Online dispute resolution (ODR) has achieved tremendous success in e-commerce. Few of us have not settled some sort of dispute through business internet customer service sites: telephone bills, credit card charges, retail returns, etc.
The advantages for ODR are significant. The process is cost effective, fast, recordable, and easy to access. There are some excellent online resolution firms, such as Modria.com who have brought sophistication to the field. Modria has made inroads to volatile issues such as property and contract disputes. The advantage for parties that have location issues (including time zones) is powerful.
However, emotional issues that make up the basis of most employee conflicts rarely translate well on line. For example, my complaint that my supervisor won’t listen to me might be answered by a text reply that I “did not go through the proper channels to register a complaint”. In my eyes this is the brick wall. Banter is sometimes lacking in ODR – and for workplace conflict, discussion that is flowing and augmented by physical cues is essential. Immediate interpretation of intent is essential.
ODR does have a growing place in negotiation where elements are finite and negotiable. From vacation days to employment contract settlements, ODR has the added bonus of automatically recording the process. For employee conflict issues that have an emotional element – person to person is by far the best choice. For more information on online dispute resolution, visit the Noam Ebner page on ADR Hub at http://www.adrhub.com/profile/NoamEbner. It’s a great read.