Conflict is Inevitable.
Who Needs it?
I advise everyone, whether in labor-management relations, individual employment matters, or in commercial transactions, to think about the inevitability of a future conflict. Often, the relationship is an ongoing one, and if so, the goal should be to resolve the individual dispute without destroying the relationship.
Parties to the relationship also should be looking to create a process of dispute resolution that is fair and efficient, not one in which one party dictates the terms of the conflict resolution process such that the other party does not feel like a full participant.
What's the Goal?
The object of any dispute resolution system should be to create a process that leads to a resolution of the dispute that is durable—one in which both parties come away feeling that they were heard, and that the outcome is rational even if one of the parties or both do not get all of what they had hoped for.
In deciding whether the relationship-agreement should include arbitration or mediation or a combination of the two, careful consideration should be given to the nature of the relationship. Often arbitration, preceded by a carefully crafted mediation process, will lead to the most fair and efficient resolution of the conflict.