Conflict Resolution and Public Policy

Conflict Resolution and Public Policy

Conflict Resolution and Public Policy

Conflict Resolution and Public Policy


This work represents a broad-based perspective of the conflict resolution process. Whereas related books have tended to specialize on specific settings, this volume gives in-depth treatment of three various settings--labor relations, rule-making in the public sector, and environmental issues. It also examines future models for resolving disputes. With its contributions from both practitioners and theorists in the art/science of conflict resolution, this volume properly emphasizes the important role that public policy plays in the settlement of societal conflict.


Miriam K. Mills

Conflict may arise from many sources, ranging from scarcity of resources, policy differences, personal history, and passive resistance to overt aggression. One of the most common sources of value-related conflict stems from differences in philosophy about the mission of an organization (Jandt, 1985). Conflict is generally a dynamic process, with each stage cumulatively affecting subsequent stages. This book of essays considers conflict resolution in a number of forums.

The alternative dispute resolution (ADR) field to deal with conflict has grown rapidly for a number of reasons. High litigation costs, overburdened court dockets, and the desire for rapid resolution have all led to increased support for effective ADR (Hoellering, 1987: 188). There is also a growing awareness of the value of ADR on the part of lawyers. Such information is shared at bar meetings, in law journals, at universities, and at conferences. Not only do organizations express concern about the time and resources diverted to conflict resolution, but the judiciary also encourages ADR (Friedman , 1986: 41).

There are many dimensions to a conflict resolution circumstance, due to the nature of the information initially held by the parties, their channels of communication, the costs of delayed agreement or conflict, and the types of settlement feasible (Weber, 1985). Observers of the movement have suggested that the parties look for mutual gain wherever possible and that, when the interests conflict, one should insist that the result be based on some "fair standards independent of the will of either side" (Fisher and Ury, 1983: xii). Raiffa has identified the benefits of third-party resolution as bringing parties together, establishing a constructive ambience for negotiation, helping the . . .

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