This Article examines the strengths and weaknesses of ODR (online dispute resolution) from a psychological perspective. It makes five main points:
(1) The phrase ODR is too broad to be useful. This phrase encompasses many different kinds of technology (computer, phone, video, mechanical pencil), many different kinds of dispute resolution (litigation, negotiation, arbitration, mediation), disputes arising in many different contexts (consumer, family, property, tax, employment, etc), and many different roles (technology as neutral, technology as aide to neutral, technology as aide to disputant, etc). In order to consider whether and when ODR can be most useful we will need to tease apart these various types of ODR.
(2) Those who design all types of ODR should pay substantial attention to the psychology underlying disputes, and be conscious that merely using ODR to foster rational exchanges of information will likely not yield ideal dispute resolution. Many empirical studies already show that human psychology is critically important to dispute resolution …
Sternlight, Jean R, Pouring a Little Psychological Cold Water on ODR (Online Dispute Resolution) (August 23, 2019). Journal of Dispute Resolution, forthcoming.