Bias Measurement Scale for Repeated Dispute Evaluations

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Original languageEnglish
Article number04018016
Journal / PublicationJournal of Management in Engineering
Issue number4
Online published13 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


The multitiered dispute resolution (MTDR) process incorporating alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has become the mainstream contractual construction dispute resolution provision. A dispute is likely to be considered and argued in every tier of the process unless a settlement is reached. Repeated evaluations may invite bias that can be a barrier against rational decisions. Detecting the presence of bias is the first step for bias minimization. For this reason, this study aims to raise the awareness of bias in construction dispute resolution. A time-consistent bias measurement scale (the scale hereafter) is thus developed. The scale can be used to detect the presence of bias on disputing parties. Its development also informs the potential bias sources and their respective relative strength. To achieve this, a longitudinal approach was used. Two rounds of data collection were performed. Time consistency of measurement statements in the scale was supported by results of a paired t-test. The same four-factor bias structure was obtained for both rounds of responses at a 3-month interval. The measurement statements of the scale passed the reliability test. The bias structure was further validated to be factorial invariant across time using multigroup confirmatory factor analysis (MCFA). With the bias structure, biases possible in repeated dispute evaluations were categorized by the scale as preconception, self-affirmation, optimism, and interest-oriented. The scale is valuable for both disputing parties and third-party neutrals as a self-evaluation instrument. Disputing parties could use the scale to evaluate their propensity to bias. Third-party neutrals would use the scale to gauge disputing parties' biased behaviors, steering them back to rational courses. Based on the development of the scale, suggestions for bias minimization and implications on the design of dispute resolution mechanism have been explored.

Research Area(s)

  • Bias, Engineering management, Multitiered dispute resolution (MTDR) process, Time-consistent bias measurement scale