Unit #3: APPLICATIONS OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION TECHNIQUES

Reading Assignment:

John Burton and Frank Dukes, Conflict: Practices in Management, Settlement, and Resolution, pp. 1-118.

You are asked to read only the first two sections of this book (through page 116) and the appendix for Unit #3. The remainder of the book will be addressed in Unit #4.

Ury, William L, Jeanne M. Brett and Stephen B. Goldberg, "Designing an Effective Dispute Resolution System," in Breslin, William and Jeffrey Rubin, eds., Negotiation Theory and Practice, Program on Negotiation Books, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1991, pp. 295-313.

Commentary:

Conflict pervades virtually all aspects of human society, from the simplest interpersonal relationships to the most complex geopolitical confrontations. Not surprisingly, conflict management techniques have had to be adapted to deal with the many different settings in which these conflicts occur. The result is a highly diverse field in which conflict practitioners take on a broad array of roles. This book, better than any other we know, describes the many different settings in which the basic principles of conflict management are being applied. (The one notable omission from the book, dispute systems design, is described in a paper accompanying this unit.) The book is organized with some chapters focusing on the type of process used (adjudication or arbitration, for example) while others focus on the type of conflict addressed (such as environmental, victim-offender, or divorce).

The first part of the book begins with a discussion of what the authors call "conflict management." It focuses upon tractable conflicts in which the parties have common, agreed upon goals and need only decide the best way of achieving those goals. Chapters address the general problems of management as well as many different types of mediation. The next major section on "settlement" addresses conflicts further up the intractability scale. Here the focus is upon situations in which there is no agreement on common goals. In these settings some sort of adjudicatory process is needed to decide whose goals take precedence. In this section the book discusses arbitration, adjudication, and ombudsing.

Writing Assignment (To be submitted for evaluation):

Unit #3: THE MANY DIFFERENT APPLICATIONS OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION TECHNIQUES - 11%

You are asked to prepare a 2500 word essay describing the many different types of dispute handling and conflict resolution services currently available. You should discuss the each approach and the situations in which it might be applicable. To get an "A" you also need to apply the basic concepts presented in the readings to conflicts other than those discussed. Your should also pay particular attention to describing the role that third parties such as mediators and arbitrators should play. Finally you should discuss how a dispute handling system can be used to channel disputes toward the most appropriate process.

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