ODR and Trust


by Noam Ebner

This chapter is from "Online Dispute Resolution Theory and Practice," Mohamed Abdel Wahab, Ethan Katsh & Daniel Rainey ( Eds.), published, sold and distributed by Eleven International Publishing. The Hague, Netherlands at: www.elevenpub.com.

April 2013

Noam Ebner

The existence of trust between individuals makes conflict resolution easier and more effective. This point is obvious to anybody who has been in a conflict. A party who trusts another is likely to believe the other’s words, assume that the other will act out of good intentions, and probably look for productive ways to resolve a conflict… The level of trust or distrust in a relationship therefore definitively shapes emergent conflict dynamics.

Trust is on the rise. Perhaps not in practice, but certainly as an area of interest and research. This is clear to anyone tracking the dispute resolution and conflict management fields, and is particularly noticeable in the field of ODR, in which trust has always received special attention.

However, what do people mean when they talk about trust? Zooming in on specific uses of the term, it would seem as if three types of trust are most often discussed:

Conclusion:

Trust, that infinitely valuable resource for the purposes of negotiation and dispute resolution, is hard enough to come by under the best of circumstances. Online, for a variety of reasons ranging from technological to psychological, trust is extremely challenging to develop and to maintain. However, awareness and intentional use of online communication media by negotiators and mediators can not only help overcome these challenges, they can provide new methods for trust building unavailable in face-to-face processes.

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Biography




Noam Ebner is an assistant professor at the Werner Institute at Creighton University's School of Law, where he chairs the online graduate program in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution.  His writing focuses on Online Dispute Resolution, e-negotiation and negotiation pedagogy. His papers on these topics can be read online here.  His recent book on negotiation teaching, Assessing our Students, Assessing Ourselves (co-edited with James Coben and Christopher Honeyman), is available here.



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Website: law.creighton.edu/wernerinstitute

Additional articles by Noam Ebner

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