Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)


What is ADR?  It is a collective term for the ways that people can settle disputes, usually with the help of a neutral third party.  ADR is a set of practices that can be used to resolve disputes outside the formal court setting, even though many courts nationally and internationally have incorporated ADR into their case management practices in response to rising caseload.  However, ADR is used very effectively, completely outside the court system, providing a cost effective, timely and less complex resolution to disputes.

The workplace in particular is ripe with conflict on a daily basis and ADR has gained popularity with both public and private entities as part of their Human Resource programs.  ADR provides a safe environment in which to raise any workplace concern or issue, and to explore options for resolving the issue.

Mediation is the most commonly used ADR method for dispute resolution in the workplace.  Mediation is made available to employees to assist them in resolving conflict situations (between co-workers or between staff and supervisors) in order to achieve positive outcomes.  The process is confidential and impartial and is the first step in resolving workplace conflict at the lowest level possible while incurring the least costs.

A professionally trained and certified mediator, who has substantial experience conducting workplace mediations, can achieve remarkable results during a 4-6 hour discussion.   Often this is the first time that an actual discussion and exploration of the issues has occurred between the disputing parties!

What do you know about ADR?

Theresa Doty is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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Darryl Perkinson

Theresa: I have had the opportunity to experience ADR from both sides as a manager and as an employee. It was my experience that the mediators were knowledgeable, unbiased individuals that assisted in getting both sides to concentrate on the issues at hand. While it is an environment that invokes compromise it resulted in outcomes of common ground.

Joe Raasch

Thanks Theresa! I think every trained facilitator should get some additional professional development in ADR. Many can be called into unexpectedly tense situations. The usual facilitation bag of tools may not enough.