Negotiation, Facilitation and Mediation:

Principles and Practices

21st. September 2011



History of the Foundations of Dispute Resolution


In this second class we will extend our discussion of negotiation, facilitation and mediation by exploring further the foundations of dispute resolution. Read Carrie Menkel-Meadow's chapter as background for discussing the points listed on the agenda below. At the beginning of the session we will watch Carrie speaking on a panel that is debating the question: Are We a Field? This builds nicely on her chapter. In the video she discusses what it takes to be a "field", a "discipline" and a "profession" and indicates to what extent "dispute resolution" (or, to use another term, "mediation") has the properties of any of these. We won't have time to listen to the two other panelists, Juliana Birkhoff (was until recently with Consensus Building Institute now with Resolve) and Peter Adler (The Keystone Center), but I will play this after class at 11.30 for anyone who is interested in their complementary and contrasting points - their remarks run 26 minutes in total. Carrie, Juliana and Peter are thoughtful and influential practitioners and academics in the "field" and worth hearing and reading.


Key Sites

JAMS (Judicial, Arbitration and Mediation Services)



  1. Menkel-Meadow, C. 2005. "Roots and Inspirations: A Brief History of the Foundations of Dispute Resolution," in Moffitt, M. L. and R.C. Bordone. (Eds). The Handbook of Dispute Resolution. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. pp. 13-31. Negotiation Materials Site


  1. Video "Are we a field?" Carrie Menkel-Meadow's remarks (13 minutes)
  2. Field, discipline, profession - What do you think?
  3. Interdisciplinary field - What do the diverse contributing disciplines contribute?
  4. Morton Deutsch - two default perspectives on conflict "styles": competition and cooperation; later expanded by Thomas (1976) to include five "modes" of conflict resolution: competition, accommodation, avoidance, compromise, and collaboration. Note these are the origins for the diagrams we examined last week.
  5. Lon Fuller - Legal Process Approach of 1950s - asserted that each dispute process has its own particular functional integrity and its own morality. What does this mean? for mediation? for arbitration? for adjudication?
  6. Frank Sander - "multidoor courthouse". Process pluralism and multiple purposes take off - the "Big Bang" of modern dispute resolution theory and practice - "fit the forum to the fuss" is the idea but what does this mean?
  7. Two goals driving innovations: judicial efficiency and political empowerment. Where are these coming from? What motivates them?
  8. Proliferation of approaches -what are examples?
  9. Professionalization and institutionalization: ACR and PON.
  10. The implications of differing philosophies, values, approaches, styles, modes, techniques - can there be an orthodoxy, a canon?