Communication Theory & ODR: An Introduction and Orientation

Communication Theory & ODR: An Introduction and Orientation

Moderated by Bill Warters

This free learning module introduces Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) and provides some history of the field via an interactive timeline. Viewers can then dive into some useful general communication theory presented in a graphic novel format. This is followed by a review of some more specific theories that explore the potential impact of Computer Mediated Communication (as compared to face-to-face communication), both negative and positive, in Online Dispute Resolution contexts. Finally, readers are invited to explore some additional resources should they wish to dig deeper into the field. The module, developed by Bill Warters, drawing on the work of others in the field, is provided under a creative commons license permitting reuse with attribution.

The link to the module is:
http://campus-adr.net/ODRModule/index.html

 

Moderator Bio:

Bill Warters, Ph.D., is a faculty member at Wayne State University’s Department of Communication where he teaches courses on social conflict, mediation, and communication technologies and conflict among others. He is webmaster of CREducation.org, a site supporting conflict resolution in educational settings and developer of a new iPad app for conflict resolution educators.

 

 

 

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I'd love to hear your thoughts after viewing the free learning module.

Note: I'm happy to see that Jelle van Veenen, whose work is featured in this learning module, has joined the conversations here at Cyberweek 2012 all the way from The Netherlands. I just love the international conversations that this event enables!

Thanks Bill! It's great to be a part of cyberweek. I also would love to hear what people think of the learning module.

In my opinion, this was very nicely done. Everything was very straight forward and facilitated the quick and easy absorption of this material. I especially like the use of the graphic novel method. Its not every day that you can read a something that isnt usually associated with learning and apply it for that purpose. I also enjoyed the timeline of the evolution of ORD. Its nice to be able to put things in perspective when learning something new. Its hard to know where we are going if we dont see where we have come from. 

As a soon to be lawyer, i like the idea of ODR. times are changing and electronics and technology are becoming a mainstay in todays lifestyle, and there are only getting more prevalent. It is my opinion that its only a matter of time before our legal system is run completely by technology and in-person meetings (trials etc.) are no longer necessary. I believe that this concept would be a close offshoot of the ODR concept. As for ODR itself. I really see it becoming more and more popular in the coming years. People are about the here and now, and we are all about instant gratification. If its possible to just sign on an ODR application and take care of a matter in days instead of months, i see it becoming very popular. Additionally, ADR via ODR will help keep our court system from geting bogged down with simple cases that can easily be settled. I think ODR has a strong future. 

A fact in one of the modules surprised me: Since the internet boom of the 1990s, ODR use has actually declined. In your opinion, what is the fate of ODR use in the short term (next decade), and long term? 

Hi Jon. I think the decline was more about the realization after the dot.com boom and bust that there wasn't going to be a huge number of cases submitted via ODR platforms, so folks who hoped to make a large scale business out of it got out of the game. Now, the shift is toward individual mediators offering their own services online, so more of a "mom and pop shop" approach may become common, with a smaller number of big providers like Modria or Mediate.com offering to host the platform that is used by the smaller practitioner. I'm interested in other folks interpretations of this as well. 

Jon H. Midler said:

A fact in one of the modules surprised me: Since the internet boom of the 1990s, ODR use has actually declined. In your opinion, what is the fate of ODR use in the short term (next decade), and long term? 

Brandon,

Thanks so much for the positive review of the module. You made my morning! 

Brandon Prenger said:

In my opinion, this was very nicely done. Everything was very straight forward and facilitated the quick and easy absorption of this material. I especially like the use of the graphic novel method. Its not every day that you can read a something that isnt usually associated with learning and apply it for that purpose. I also enjoyed the timeline of the evolution of ORD. Its nice to be able to put things in perspective when learning something new. Its hard to know where we are going if we dont see where we have come from. 

Hi Jon,

I think that you touch upon an important issue here. ODR has been a promise for some years now, and it seems to me that the switch from promise to successful product has not yet been made. Even at this event, suppliers of ODR tools outnumber potential customers. Why is this? Is it because of the aversion to innovation of legal professionals? Is it because of the lack of knowledge about ODR of the general public? Or have we failed to develop the killer application for ODR, and the business model that can make it work?

