Beyond Fairness: The Criterion Problem in Research on Dispute Intervention1


  • 1

    Two of the studies reported in this paper were conducted in partial fulfillment of a Master of Arts degree in Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This research was supported in part by SSHRCC and FCAC Doctoral Fellowship to the first author. The authors wish to thank Martha Putallaz, E. Allan Lind, and Roy Lewicki for comments on an earlier draft of this paper.

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Recent research has demonstrated that parties to a dispute attend to, and make evaluations of, the procedures that are used to resolve disputes. A central focus of this research has been on procedural and distributive fairness. Two studies were conducted in an attempt to identify criteria used by parties to organizational disputes to choose and evaluate dispute resolution procedures. Sixteen criteria were identified, including fairness. In a third study, these criteria were also found to be relevant to police officers involved in crisis intervention. Discussion focuses on the implication of these findings for theories of dispute resolution, for general issues in the psychology of fairness, and for practical concerns.