Date of Award

Summer 1996

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Management

Committee Director

Wolfgang Pindur

Committee Member

Berhanu Mengistu

Committee Member

Barbara L. Hulburt

Committee Member

J. Taylor Sims


This study is a comparative analysis of the structure, organization and activities of the nine non-profit (501 (c)(3)) mediation centers for the resolution of dispute (CDRC) in Virginia. Data for the analysis was collected through on-site interviews, in-depth case studies, and discussions with the leadership of the centers.

The CDRCs suffer from funding shortfalls which pressure them to shift their attention away from their mission. They are dependent upon the state's court contracts for mediation services in order to financially supplement their pro bono mediations and to generate operating capital. The large-budget CDRCs provide a considerable number of pro bono mediations and have been forced to turn their time and attention to providing training to generate adequate operating income. Small budget CDRCs are in jeopardy due to their relatively high overhead and limited opportunities to supplement their income with paying mediations or training.

The CDRCs are faced with both short- and long-range planning decisions which will determine their ability to carry out their mission and survival. Without a dramatic shift away from the social welfare mentality and societal transformation orientation to a strategy of marketing services that are income generating, the future of the CDRCs in Virginia is questionable. Recommendations relating to training, mediator qualifications, standards of certification are made.