Anthony Patete


Arbitrator and Mediator

Specializing in small businesses and providing the services and advice they need for profitability and success.®

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Finding Resolution

Once a conflict has been identified, resolution is what is next.  A failure to resolve a dispute only leads to more conflict.  The key therefore is to find and use the correct conflict resolution process. There are several but for now we will address a few: Negotiation, Mediation, Arbitration and Litigation.


Negotiation. “In negotiation, disputants (or their representatives) engage in a dialogue aimed at settling or resolving the conflict. The dialogue may be verbal and face-to-face or telephone-based, written, or conducted while using one of the many modern technologies available for communication purposes, such as e-mail, instant messaging, or videoconferencing. The disputants are in control of the outcome of the conflict: It is their decision whether to settle. The other broad type of dispute resolution process is adjudication, which is distinguished from negotiation in that a neutral third party, rather than the disputants, determines the outcome, which is binding on the disputants” (Coltri, 2010, p. 8).


What is Mediation?  "Mediation" means a process whereby a neutral third person called a mediator acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute between two or more parties. It is an informal and non-adversarial process with the objective of helping the disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable and voluntary agreement. In mediation, decision-making authority rests with the parties. The role of the mediator includes, but is not limited to, assisting the parties in identifying issues, fostering joint problem solving, and exploring settlement alternatives. Fla. Stat. 44.1011(2) (2008). 

It is a voluntary  process where the parties are the decision-makers.  The role of the mediator is to assist the parties in identifying issues, fostering an atmosphere conducive to joint problem solving and exploring settlement alternatives.

            Mediation is an extension of the negotiation that is voluntary and involves the intervention of an acceptable third party.  This third party has no authoritative decision-making power but is there to assist the parties in resolving their conflict (Moore, 2003).  The mediator assists the parties in voluntarily reaching an acceptable agreement or settlement based upon their dispute or conflict. Many times, a mediator addresses the procedural and substantive issues of the conflict and may also strengthen relationships, build trust among the parties or minimize emotional and psychological harm (Moore, 2003).

            Arbitration. “It fits the classic definition of adjudication, in that the disputants present their cases to a neutral, called an arbitrator, who issues a binding decision in the matter” (Coltri, 2010, p. 9). It is similar to litigation but is handled privately and is binding. It looks and feels like a trial but in reality it is an alternative form of conflict resolution. Unlike mediation, the decision of the arbitrator is binding.


Litigation. Litigation is the adjudication of an interpersonal conflict under the auspices of a court system and is characterized, in many Western countries, by a formalized and ritualized adversarial procedure, including carefully prescribed rules of evidence and procedure designed to ensure fairness (Coltri, 2010, p. 9). The system is controlled and guided by a complex set of rules of evidence and procedure. Many disputants who participate are unhappy or unsatisfied with the results because they never got to “tell their story”.



Coltri, L. (2010). Alternative dispute resolution: A conflict diagnosis approach (2nd ed.). Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Fla. Stat. 44.1011(2) (2008).


Moore, C. W., (2003) The Mediation Process: Practical Strategies for Resolving Conflict. San Franscisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.