This article identifies three ways in which alternative dispute resolution (ADR) innovations are adopted by organizations in Ireland: improvisation, incrementalism and strategy, and examines how external and internal influences shape different patterns of ADR innovation. The article contributes to the literature in three ways. First, it highlights the limitations of typologies of innovation based on simple dichotomies, such as reactive/proactive and of prevailing understandings of how ADR may interact with strategy. Second, the article develops an integrated framework for the analysis of influences on patterns of innovation that distinguishes between the features of markets and commercial strategies, organizations, stakeholders and champions and institutions, laws and public policies. Third, the article questions the central premise underlying the literature that a strategic approach to ADR equates with the adoption of conflict management systems.