Existing Dispute Resolution System
Few organizations have undertaken an analysis of the kinds of disputes that arise in order to determine whether the processes and structures they are using are the most effective to achieve the organization’s goals.
Many organizations deal with disputes as they arise, with little or no structure. Others are unaware of their options for dispute resolution, or the costs and benefits of the various options. And where organizations have disputes with each other, they may automatically sue rather than exploring cheaper and faster alternative dispute resolution processes that may preserve their relationship.
Some large organizations (and unionized environments) have dispute resolution systems established, perhaps through the collective agreement. However, that does not mean that these workplaces should not undertake a systems design analysis to determine how to improve the system. Employees and management will need to work together to design processes that benefit the people both inside and outside the organization.
ADR System Design
ADR system design helps to match the appropriate dispute resolution process with the type of dispute and the culture of an organization. The analysis produces a dispute resolution structure that is both appropriate for the organization and cost effective. Because there is no cookie-cutter solution for disputes, the organization must assess its needs to determine which processes are appropriate in particular circumstances, and how they can best be incorporated into the organization’s culture.
Goals of ADR System Design
Each system design project is different, but they tend to have the goals of:
- Minimizing the number and frequency of disputes
- Saving costs on handling disputes (including sometimes legal costs)
- Resolving disputes faster
- Providing an outlet for disputants to discuss frustrations
- Achieving results that are stable and enforceable
- Maintaining good relationships with stakeholders
- Avoiding protracted disputes by providing a framework to deal with future disputes as they arise
- Developing processes that are flexible enough to handle a range of dispute types in an appropriate manner
System Design Methods
Our approach to system design is to work closely with the members of the organization. A design team is typically established (including both members of the Stitt Feld Handy Group and key personnel from the organization). The organization’s personnel on the design team bring to the team a thorough understanding of the organization’s goals and constraints, and the Stitt Feld Handy Group brings its familiarity with ADR processes and how they operate.
Our tools and methods for Alternative Dispute Resolution System design include:
- Diagnosing of root causes and issues through a combination of
methods, including focus groups, surveys, meetings, consultation with all stakeholders, and interviews.
- Analyzing organizational needs
- Designing appropriate Dispute Resolution methods such as prevention, negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and peer review.
- Considering a range of creative interest-based to rights-based methods including loop-backs, exits, and re-entries
- Establishing pilot projects and related training and education where appropriate
- Evaluating the System to enhance and improve its implementation