FAQ > Alternative Dispute Resolution Q&A > What makes ADR work?

ADR processes yield the best results for parties because they are rooted in three basic elements: (1) interest-based problem solving; (2) neutrality & impartiality; and (3) voluntary participation.

    • Interest-Based versus Rights-Based Resolution: Litigation and other administrative forums use rights-based approaches. They are based on weighing the evidence and law that establish the relative rights of the parties involved. Although appropriate in some situations, these techniques focus on entitlements, positions, proof, judgment, and fact-finding. Negotiations that are based on positional bargaining often fail because of polarized viewpoints. Thus, rights-based forums end when a final determination is made as to the winner and loser of the dispute. “Win-Lose”.

In contrast, with interest-based approaches to resolution, parties work to understand each other’s perspective and concerns. They seek to find common interests and strategies to solve mutual concerns, and they work together to build more productive means of communicating. This model of dispute resolution takes into account the interests of everyone involved. These interests are the building blocks to successful negotiations and lasting solutions. Interest-based approaches change the conflict atmosphere to one of joint responsibility for authentic and creative problem solving. “Win-Win”

    • Neutrality and Impartiality: Our agency and neutrals have no stake in the outcome of any resolution. We are committed to a neutral and fair process for all participants.

    • Voluntary Participation: Because ADR is voluntary, participation generally signals good faith willingness to work to improve the situation. ADR works best when people are committed to finding reasonable and satisfying solutions through open and honest dialogue.