The relationship between conflict, anticipatory procedural justice, and design with intentions to use ombudsman processes

Tyler R. Harrison, Paula Hopeck, Nathalie Desrayaud, Kristen Imboden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore the role of anticipatory procedural justice, seriousness/type of conflict, and design of ombudsman processes with intentions to use ombudsman processes to resolve disputes. Design/methodology/approach: The study was a 3 (type of conflict with three scenarios nested in each type)×3 (design of ombuds system). Subjects read scenarios and filled out Likert type survey items related to seriousness of conflict, anticipatory procedural justice, and intentions to use ombuds processes. Findings: Perceived seriousness and anticipatory procedural justice were significantly related to intention to use ombuds process, but design of ombuds process was not. Research limitations/implications: This study was limited to scenarios of academic conflict. Research should be extended to experienced conflicts and conflicts in other contexts. Practical implications: Potential users of ombuds processes are more concerned with principles of fairness and justice than the specific elements of how dispute systems are designed. While the design of a system needs to insure disputants perceive it to be fair, institutions concerned with resolving disputes between/among members should be more concerned with having a system than about promoting specific details about the design of that system. Originality/value: This study advances both the study of ombuds processes/design and anticipatory procedural justice. This study provides unique findings related to both the design of ombuds processes and the conditions under which disputants might utilize the process. Additionally, procedural justice is demonstrated to be useful in forming decisions about use of processes, not just evaluations after processes have been used.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-72
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Conflict Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Conflict
  • Design
  • Justice
  • Ombudsman
  • Procedural justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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