The inAccord Conflict Analysis® model of Arbitration
Many times the process of arbitration is guided by a “sponsoring organization” that offers rules and regulations for the arbitration procedures and may have a referral network of arbitrators trained by that organization. Unlike mediation, the disputants in an arbitration process relinquish their right to control the outcome and decision to the arbitrator or arbitration panel. This makes the need for measurement and research all the more pressing to ensure the individuals and processes disputants rely on are fair and transparent. Mediators Without Borders is a sponsoring organization utilizing a specific process through the inAccord Conflict Analysis® Arbitration model unique to our organization. The inAccord model is empirically researched and employs survey instruments throughout the process to measure client satisfaction and understanding as well as client views on the neutrality and impartiality of the process and the arbitrator.
The need for research-based approaches in arbitration can be seen in the push back in the US by consumer groups who witness the procedures and arbitrators of large sponsoring organizations either recommended or required in workplace and consumer contracts. Often times, these sponsoring organizations are found to rule overwhelmingly in favor of corporations (sometimes over 90% of the time) with whom they have a special or exclusive contract for services. One answer to this complaint is to develop processes that have greater transparency and are grounded in research that allows the consumer and the sponsoring organization a reality check on the perceived fairness and efficacy of the process. The inAccord Conflict Analysis® Arbitration model allows for clients to report back their experiences and any breaches of impartiality or neutrality that they may experience. These results are aggregated and become part of a national and international research measurement. Our hope is that other sponsoring organizations follow suit as the need for empirical validation of arbitration and other forms of alternative dispute resolution becomes more decisive.