourage nonviolent dispute resolution outside of our traditional court system. The field of conflict resolution also includes efforts in communities and schools to reduce violence and bullying and help young people develop communication and problem-solving skills. Common forms of conflict resolution include the following:

Conflict Resolutions Definitions and Terms

Negotiation is defined as a discussion among two or more people with the goal of reaching an agreement.

Mediation is defined as a voluntary and confidential process in which a neutral third-party facilitator helps individuals discuss difficult issues and negotiate an agreement. Basic steps in the mediation process include gathering information, framing the issues, developing options, negotiating, and formalizing agreements. Parties in mediation create their own solutions and the mediator does not have any decision-making power over the final outcome.

Arbitration is defined as a process in which a third-party neutral (arbitrator), after reviewing evidence and listening to arguments from both sides, issues a decision to settle the case. Arbitration is often used in commercial and labor/management disputes.

Mediation-Arbitration is defined as a hybrid that combines both processes (arbitration and mediation). Prior to the session, the disputing parties agree to try mediation first, but give the neutral third party the authority to make a decision if mediation is not successful.

Early Neutral Evaluation involves utilizing a court-appointed attorney to review a case before it goes to trial. This attorney reviews the merits of the case and encourages the parties to attempt resolution. If a resolution is not reached, the attorney informs the disputants about how to proceed with litigation and gives an opinion on the likely outcome if the case goes to trial.

Community Conferencing is defined as a structured conversation involving all members of a community (family, friends, offenders, victims, etc.) who have been affected by a dispute or a crime. The facilitator invites people to express how they were affected and how they wish to address and repair the harm that resulted.

Negotiated Rulemaking is defined as collaborative process in which government agencies seek input from a variety of stakeholders before issuing a new rule.

Peer Mediation is defined as a process in which young people act as mediators to help resolve disputes among their peers. The student mediators are trained and supervised by teachers or other adults.

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