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For the past seven years, the authors of this paper have been conducting research on the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) (particularly in employment disputes) by major U.S. corporations (Lipsky and Seeber 1998a, 1998b, 2000). In our research we discovered that an increasing number of American corporations are moving beyond ADR to the adoption of so-called "integrated conflict management systems" (Lipsky and Seeber 1998a; Gosline 2001). Although considerable research on the operation of various ADR procedures exists, very little has been done on the formation of conflict management strategies, including the use of conflict management systems (Ury et al. 1988; Costantino and Merchant 1996; Stitt 1998; Colvin 1999). In this paper we examine: a) the concept of an integrated conflict management system, b) the conflict management strategies used by American corporations, and finally c) the factors that account for the evolution of corporate conflict management strategies from traditional approaches (including heavy dependence on litigation) to the widespread adoption of various ADR techniques and finally on to the adoption of full-blown conflict management systems by a vanguard of U.S. organizations. In our discussion we draw heavily on interviews we conducted with top managers and corporate lawyers in more than fifty corporations across the United States.


Suggested Citation
Lipsky, D. B., Seeber, R. L. (2004). Dispute resolution in the changing workplace [Electronic version]. Proceedings of the fifty-sixth annual meeting of the Labor and Employment Relations Association, 30-40.

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© Labor and Employment Relations Association. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.