What is conflict resolution?
Conflict is a part of life.
We see it every day: Two children wrestle over one toy. Teenagers compete for attention in school and out. A homeowner complains to a neighbor about a noisy dog. A landlord argues with a tenant about overdue rent. A disappointed customer shouts at the store owner who sold a defective product. A married couple's disagreements become increasingly angry.
As we all know, how people deal with conflict -- their disagreements and disputes -- can have long-lasting consequences. A small argument that turns nasty can lead to violence and injury, physical and emotional, exacting costs for society as well as everyone involved. Going to court is one option, but that can be expensive, time-consuming, and bitter.
Those of us who work in the field of conflict resolution -- scholars, practitioners, and many others -- believe that in many instances, people benefit from trying to resolve their disagreements through what was once called "alternative dispute resolution," or ADR, options for working on conflicts that were an alternative to the traditional way of settling conflicts or "getting even": filing a lawsuit and going to court.
For more information about the various forms of what many people today believe could be called Accessible Dispute Resolution, proceed to the next page: Forms of Resolution