Power Imbalance in Alternative Dispute Resolution

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Power Imbalance in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Introduction This study intends to examine the literature on power imbalance in the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process. The Alternative Dispute Resolution process is held as not only being quicker, more economical, and fairer and to be such that involves consensual agreements and in which there is a control of power imbalances. (Cuming and Wilson, 2005, paraphrased) The work of Eliades (1999) reports that parties in mediation or negotiation are in a power balance even before the processes commence. The imbalance of power may be of various types. Power imbalance in medication is defined as "the ability to control resources or access to resources that another wants or needs. Power is a relational concept." (Eliades, 1999, p.1) Power imbalance is reported to be when the dynamics between the parties affect the discussion of solutions to the point that one or both parties are: (1) unable to speak for themselves; and (2) unable to reach a voluntary agreement. (Eliades, 1999, p.1) Power is reported to be "relative, situational" and of the nature that can shift. (Eliades, 1999, p.1) Even where one individual has power over another individual, each individual possesses some degree of power. I. Examples of Power Imbalance Stated as examples of the types of existing power imbalances are the following: (1) Belief system; (2) Personality; (3) Self-Esteem (4) Gender/Race; (5) Selfishness; (6) Force (7)
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