Cornell University

Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution

456 ILR Research Building, 607-255-9298

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Evaluation of the Internal Dispute Resolution System

In the fall of 2004, Rocco Scanza and David Lipsky received a contract to evaluate the internal dispute resolution system at the EEOC.  This system, called RESOLVE, was launched in July 2003.  Essentially, the RESOLVE program allows EEOC staff members and employees to submit their disputes to mediation rather than pursue more traditional remedies through the collective bargaining grievance procedure, equal employment opportunity procedures within the agency, or other administrative processes. 

They were joined in conducting this project by Ariel Avgar, then a Ph.D. candidate in the ILR School.  They constructed four survey instruments (for the complainants, the respondents, and mediators in each of the cases, and for a sample of EEOC employees who were offered the opportunity to have their disputes mediated but elected one of the more traditional methods).  These survey instruments were distributed to all participants in all cases dating from October 1, 2004 through October 30, 2005. 

Their analysis of the survey data focused on several questions, including the following: 

  • Has the RESOLVE program been effective? 
  • That is, has the program achieved its objectives? 
  • Have the participants been satisfied with the program? 
  • What factors account for some EEOC employees electing to use RESOLVE while others elected not to? 
  • What techniques did mediators use in an attempt to achieve settlements? 
  • Which techniques were effective and which were not? 

The final report, The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Internal Dispute Resolution Program:  An Evaluation of RESOLVE, by Lipsky, Scanza, and Avgar, was submitted to the EEOC on May 24, 2006.  The authors are developing an article based on this report for submission to a scholarly journal.