Mediation, Conciliation and Arbitration in Conflict Management

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a. Introduction
b. Definitions of conflict
c. Conflict management
d. Negotiation, Mediation, Conciliation and Arbitration as in Conflict Management e. Recommendation
f. Summary/Conclusion

Conflict is a natural phenomenon in every human societal living. It exits whenever people or groups disagree over which goals or values to pursue and the method and timing to be adopted in that regard. Since conflict is inevitable, it must be properly managed to mitigate its effects on human society

From a Latin word ‘pugna’ means ‘to clash or engaged in a fight’. It means a confrontation between one or more parties aspiring towards incompatible or competitive means or ends[1]. Conflict is said to be present when two or more individuals or groups pursue mutually incompatible goals. It is an inevitable aspect of human interaction (Renwick et al, 1982)[2].

Conflict management

It is an interventionist effort towards prevention the escalation and negative effects of ongoing violent conflicts. It also involves the efforts to prevent, limit, contain, or resolve conflicts, while building up the capacities of all parties involved in other to undertake peacebuilding. It is based on the concept that conflicts are a normal part of human interaction and are rarely completely resolved or eliminated, but they can be managed by such measures as negotiation, mediation, conciliation, and arbitration. (de Rivera 2009:220)[3] is of the view that conflict management through negotiation and mediation, can help promote conflict prevention.

Negotiation, mediation, conciliation and arbitration are Alternative Dispute Resolutions (ADR) - In general, ADR refers to an approach to the resolution of conflicts that does not involve litigation and seeks an outcome at least minimally satisfactory to all parties concerned. ADR tends to involve greater direct negotiation on the part of disputants than does litigation, takes much less time and money, and seeks consensus. Many analysts no longer include the word “alternative.” Others use the term “appropriate dispute resolution[4].”


It is the process of communication and bargaining between parties seeking to arrive at a mutually acceptable outcome on issues which are of shared concern. The process typically involves compromise and concessions and is designed to result in an agreement, although sometimes a party participates in negotiations for other reasons (to score propaganda points or to appease domestic political forces, for example). Pre-negotiation refers to preliminary talks to agree on such issues as the format, procedures, time frame, who will participate, and sometimes the scope of the formal talks. Endgame refers to the final stages of a negotiation, when substantive progress has been made but important details remain to be ironed out and the agreement hammered into final form[5]. Usually, two parties negotiate because they feel that they can gain something by interacting. Negotiation theorists use the term interdependence to describe this desire or need that parties feel to engage with each other. Whether the two parties achieve their objectives often depends on how they perceive one another, to what extent they can predict each other’s actions, or how much influence they can exert over one another (Griffoli el et, 2004:23)[6]

Case Study on Negotiation-South Africa

Negotiation played an important role in the collapse of apartheid as a system of government in South Africa.

In 1964, Nelson Mandela the leader of the African Nationalist Congress (ANC) was arrested and imprisoned for life due to his zeal to fight apartheid. The fight against apartheid did not end with the imprisonment of Mandela. In 1976 a group of students demonstrating against a reform in educational system were shot and...
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