The Maryland Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office (MACRO), the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the State of California have provided grants and contracts to conduct applied research by evaluating and assessing court based and workplace alternative dispute resolution programs and processes.
Our current research agenda includes an in depth study of the evolution and development of alternative dispute resolution programs throughout the Maryland court system. Included in this study is a path analysis of the various processes participants’ may choose to use within the court system to settle or resolve their cases. The major focus of the study is on the internal dynamics of various ADR processes. A secondary emphasis of the study will be to why parties and courts often go to specific mediators for high profile, complex or controversial cases.
Under a Hewlett grant, the Center for Conflict Resolution is sponsoring research by Dr. Lorig Charkoudian that examines the situational conduct of mediators in live mediation sessions.
The Center is also conducting research with Dr. Lorig Charkoudian and Dr. Cristian DeRitis on mediators’ perceptions of the process. Using (inductive) cluster analysis we are examining mediators’ responses to what they think and do in the mediation process.
The Center is currently conducting a major needs assessment of local clergy using focus groups (n=40) and survey research (n=+50). The focus is to understand the sources of conflict, how clergy respond to them as well as to assess how well prepared they are prepared to do so. Some of the types of conflict or challenges clergy report that they face on the job includes conflicts with: lay leaders, the congregation, other clergy, people within a denominational hierarchy. They experience conflict over issues such as: clergy roles and responsibilities, finances, liturgy, outreach programs, endowments, worship styles, major national issues that play out in factionalism within the local church, using the pulpit for political reasons, intergenerational conflict, issues surrounding a growing or shrinking congregation, the type of church certain factions want to maintain or change into (family, program, mission, corporate) and many more critical issues.