Following article was first published in Gettysburg Times Vol. 114, No. 113, Pg. B5, May 12, 2016. It has been edited to include more information.


September 9, 2016

The concept of choice is essential to decision-making. Choosing is a part of our daily lives, as there is hardly anything people do without having choice play a role. Whether it is buying a dress or finding the right plumber to fix that leak in your house, there are tons of choices and choosing among many is itself a headache.

With the globalization of markets and economic competition, businesses internationally and domestically, compete for every consumer and as a result, people make choices that are beneficial or devastating. The stores are flooded with 50 or more varieties of the same product. Your routine grocery shopping has not been easier, while manufacturers compete for your patronage through promotions and discounts that sometimes leave one with hard choices.

Just as choice, is critical to our economic wellbeing and decision making the concept, also has its place in our relationship with others. Choice plays a big role in how we resolve our interpersonal conflicts and in fact, it is impossible to engage in conflict resolution without giving choice a chance.

When you are in a dispute with another and realize the need for settlement, you can either choose alternative dispute resolution to help deescalate the conflict or find a costly solution through the court system. You may even choose to make the matter worse by leaving things the way they are and allowing the conflict to continue for as long as possible.

The choice to resolve a dispute can either be a productive conflict interaction that results in a solution satisfactory to all and produces a general feeling that the parties have gained something. Or it can be a destructive one, where the parties are less flexible because their goals are narrowly defined in trying to defeat each other. If the end goal is to find a peaceful solution, three traditions of dispute resolution can lead to some form of agreement that disputants can settle on.

Mediation, Negotiation and Arbitration are the three traditions of conflict resolution widely used depending on the kind of conflict and how the parties want their differences resolved.

The unique promise of Mediation lies in its capacity to transform the quality of conflict interaction itself, such that the conflict strengthens the parties and the society they live in. Because of its informality and design, Mediation allows parties to define problems and goals in their own terms. It supports the parties’ exercise of self-determination in deciding how, or even whether, to settle their differences and it can help them mobilize their resources to achieve a lasting peace. The Mediator offers guidance, while the parties themselves decide how they want the conflict resolved.

Negotiation on the other hand is a process by which we try to influence each other to help achieve our needs. It is a common everyday approach that most people use to achieve personal objectives. Negotiation is widely employed in business agreements and for settling disputes among nations through diplomacy.

Arbitration as a form of alternative dispute resolution is another technique for dispute settlement outside the court. In cases that require this method, parties to a conflict refer it to settlement by one or more persons known as the “arbitrators,” “arbiters” or “arbitral tribunal.” Unlike in Mediation, the parties agree to be bound by a decision of the arbitrator.

Your choice among the three traditions of conflict resolution depends on the nature of dispute, the end goal and how you want your differences resolved. Since Mediation allows the parties themselves to determine the terms of their agreement, it is widely accepted as a tradition that provides a lasting result.

Adeyemi Oshunrinade E. JD is an expert in general law, foreign relations and the United Nations. He is the author of ‘Wills Law and Contests,’ ‘Constitutional Law-First Amendment,’ ‘Criminal Law-Homicide’ and ‘SAVING LOVE’ available on AmazonAdeyemi is also the founder of Gettysburg Language Institute. Follow on Twitter @san0670.



Categories: Conflict Resolution, Mediation

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