How Can Mediation be Helpful?

Business Leader Post, May 23, 2012

Thomas D. Davidow, Ed.D.

Just by itself, the concept of mediation can have a positive impact on a seemingly intractable conflict because the two parties have decided to solve their disputes in a more civilized and less costly way. I do not mean to suggest that litigation is uncivilized, but I do believe that litigation is more about emotion than about the law. If no one else helps to solve the problem, the courts play the ultimate authority.

For example, litigation can occur in family owned businesses when the historical authority responsible for resolving inter family disputes is no longer available or has passed away. Mediation has a different connation from litigation by suggesting that the parties are willing to take responsibility for the outcome. By definition, they have to take ownership over the process as well as the outcome. The chances of the agreement being broken are therefore reduced.

Mediation takes a minimum of two parties who are engaged in a disagreement and who choose to go to a third party for help in resolving their differences. That third party is neutral—his/her client is the agreement itself.