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Conflict Resolution in Action

Conflict Resolution in Action

Author: Julie Tietz
Description:

At the end of this tutorial, the learner will understand the range of situations in which conflict resolution can be applied, and will know some of the major successes of the field

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Tutorial

Source: Image of EPA Logo, Public Domain, http://www.epa-echo.gov/echo http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Environmental_Protection_Agency_logo.svg Image of Police Officers, Creative Commons, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:SA_police_force.jpg. Image of Meeting, Public Domain, http://mrg.bz/ICAKDy Image of South African Flag, Public Domain, http://www.clker.com/clipart-7350.html Image of Circle holding hands, Public Domain, http://www.clker.com/clipart-bright-colors.html

Video Transcription

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Hi, I'm Julie Tietz, and welcome to you conflict resolution-- putting the pieces together. Today we're going to go over conflict resolution and action. So what that means is we're going to cover a couple of different conflict resolution processes, and those are litigation, arbitration, facilitation, conciliation, and mediation. And these are also the key terms for your lesson, so let's get started.

First, we have litigation, and that is a process of resolving a dispute through civil court. You may be familiar with this setup. It's in the courtroom, and you have a party A versus party B, both giving their information to the judge. And the judge then takes that information and makes a finding or a conclusion to the conflict between the parties. Sometimes a jury makes this decision, as well, depending on what type of civil court case it is.

Next, we have arbitration, and that is a process of dispute resolution by seeking a decision from a neutral third party outside of the court system. So very similar to litigation, except you're outside of the courtroom. You have the same two parties against each other giving the arbitrator the information. And instead of a judge, the arbitrator makes the decision of the outcome of the conflict, and that is binding.

The next process is facilitation, and that's a process in which decision-making, communication, or negotiation is aided by the actions of a neutral or outside party. This typically involves a group that has a decision to make, is in conflict with each other, or needs to communicate better. And so a facilitator steps in to work with the group to try and come with a reasonable outcome that everyone can agree upon.

Next, we have conciliation-- a conflict resolution process in which the conflict resolver meets privately with each party to the dispute seeking to gain concessions from each party. So this looks like two parties that are in separate rooms, and the conflict resolver is in the middle and meets with each party alone, and tries to come up with an agreement of the parties without the parties actually meeting with each other.

All right, so next we have mediation, and that is a form of conflict resolution in which a neutral third party helps disputing parties to communicate effectively in order to alter their relationship, reach an agreement, or both. So here we have the two parties meeting with each other and the mediator, and there's communication going to the mediator, between each parties. And this is in hopes that the mediator can facilitate a communication so the parties can reach the agreement on their own.

So all of these conflict resolution processes that we have defined have been successful in one way or another in various institutions. So let's see where are these processes have been applied.

So let's look at regulatory stakeholders negotiation. The United States Environmental Protection Agency uses this often in their rule-making process. They'll bring together various stakeholders in the community, whether that's citizens, other businesses, or other government agencies-- concerning rules regarding our environment. And this usually involves a trained facilitator that comes in to work with the stakeholder groups so they can have a more streamlined process in making their decisions.

Next, we have divorce mediation. And many courts have found that divorce mediation is a better way to come to a conclusion of the end of somebody's marriage. It's better because the parties make the decisions themselves, and they don't have to involve a judge who may make a decision that neither of the parties like. And so, the thinking around the divorce mediation is they have more control of the outcome, and they know what's best for their families more than a judge does.

Next, we have victim offender mediation, and this usually happens after a crime has been committed where a victim may want to meet with their offender to discuss the crime that has been committed. And this is often a time where the victim can get some answers they may have not gotten through a more formal court process. And also, maybe a time for the offender to try and make right in some way on what they did, whether that's an apology or doing something within the community to make it better.

Another example is the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions. Probably one of the more famous of these is the one in South Africa that took place after apartheid ended. During the time of apartheid in South Africa, there were lots of human rights violations committed on both sides of the conflict. And the Truth and Reconciliation Commission allowed for the victims to come forth to give their testimony on the crimes that were committed by them, and also offered a chance for the offenders to come forth, too, and ask for amnesty.

And the thinking behind this was there needed to be some way for the community to move on from these atrocities, and the best way to do that was through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where everyone could have the opportunity to say what had been done with them. And this was thought of as a process of healing, and so they could move forward in their new country after apartheid.

Our final example is police community mediation referrals. More police officers are now referring certain kinds of disputes to community mediation centers, such as neighbor to neighbor disputes, where they feel that the mediation process would be better in resolving this dispute, rather than making a citation. And so, the community can work together to make it a more peaceful place for them to all live in together.

So our key points for today are we covered the five processes-- litigation, arbitration, facilitation, conciliation, and mediation. And these processes have been successful in various institutions, which we gave examples of. And it's important to remember that despite these different formal processes, conflict resolution processes all have similar intents, and that is to come up with a resolution that everyone can agree with.

So thank you very much for listening, again, to this lesson. And I hope to see you, again, next time.

Terms to Know
Arbitration

A process of dispute resolution by seeking a decision from a neutral third party outside of the court system.

Conciliation

A conflict resolution process in which the conflict resolver meets privately with each party to the dispute, seeking to gain concessions from each party.

Facilitation

A process in which decision-making, communication, or negotiation is aided by the actions of a neutral or outside party.

Litigation

A process of resolving a dispute through civil court.

Mediation

A form of conflict resolution in which a neutral third party helps disputing parties to communicate effectively in order to alter their relationship, reach an agreement, or both.