Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)


Public Policy and Administration

Committee Chairperson

Michelle Wade, PhD, Associate Professor, West Chester University

Committee Member

Jeremy Phillips, PhD, Associate Professor, West Chester University

Committee Member

Anthony Molina, PhD, Associate Professor, Kent State University


Between the 1960s and the 1990s, dozens of programs and organizations arose throughout the United States designed to bring peaceful resolutions to emerging community disputes, following in the conceptual footsteps of the federal Community Relations Service. Many of these community dispute resolution programs have encountered calls for reduced funding in recent years, as economic hardships force public administrators to parcel out limited public monies to those services that can demonstrate the most benefit. This study is a content analysis that examines the public-facing web content of 20 representative community dispute resolution programs in the United States. The researcher found that the most commonly mentioned goals within the analyzed content included elements of saving costs or maintaining peace, with only six of the 20 agencies referencing goals related to justice or equity. Of the 163 total data points touching on program outputs, 32.5% dealt with the number of cases managed, 23.3% dealt with case resolution rate, and 23.9% dealt with the number of trainings completed. Only six total data points involved discussions of outcomes, and only one of these was tied to a major category of goals. Based on the findings from the sample, the researcher concludes that many community dispute resolution programs are not currently designed or implemented in such a way as to be evaluated easily. Additional forethought and planning could help programs better assess the effectiveness of their services and steer practitioners toward approaches with the most potential for serving the public interest.