Contract Disputes: Using Survey Data to Reach a Fair, Comprehensive and Sensible Solution

15 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2012 Last revised: 15 Jul 2012

See all articles by Palmer Morrel-Samuels

Palmer Morrel-Samuels

Employee Motivation and Performance Assessment; University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - School of Public Health

Date Written: July 9, 2012

Abstract

Survey data are frequently pressed into service during contract disputes. And the results are often unsatisfying for plaintiffs, defendants, and decision-makers in court alike. Nevertheless, there is a clear and straightforward path to resolution that relies on several well-established concepts from assessment design and research methodology: Survey Reliability (which in psychometric work refers to replicability rather than accuracy), Construct Validity (which requires a connection to proven concepts in peer-reviewed research), Predictive Criterion Validity (i.e., the ability to predict objective outcomes that arguably reflect a critical abstract of the quality being evaluated), and Business Utility (the ability to show that survey scores have an irrefutable and statistically significant connection to coherent financial outcomes.) By evaluating survey data on these four dimensions it is possible to avoid the pitfalls that are often entailed when survey data are carelessly (and I would argue inappropriately) used as evidence in contract disputes. Two recent court cases will be offered as examples -- one from a $60million contract dispute where a survey was used to partial out a number of confounding variables from 2 years of manufacturing data, and one from a complex contract dispute that was settled by the International Court of Arbitration meeting in The Hague.

Keywords: survey, questionnaire, attitude, statistical analysis, perception

Suggested Citation

Morrel-Samuels, Palmer and Morrel-Samuels, Palmer, Contract Disputes: Using Survey Data to Reach a Fair, Comprehensive and Sensible Solution (July 9, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2102856 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2102856

Palmer Morrel-Samuels (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - School of Public Health ( email )

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Employee Motivation and Performance Assessment ( email )

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United States
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