I do believe in the potential of online support for complex decision processes, such as dispute resolution. But the lack of success of such tools at this time intrigues me.

Jelle

Jon H. Midler said:

A fact in one of the modules surprised me: Since the internet boom of the 1990s, ODR use has actually declined. In your opinion, what is the fate of ODR use in the short term (next decade), and long term? 

As to the question about ODR not taking off, I might suggest looking at how the field has developed from a different angle.  At eBay, we built ODR systems that grew to resolve 60m disputes per year.  It's true SquareTrade did a couple million disputes between 2000-2005, but once that volume was brought internal to eBay, it really expanded by a factor of 10.  

I think the model of third party ODR companies has not yet gotten great traction (though we're working on that) but we have seen a steady growth in volume and diversity in ODR for the last decade. Amazon and TaoBao now have similar resolution processes, though they don't refer to them specifically as ODR.

The new regulations from BC and the EU, and the working group within the UN, also show that ODR has come a long way.  We're not there yet, but we're getting there.

rah

Bill, this is incredible.  I love it.  Especially the timeline.  Kudos for putting this together -- a great contribution to the field!   I'm going to use it in my ODR classes moving forward...

rah

Bill Warters said:

I'd love to hear your thoughts after viewing the free learning module.

Hello Colin, Thank you for this point of view. I certainly support your point that ODR is growing. However, the pace is steady rather than explosive. I recently attended an event about eHealth, and this field is clearly a few steps ahead of the legal field: medical service suppliers all want to get involved in online services, many companies pop up that develop technologies, and the government actively facilitates innovation. Applications have evolved to a point where it is self-evident that they can improve the quality of medical services, and at the same time reduce the costs. And patients as well as professionals like to use these applications (with the usual exceptions, of course).

Your eBay example shows that ODR can certainly be successful. But it is also an example where the demand for dispute resolution was clear, and the choice for online was an easy one.

In the medical domain there is a market for online tools since suppliers of care can see why they need them. What do we need to convince suppliers of legal services that they need online tools? How can we further develop a market for ODR?

Jelle



Colin Rule said:

As to the question about ODR not taking off, I might suggest looking at how the field has developed from a different angle.  At eBay, we built ODR systems that grew to resolve 60m disputes per year.  It's true SquareTrade did a couple million disputes between 2000-2005, but once that volume was brought internal to eBay, it really expanded by a factor of 10.  

I think the model of third party ODR companies has not yet gotten great traction (though we're working on that) but we have seen a steady growth in volume and diversity in ODR for the last decade. Amazon and TaoBao now have similar resolution processes, though they don't refer to them specifically as ODR.

The new regulations from BC and the EU, and the working group within the UN, also show that ODR has come a long way.  We're not there yet, but we're getting there.

rah

Colin,


Great comment. I think the Ebay system is great, as disputes are handled very quickly for the most part. There are the few that take some time, but that is dispute resolution in general. In my organization I have worked with my tech department on devolpoing a system similar to Ebay where customers can make a claim against material that was sold to them, with in minutes they are contacted by a member in quality and the claim is reviewed. There is a breakdown of what they need to have available along with a Fed Ex number to send the material needed to our company. While this has done great things to streamline our process with dealing with customer rejections in the steel industry and your work has done great things to streamline a company such as Ebay. Why are more companies not getting on board? I have seen companies such as Sprint make the move, but other big name companies seem relunctant to move to an online dispute center.

What is your suggestion for newbies in the field of ODR to help push awareness toward ODR platforms? Also while you believe we are getting there and others believe we are stalled, what do you think it will take to push us over the hump?
 
Colin Rule said:

As to the question about ODR not taking off, I might suggest looking at how the field has developed from a different angle.  At eBay, we built ODR systems that grew to resolve 60m disputes per year.  It's true SquareTrade did a couple million disputes between 2000-2005, but once that volume was brought internal to eBay, it really expanded by a factor of 10.  

I think the model of third party ODR companies has not yet gotten great traction (though we're working on that) but we have seen a steady growth in volume and diversity in ODR for the last decade. Amazon and TaoBao now have similar resolution processes, though they don't refer to them specifically as ODR.

The new regulations from BC and the EU, and the working group within the UN, also show that ODR has come a long way.  We're not there yet, but we're getting there.

rah

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