Ombuds processes and disputant reconciliation

Tyler R. Harrison, Calvin Morrill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Effective dispute resolution systems are critical to the functioning of large universities and organizations. However, the design of dispute resolution systems is often inadequate to achieving the stated goals of the system. Analysis of the cases of 45 disputants reveals how the design of a university dispute system and the social context can prevent an ombudsperson from successfully reconciling relationships. This study shows how a dispute system that generally failed to utilize face-to-face meetings or mediation techniques between disputants in a social context of fear and limited social ties was unable to reconcile or preserve working relationships. Analysis from normative pragmatic and social contextual approaches to disputing provides a mechanism for understanding the problems encountered by this ombudsperson and provides a tool for designing more effective dispute resolution systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-342
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Applied Communication Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Dispute Resolution
  • Normative Pragmatics
  • Ombuds
  • Ombudsman
  • Reconciliation
  • Social Context

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics


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