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THIRD PARTY INTERVENTIONS IN CONSTRUCTION DISPUTE NEGOTIATION

International Construction Law Review

THIRD PARTY INTERVENTIONS IN CONSTRUCTION DISPUTE NEGOTIATION SAI ON CHEUNG KENNETH T W YIU ESTHER M Y LEUNG Construction Dispute Resolution Research Unit Department of Building and Construction City University of Hong Kong * Abstract The increasing use of a third party to facilitate dispute resolution, especially in the construction industry, has drawn the attention of both academics and practitioners in trying to understand how the process works and succeeds. The techniques used by a third party in an assisted negotiation are often termed as interventions. In dispute negotiation, an amicable settlement depends on the desire of the disputants. In this regard, it has been suggested that the success or otherwise of a negotiation is influenced by the approaches taken by the negotiators. In these contexts, this paper reports a study that seeks to explore the impacts of intervention by a third party on construction dispute negotiation. To achieve this, six forms of intervention are identified from previous studies: (a) Reflexive (b) Contextual [Trust] (c) Contextual [Agenda] (d) Substantive [Press] (e) Substantive [Face-saving] and (f) Substantive [Suggestions]. Secondly, Rahim Organizational Conflict Inventory—II (ROCI—II) was used to identify negotiation approaches of disputants. The results showed that a dominating approach is generally applied under Contextual [Agenda], Reflexive, Substantive [Face-saving] and Substantive [Press] forms of intervention. The obliging and compromising approaches are generally applied under Contextual [Trust] and Substantive [Suggestions] interventions, respectively. The common use of the dominating approach is attributed to the entrenched confrontational behaviours of the construction industry. Moreover when a third party intervenes by enabling trust building and making suggestions, a more positive response will be obtained. * The work described in this study was fully supported by a CityU Research Grant (Project No 7001597). [2005 The International Construction Law Review 504

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