Democracy and Dispute Resolution: Systems Design and the New Workplace

59 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2006

See all articles by Richard C. Reuben

Richard C. Reuben

University of Missouri School of Law


There has been growing discussion in law reviews and business journals about the so-called new workplace, which is distinguished from the old, in part, by greater employee mobility and job flexibility. This article extends that discussion by exploring the implications of the new workplace for the design of dispute resolution systems. In particular, it argues that the structure and values of the new workplace correspond to the essential values of democratic governance, and that dispute resolution should be integrated into the new workplace in a way that enhances rather than diminishes these core democratic values.

As I have articulated in earlier work, these values specifically include personal autonomy, as well as certain political values (participation, accountability, transparency and rationality), legal values (equality and due process), and social capital values (trust in government, social connection and reciprocity). The article further discusses how mediation and arbitration can be integrated into the new workplace in ways that enhances their democratic character, as defined by these dimensions. Finally, it draws upon the organizational behavior and related literatures to provide empirical support for the proposition that more democratic programs can facilitate such traditional management objectives as recruitment and retention, enhanced employee performance, and compliance with corporate rules, policies, and goals.

Suggested Citation

Reuben, Richard, Democracy and Dispute Resolution: Systems Design and the New Workplace. Harvard Negotiation Law Review, Vol. 10, p. 11, 2005, U of Missouri Columbia School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2006-19, Available at SSRN:

Richard Reuben (Contact Author)

University of Missouri School of Law ( email )

Missouri Avenue & Conley Avenue
Columbia, MO MO 65211
United States

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