Before any dispute resolution process is designed or implemented, there should be a planning process to avoid surprises and pitfalls and minimize the risk of failure. Without advanced planning, there is no direction to go towards, no priorities to focus limited resources on, and no sense of progress and achievement. On the other hand, one cannot predict or prepare for every single possibility; as soon as implementation begins, one will need to adjust, adapt, course correct, and change in response to new findings or unforeseen situations, especially in deal- ing with such dynamic systems as human beings—who can perceive, think, and react in numerous ways, creating new possibilities at every turn, rendering previously designed plans ineffective.
This article explores the characteristics of complex systems and suggests a new framework for designing dispute resolution processes. It takes into account the dynamic and complex nature of human systems and the ever-changing quality of dispute systems.
Our Tendency Toward Stepwise Models
Regardless of the framework or model utilized, designing dispute resolution processes starts with the designer making sense of the conflict, grasping the dynamics of the behaviour among all participants, comprehending the context and situation in which the conflict has occurred, gaining an understanding of the de- sired objectives, and forming a foundation upon which the system is to be built.