Disagreement and alternative dispute resolution in the policy process

Authored by: Boyd Fuller

Routledge Handbook of Public Policy

Print publication date:  November  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415782456
eBook ISBN: 9780203097571
Adobe ISBN: 9781136223259


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Disagreement is a natural feature of the policy process, and negotiation is one of the common processes for resolving it. Both are facts of life in the interdependent relationships among government and non-government actors involved in and impacted by the policy process. However, the degree and kind of disagreements can have very different impacts on the efficacy and outcomes of the policy process and its negotiations. Similarly, not all negotiation behaviors and processes are equally effective and they need to be chosen strategically to suit the context and kind of disagreement. Some negotiations are organized, visible, inclusive, and are managed using carefully constructed processes. In other cases, they can be disorganized, hidden, exclusive, and ad hoc. Whatever the case, where parties seek to cooperate, the quality of their negotiations and its contribution to public value can be improved by using the best knowledge from the alternative dispute resolution literature.

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