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Glossary of ADR Terms

by Jeff Thompson
May 2009

From Jeff Thompson's Enjoy Mediation Blog

Jeff Thompson

The next few posts will all be highlighting a website I recently came across: Office of Quality Improvement & Office of Human Resource Development at Wisconsin University.

The list of common ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) terms will definitely help the 'newbie' to the ADR field. However, all you old veterans of the game, giving it a glance over will do no harm either.
And before someone says it, I will say it first- yes, I know some terms are not there. See the first sentence of the previous paragraph, no where did I say it is a complete list!
If you are thinking of terms that are not there, then this list is providing you another service- it is getting you creative mind working!

At the very least, it will help remind you to consider certain traits, topics, and procedures that hopefully prepare you for your next mediation or negotiation.

Below you will find a brief list of the terms. For a complete list, click [here] or the link at the bottom.

Emotional responses: Feelings curing a conflict, such as anger, fear, confusion, or elation; often contribute to behavioral and physical responses.

Empathy: The ability to put oneself in another person's position and understand that point of view.

Ground rules: the rules of conduct that govern the interactions of group members; expectations regarding interpersonal behavior.

"I"-message: A technique for expressing one's feelings assertively, without evaluating or blaming others; "I"-messages connect a feeling statement with the specific behaviors of another person and the consequences of those feelings and behaviors.

Impasse: A point at which conflicting parties feel "stuck" and no longer able to find effective solutions; often a normal phase of the conflict resolution process.

Procedural concerns: Issues that relate to the process by which a problem is addressed; one of three sets of concerns (along with substantive and psychological concerns) in conflict.

Psychological concerns: Issues that relate to the emotional well being of group members, such as safety, trust, integrity concerns; one of three sets of concerns (along with substantive and procedural concerns) in conflict.

Referent power: The power that one accrues from earning respect from others, generally associated with integrity and competence.

From the OHRD site [here]


Jeff Thompson, Ph.D., is a professor at Lipscomb University, researcher, mediator, and trainer. He is also involved in crisis and hostage negotiation as well as a law enforcement detective. His research includes law enforcement crisis and hostage negotiation in terrorist incidents. He received his doctorate from Griffith University Law School having researched the impact nonverbal communication has in conflict situations with respect to developing rapport, building trust, and displaying professionalism.

Dr. Thompson has presented and trained on the topic of conflict, mediation, (crisis and hostage) negotiation, communication and nonverbal communication internationally for a variety of audiences including police personnel, government officials, judges, attorneys, physicians, sales people, business professionals, and both graduate and undergraduate students. He has also been published in numerous professional and academic publications.

He is the co-chair of ACR's national Crisis Negotiation Section, and he is an ad-hoc reviewer for multiple academic journals. He received his MS in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from the Werner Institute, Creighton University School of Law.

(All posts by Jeff Thompson represent his personal reflections and opinions and not that of any organization.)

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