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Involve important people to get outcomes lived up to

People that are important to parties can be witnesses. They can monitor the process of dispute resolution and compliance. So parties have more reasons to cooperate and live up to outcomes.

What challenges does it focus on?

People that are important to parties can be witnesses. They can monitor the process of dispute resolution and compliance. So parties have more reasons to cooperate and live up to outcomes.

Short summary

When outcomes are witnessed by important people to the parties, parties are more likely to live up to their side of the agreement. The influence of important people who witness the outcome depends on their relation to the parties and their status in the community. All of the following are used in practice by facilitators as witnesses:

  • Family members
  • Respected friends of the parties
  • Important people in the community
  • Other people who matter to the parties. Does it matter what this person thinks about the parties?
view full explanation

Witnesses can be involved to:

  • Support parties to seek a solution
  • Certify that they have seen both parties sign the agreement.
  • Sign the agreement to confirm that it is a good solution.
  • Monitor that the agreement is carried out
  • Talk to parties to support compliance
  • Report to the facilitator if the problems comes back

Research evidence

Evidence from practice

Witnesses sign the agreement: A smart practice that is reported in Egypt is to make the witnesses feel co-responsible for implementation is by letting them sign the agreement as well.

Family conferencing: In Indonesia in the KBH network each party is asked to choose one family member to facilitate the process and to witness and co-sign the agreement


Evidence from literature

People are more likely to be influenced by those they like than those they do not.

Dugan, Máire A.. "Persuasion." Beyond Intractability. Eds. Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess. Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, Boulder. Posted: October 2003 ." 

Shaming in interdependent relationships has a positive effect on dispute resolution, because rule violating behaviour is less likely to be stigmatized.

Hay, C, An explorative test of Braithwaite's reintegrative shaming theory, Journal of Rserach in Crime and Delinquency Vol. 38 No. 2, May 2001 132-153

Best practices