In contrast to mediation, in which parties work with the mediator to arrive at a solution,

in arbitration the parties submit the dispute to the third-party arbitrator. It is the arbitrator who

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makes the final decision. The arbitrator is a neutral third party, but the decision made by the

arbitrator is final (the decision is called the “award”). Awards are made in writing and are binding to

the parties involved in the case. [26] Arbitration is often used in union-management grievance




It is common to see mediation followed by arbitration. An alternative technique is to follow the arbitration

with mediation. The format of this conflict resolution approach is to have both sides formally make their

cases before an arbitrator. The arbitrator then makes a decision and places it in a sealed envelope.

Following this, the two parties work through mediation. If they are unable to reach an agreement on their

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own, the arbitration decisions become binding. Researchers using this technique found that it led to

voluntary agreements between the two parties 71 percent of the time versus 50 percent for mediation

followed by arbitration.


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