The research on employment dispute resolution has moved through three successive generations, and we believe a fourth generation is now emerging. The emergence of a new generation of research does not necessarily mean that the work associated with a preceding generation has been finished. On the contrary, in common with life in general, the work of one generation usually continues throughout successive generations.
We believe that this generational analysis of the evolution of ADR research is helpful in highlighting the avenues explored and those left uncharted. Each generation founded its research on a number of core assumptions about the nature of the phenomenon at hand. Thus, for example, the three generations differ with regard to their assumptions about the forces that influenced the rise of ADR. This variance has led the researchers of each generation to examine different aspects of ADR. One of the challenges facing the next generation of ADR researchers is the integration of these independent insights provided by their predecessors.