Summary of "Alternative Dispute Resolution in Business"

Summary of

Alternative Dispute Resolution in Business

By Lucille M. Ponte and Thomas D. Cavenagh

Summary written by Conflict Research Consortium Staff

Citation: Ponte, Lucille M. and Thomas D. Cavenagh. Alternative Dispute Resolution in Business. San Francisco, CA: West Educational Publishing Company, 1999.

Alternative Dispute Resolution in Business is a textbook designed to introduce business students to the conflict resolution mechanisms of alternative dispute resolution. The aim of the book is to help students develop an array of options for dealing with disputes in the business world, so that they will be better able to decide whether ADR or litigation will be best in helping them achieve their desired outcome.

The work is divided into four parts, each dealing with a certain aspect of ADR and its relationship to business. Part I, consisting of Chapters 1 and 2, discusses the relationship between business and alternative dispute resolution. The traditional civil litigation system is described and assessed in Chapter 1, as is the impact of litigation on business, and judicial and legislative options for mitigating the negative effects of litigation on business. Chapter two explains the nature and types of business disputes that arise and briefly describes the primary types of ADR mechanisms that may be employed to solve such disputes-party-driven and adjudicative processes. Lastly, Chapter 2 lays out the advantages and disadvantages of ADR.

Part II of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Business covers facilitative settlement processes, including negotiation, mediation, minitrials and summary jury trials. Facilitative processes are those that are designed to reach a negotiated outcome. Such processes involve a third party who helps the negotiations along, but does not make any final decisions regarding the outcome. In the case of facilitative processes, the primary responsibility for resolving conflicts is that of the disputing parties. Chapter 3 focuses on negotiation itself, Chapter 4 on mediation, and Chapter 5 discusses the semiformal, evidentiary processes of the minitrial and summary jury trial.

In Part III, the focus of the book shifts to adjudicatory ADR mechanisms, through which disputes are settled with the employment of third-party decision makers, such as arbitrators or private judges. Adjudicatory mechanisms reflect a greater emphasis on the adversarial approach used in litigation, including the use of lawyers. Chapters 6 through 9 address different types of ADR adjudicatory mechanisms such as commercial arbitration, labor and employment arbitration, international commercial arbitration, and private judging.

The concluding chapters of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Business (10 and 11), offer practical considerations for businesspeople using the ADR processes described in the preceding chapters. Chapter 10 discusses approaches to designing dispute resolution systems for dealing with both internal and external business disputes. Chapter 11 offers some perspectives on the ethical considerations of practicing and employing ADR, as well as predicting future judicial and legislative trends that may affect the use of ADR in business disputes.

Alternative Dispute Resolution in Business is a clearly-written, straightforward textbook, which should prove useful in any course that incorporates material on business dispute resolution. This text effectively integrates theoretical and practical aspects of ADR, including a strong emphasis on court decisions relevant to the topics covered and sections entitled "ADR in Action". Other special features of this textbook are listings of applicable Web sites, tips on the use of ADR in business, and real and hypothetical ADR situations provided to reinforce chapter concepts.