MACRO Study: Maryland Businesses Turning to DR

"This study is our first major attempt to assess the Maryland business community's perspectives on the universe of available conflict management approaches," said Bob Fleishman, Chair of MACRO's Business ADR Initiative. "Our team worked very hard in recent years to get the word out in the business community that effective conflict management saves time and money and preserves relationships."

Based on extensive survey research and analysis, the study's main recommendations emphasize the importance of:

  • Getting senior-level management and general counsel support for ADR programs;
  • Taking time to examine recurring disputes and their frequency;
  • Designing dispute resolution processes that can be applicable in multiple areas (e.g., procurement, employee relations) and at various levels throughout a business (e.g., senior management, supervisors, "rank and file" employees);
  • Creating an oversight body to support the visibility and credibility of the conflict resolution program; and
  • Getting employees at all levels to recognize when mediation or other dispute resolution methods are appropriate and to know how to access the corresponding tools and systems appropriately.

"Never before has anyone taken such an in-depth look at conflict management approaches within Maryland's business community," said Kathleen T. Snyder, President and CEO of the Maryland Chamber. "This study offers an opportunity for dialogue about best practices in business dispute resolution, while setting a benchmark by which we can review future progress in this area."

The comprehensive study builds on a 1997 Cornell University survey of more than 530 U.S. corporations in the Fortune 1000 category, which found 90 percent of the survey respondents reporting that they viewed mediation as a cost-saving measure. The same study indicated that corporations with comprehensive, collaborative conflict management systems report significant litigation cost savings. More recently, the American Arbitration Association published a study titled "Dispute-Wise Management: Improving Economic and Non-Economic Outcomes in Managing Business Conflicts." That study confirms that major corporations use ADR extensively, with the most "dispute-wise" companies taking a systemic approach to conflict management.

For more information or to obtain a copy of the study, visit MACRO's website, or contact them at 410-841-2260.