Fundamentals Seminar 15: Alternative Dispute Resolution Processes

ADR, or alternative dispute resolution is a term referring to a large set of third-party processes designed to help people who cannot resolve their conflict on their own to get assistance in ways generally less adversarial than suing someone in the courts.  The most widely known and used ADR processes are arbitration and mediation, although, as the posts below show, there are many other options as well.

Posts in this Seminar:

  • Traditional Third Party Processes - An introduction to the varieties of conflict intervention.
  • Facilitation -- Facilitation is a process in which a neutral person helps a group work together more effectively. Good facilitators can help groups stay on task and be more creative, efficient, and productive.
  • Mediation -- Mediation is a conflict resolution process in which a third party assists the disputants to communicate better, analyze their conflicts and their options and to develop a mutually satisfactory solution. 
  • Consensus Building -- Consensus building is used to settle conflicts that involve multiple parties and complicated issues. The approach seeks to transform adversarial confrontations into a cooperative search for information and solutions that meet all parties' interests and needs.
  • Dialogue  -- In dialogue, the intention is not to advocate but to inquire; not to argue but to explore; not to convince but to discover. This essay introduces the concept of dialogue, discusses why it is needed, and suggests ways to do it effectively.
  • Arbitration  -- Arbitration is a method of resolving a dispute in which the disputants present their case to an impartial third party, who then makes a decision for them which resolves the conflict. This decision is usually binding. Arbitration differs from mediation, in which a third party simply helps the disputants develop a solution on their own.
  • Adjudication  -- Adjudication is a judicial procedure for resolving a dispute. In the context of ADR, it usually means the traditional court-based litigation process.
  • Dispute Systems Design
  • Which Dispute Resolution Process is Best? - A short essay explaining when one should use mediation, arbitration or litigation.
  • When to Mediate - A further discussion of situations in which mediation is useful.
  • When to Arbitrate  - A further discussion of situations in which arbitration is useful.
  • When to Litigate - A further discussion of situations in which arbitration is useful.
  • How to Find a Mediator - Information on how to locate a mediator in your town.
  • How to Find an Arbitrator  Information on how to locate an arbitrator in your town.
  • William Ury's "Third Side" Roles -- Third siders act in a community threatened with destructive conflict as an immune system acts in a body threatened by disease. Average citizens such as teachers, journalists, artists and police officers can play key roles in preventing, de-escalating and resolving conflict. Bill Ury has labeled these people "third siders."