The evolution of conflict management policies in US corporations: From reactive to strategic

David B. Lipsky, Ariel Chanan Avgar, J. Ryan Lamare

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Over the last four decades, the policies and practices used in the US to resolve workplace conflict have undergone a historic transformation. Beginning in the 1970s, a growing number of non-union employers, responding to a series of workplace statutes that had been passed by the US Congress, began to use alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to resolve disputes with their employees. At first, employers principally used arbitration and mediation on an ad hoc basis to handle their employees’ statutory complaints. Over time, however, the case-by-case use of ADR evolved into the institutionalization of ADR policies by employers, especially in large US corporations. Employer-promulgated ADR policies began to be used to handle not only statutory complaints but also an expanding range of non-statutory workplace issues as well. Although arbitration and mediation have continued to be the principal techniques used by US employers to manage workplace conflict, the portfolio of ADR techniques available to employers expanded to include, for example, fact finding, peer review, conflict coaching, facilitation, early neutral evaluation, and other innovative methods. As the so-called ‘ADR revolution’ took root in American employment relations, an increasing number of employers used ADR not merely as a response to the threat of litigation and unionization but also as a proactive strategy designed to help achieve the organization’s larger goals. The use of ADR evolved from a reaction to the legal environment to a strategy for managing workplace conflict.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationReframing Resolution
Subtitle of host publicationInnovation and Change in the Management of Workplace Conflict
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781137515605
ISBN (Print)9781137515599
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • General Business, Management and Accounting


Dive into the research topics of 'The evolution of conflict management policies in US corporations: From reactive to strategic'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this