Ch.02 – ADR in Business

Many private sector commercial firms favor using ADR in order to:

  • Maintain or improve business relationships with clients, suppliers, employees, etc.
  • Achieve outcomes considered fair or that make business sense
  • Reduce the overall cost associated with the dispute process

These goals and outcomes have been the subject of academic studies and surveys. The American Arbitration Association, for example, studied corporate attitudes regarding the use of arbitration and mediation, and published its findings in a report entitled Dispute-Wise Business Management: Improving Economic and Non-Economic Outcomes in Managing Business Conflicts (2006).  A Harris Poll sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce yielded similar attitudes regarding arbitration that were published in a report called Arbitration: Simpler, Cheaper, and Faster than Litigation (2005).

Parties to a federal contract or business transaction also are concerned about outcomes, time, and resources relating to protests or contract disputes.  Rather than merely focusing on the bottom line of a balance sheet, the federal contracting community may find that compliance with agency policy or regulations requires serious consideration of using ADR.  Further, the mission of the agency or office might be achieved best through a negotiated solution that goes beyond what a court or agency board can order in the adjudication process.  Business-sense means mission-sense more often than not.