Definitions of Terms Used in Conflict Resolution (CJS/SOC 345)


Arbitration: Arbitration is assistance to two or more interacting parties by third parties who has authority to impose an outcome.

Bargaining Power: The ability to move the other party's position closer to your own desired outcome

BATNA: Best alternative to a negotiated agreement. This is the best outcome you can hope to achieve if you are unable to resolve the disagreement or conflict.

Commitment: The willingness of disputants to accept responsibility for and support the outcome of a conflict.

Commitment Tactics: An approach to distributive bargaining that involves taking a firm stand early on a particular position.

Contract of Adhesion: A contract that parties agree upon but one party, in practice, has little or no choice but to agree.

Contract Zone: A set of possible settlements to a dispute that both sides would prefer to walking away.

Cost-Formula Arbitration: An arbitration technique in which the parties are charged a "tax" for the use of arbitration and the size of that tax depends on how far apart their positions are and on the size of each party.

Divide and Choose: A technique in which one party divides up the benefits in dispute and the other chooses which bundle of benefits they will receive.

Due Process: Procedural rights an accused person has under law.

Fact Finding: The assistance of a third party who makes a formal written recommendation for the resolution of a dispute.

Final Offer Arbitration: An arbitration technique in which the arbitrator cannot compromise between the offers of the disputants but must choose one or the other as the award.

Impartiality: Having no personal interest and no potential benefit from any particular resolution of a dispute.

Interest-based Negotiaiton: Negotiations conducted by parties focusing on their underlying needs or goals.

Interests: The underlying benefits that individuals are seeking.

Litigation: The use of legal processes, especially law suits, to resolve disputes.

Mediation: Mediation is assistance to two or more interacting parties by third parties who have no authority to impose an outcome.

Negotiation: Mutual discussions designed to determine the terms of a transaction or dispute.

Perception: The ability to see, hear, smell, taste and touch phenomena.

Perspective: The different "angles" from which different observers see a particular situation because of the "positions" they hold.

Positional Negotiation: Negotiation conducted by parties focusing on the offers that they make rather than on their interests.

Repeated Offer Selection: A variation of final-offer arbitration in which the arbitrator may allow the disputants to submit a second later set of offers.

Statutory Rights: Those that derive directly from written laws passed by legislative bodies.

Unilateral: A decision made by only one side or party without securing the agreement of others.

Virtual Strike: A simulated strike in which labor and management continue to produce goods or services but pay "fees" designed to mimic the costs they would suffer in an actual strike.