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The Keys To Conflict Resolution: Proven Methods Of Resolving Disputes Voluntarily (Book Review)

Mr. Kheel’s book is a truly refreshing book on Alternative Dispute Resolution. The book is filled with highly instructive advice on how to improve the manner in which the ADR practitioner does his job. And in addition, the author backs up his advice with some extremely high profile examples of just how and when certain techniques should be utilized. Mr. Kheel is first and foremost, a Labor & Employment specialist. For the last 40 years, he has been at the forefront of some of the most major labor dispute resolutions in the New York Metropolitan area, and others around the nation and the globe.

One of the many intriguing facets of Mr. Kheel’s book is his perspective on ADR. In contrast to so many books about mediation written by mediators, Mr. Kheel is a mediator, a negotiator and an arbitrator. As such, he addresses all three types of ADR in his book. He is precise in the manner in which he differentiates the three ADR techniques and is specific about the times when one technique has a higher probability of success than another form of ADR. Bringing his extensive background to his book, allows him to give the reader true life illustrations of just how certain techniques, skills and styles can affect the outcome of the ADR process.

The book is primarily a three-part book, with one section devoted to negotiation, one to mediation and one to arbitration. In his own way, Mr. Kheel rivals the negotiating techniques and concepts presented in such works as “Getting To Yes”, but instead of using a conceptual and theoretical framework for his explanations, the author instead uses actual dispute resolution experiences, most of which were his own personal experiences. In the negotiation section, topics such as structure of negotiations, dynamics of negotiations and negotiating techniques and styles are discussed.

In the section on mediation, the process and structure of that ADR method is described. The differences between mediation and negotiation are elucidated. The role of the mediator and his precise job functions are all covered concisely and yet insightfully by Mr. Kheel. The book defines five principal roles of the mediator, these being as follows: 1) Housekeeper of the proceedings, 2) Ringmaster of the negotiations, 3) Educator of the negotiators, 4) Communicator between the disputants and 5) Innovator of creative approaches. For each role, the author describes its meaning and function.

In his third section, Arbitration is discussed. Arbitration is distinguished by the fact that the arbitrator renders a decision. This decision can be binding or non-binding, depending on the agreed upon terms of the arbitration. But of all the common ADR techniques, arbitration is one of the few, where the neutral makes a decision, usually called an “award” as a result of his analysis of the case as presented by the disputants. Once again, Mr. Kheel presents examples and illustrations of arbitration and why and how it has worked in the past.

The book finishes with three short chapters on legal issues and how they affect the practice of ADR in the real world. These legal issues are of intense interest to any negotiator, mediator or arbitrator. The Wagner Act, Taylor Law and Anti-Trust regulations are discussed. While the book is a truly valuable reference and tutorial for ADR practitioners in the Labor & Employment field, it holds valuable information and skill enhancement advice for all types of ADR professionals. Truly, Mr. Kheel lives up to his reputation as the “Master Locksmith of deadlock bargaining.”


Jon Linden

Jon Linden is a Mediator, Trainer and Business Consultant. He holds an BS in biology and an MBA, both from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. Jon spent 20 years in the Food Service Distribution business, where he was the COO and Sr. V-P of a Distribution Center of a major… MORE >

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