Alternative dispute resolution : are apology and forgiveness simply two sides of the one coin?

Neal, Geraldine (2010) Alternative dispute resolution : are apology and forgiveness simply two sides of the one coin? In Maamri, Malika, Verbin, Nehama, & Worthington, Everett (Eds.) A Journey Through Forgiveness. Inter-Disciplinary Press, United Kingdom, pp. 167-177.

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Alternative dispute resolution (a.d.r.) processes are entrenched in western style legal systems. Forms of dispute resolution are utilised within schools and health systems; built in to commercial contracts; found in workplaces, clubs and organisations; and accepted in general day-to-day community disputes.

The a.d.r. literature includes references to ‘apology’, but is largely silent on ‘forgiveness’. Where an apology is offered as part of a dispute resolution process, practice suggests that formalised ‘forgiveness’ rarely follows. Mediators may agree there is a meaningful place for apology in dispute resolution processes, but are most unlikely to support a view that forgiveness, as a conscious act, has an equivalent place. Yet, if forgiveness is not limited to the ‘pardoning of an offence’, but includes a ‘giving up of resentment’, or the relinquishing of a grudge, then forgiveness may play an underestimated role in dispute management.

In the context of some day-to-day dispute management practice, this paper questions whether forgiveness should follow an apology; and concludes that meaningful resolutions can be reached without any formal element of ‘forgiveness’ or absolution. However, dispute management practitioners need to be aware of the latent role other aspects of forgiveness may play for the disputing parties.

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ID Code: 40791
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, Apology in Mediation, Forgiveness in Mediation, Mediator Practice
ISBN: 9781848880481
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Business and Management not elsewhere classified (150399)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 Please consult the author.
Deposited On: 18 Mar 2011 05:03
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2011 06:05

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