Business owners cannot afford continued contention, especially in highly competitive markets where effective communication is key.
Whilst conflict cannot be avoided, it is an acknowledged fact that litigation provokes hostility. On the other hand, mediation fosters cooperation and respect. Traditionally, the process commonly resorted to for resolving conflict and disputes is litigation, which diverts attention and resources from achieving targeted commercial goals towards a lengthy and costly litigation process.
Mediation provides a voluntary solution to this conundrum with the trend shifting away from court litigation to alternative methods of dispute resolution, including mediation, due to its clear advantages.
Mediation can be resorted to for a myriad of purposes in business, apart from the resolution of conflict, including the negotiation of complex contracts, setting up and organising business structures and ventures between two or more parties, dismantling an existing business in a non-contentious manner, and dealing with issues that constantly arise in business operations. This means that mediation can be used for both internal conflicts, such as issues that arise between shareholders or directors within the same corporate structure and external conflicts, such as divergences resulting from business contracts, service contracts or relations between different businesses.
In the mediation process, there are no winners and no losers, since it is intended to lead to an agreeable resolution of the dispute, whatever its nature, with the participants themselves retaining the power over the process. The role of the mediator in this process, being a neutral, independent and impartial third person, is not to judge and decide on the dispute but rather to even out the playing field for the participants and facilitating communication, thus enabling them to themselves reach a workable solution acceptable to all of them. In the end, the ultimate agreement reached will most likely result in enduring positive effects, which is what is required in order for the participants' commercial targets to be reached, whilst preserving solid commercial relations, without remaining entangled in unnecessary timely and costly litigation