What is Business Mediation?

N. Madison

Business mediation is a non-combative type of conflict resolution. Sometimes disputes arise among co-workers, business associates, partners, and even between the owners of two different companies. When this occurs, it may be difficult for the people involved to continue to work or do business together. Business mediation is a method of conflict resolution that seeks to preserve these relationships through a cooperative process of resolution. Instead of pitting the parties against each other, as courtroom litigation can, business mediation works to make the parties partners in finding a solution.

Many business suits can be settled outside of the courtroom, although some may require court appearances.
Many business suits can be settled outside of the courtroom, although some may require court appearances.

When people are involved in some type of conflict, they tend to approach the problem from different sides and different points of view. Usually, one party feels he is right while the other party feels just as strongly that he is wrong. Such disputes often progress, becoming even more problematic, as neither party is willing to give in or listen to the other side. Often, parties in a dispute may not truly understand the other side's point of view or may have misconceptions about what went wrong. These issues can make it difficult, if not impossible, to come to a reasonable solution without help.

Business mediation seeks to resolve disputes through cooperation.
Business mediation seeks to resolve disputes through cooperation.

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Those involved in a business dispute may turn to court litigation or other adversarial means for solving conflicts. Often, courtroom litigation is expensive and may not leave either party fully satisfied. Additionally, it may leave the parties with unpleasant feelings toward each other or even acting as enemies. If there is a chance that the parties may continue working or doing business together, courtroom litigation can destroy it. To avoid this, many businesses use business mediation instead.

Business mediation involves having a third-party help create an agreed-upon solution. Instead of a judge deciding the outcome of a conflict, the parties meet, and with the guidance of a mediator, create an agreement that solves the problem. The parties involved in this type of mediation may feel more satisfied with the outcome of the solution because the mediation process is not focused on placing blame. Instead, it’s focused on cooperative effort.

Sometimes business mediation is used to create agreements in the absence of conflict. For example, people may use it during the negotiation of agreements related to new business partnerships. It may prove helpful for making changes to existing agreements as well.

A business mediator is usually trained to handle the types of conflicts that frequently occur in business situations. These individuals do not take sides or pass judgment on either party. Instead, their job is to help the parties involved air their points of view, feel that they’ve been heard, and move on toward a solution. Business mediators do not force those involved to agree. They work to encourage and facilitate productive communication and problem solving.

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