Stages of Mediation

9 Stages of Mediation to Resolve Business Disputes

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQyQQPAnkonC0 0gpyw95CdG 4pEiVDIaar1r2I YOFFVVf7 q3EQ When it comes to dispute resolution, one of the best yet underused methods of conflict resolution is mediation.   Mediation should always be tried before heading to court, as this resolution method can save money, time and headaches, since a professional mediator can determine the best types of mediation that can amicably resolve the dispute.  Mediators have been helping people who have disagreements between them gauge the advantages that give-and-take presents over arguments and expensive legal action, and how reasoning is better than violence suing the other party.  As a formal method of dispute resolution, mediation has emerged as a specialized institution in the last two decades and has found application in a large range of fields, including disputes between neighbors, family members, and business dealings.  The process of mediation requires parties of the dispute to seek the help of a third party mediator to intervene and facilitate communication and agreement between them. Mediation helps parties resolve conflicts in a peaceful way which ensures that the relationship between them remains amicable, and the dispute itself is resolved in a structured way with an outcome that is acceptable to all parties, and can prevent the time and cost involved in taking the dispute to court.  The process of mediation involves a number of cycles and stages. Stage 1: Recognition of the problem The very first stage in the mediation process is the recognition by one or both parties that a problem exists between them and that they need to resolve it.  If one of the parties doesn’t agree that there is indeed a problem between them while the other one does, then the second party has no option but to seek legal help to bring the severity of the problem to the notice of the first party. It is only after both the parties have agreed to the existence of a dispute between them that the process of mediation can begin. Stage 2: Choice of the arena The arena in which the parties agree to accept the services of a mediator to resolve their disputes is usually a safe middle ground where both parties can air their views without feeling threatened or intimidated.  Usually, parties choose to settle disputes outside of the legal system though at times parties prefer a more formal and legal setting for dispute resolution, especially when the dispute itself has roots in a legal problem.  In popular jargon, this is known as “settling outside the court” where the parties that have agreed to resolve a legal dispute through the help of a mediator without the agreement being parted out to the parties by a judicial authority. Stage 3: Selection of the mediator Selection of the mediator remains the first real hurdle in the resolution of a conflict, as suggestions for a mediator to assist in the meditation process is not without bias.  Professional mediators are often sought because of their reputation.  The local court house in your city or county will usually have a list of mediators available for hire. Stage 4: Fact finding or gathering of the data The mediator begins the process of mediation with a fact finding session, wherein he gathers the data related to the dispute, its origins and each parties’ view of the dispute and other relevant information related to the dispute at hand. Stage 5: Definition of the problem Once the shared information is seen and assessed by the mediator, he/she then lays out a definition of the problem in front of the parties. This definition needs to be acceptable to all parties, and needs to be presented in such a way that it does not provide any advantage to one of the parties over the other. Stage 6: Development of options Once the problem has been outlined and the parties recognize that it contains the essence of the problem between them, the mediator begins to lay out options in front of them. These alternatives need to be mutually agreeable and not skewed in favor of one of the parties. Stage 7: Redefinition of positions At times, the dispute between parties arises when one or more of them are simply not aware of the options that they have available for them in that particular scenario. By reviewing the options, the parties get a better view of how the problem can be solved without legal action.  Once the options are presented to both the parties, they are asked to review and redefine their stand on the problem in view of the new data and options available to them. Stage 8: Bargaining or negotiation Once all the parties have redefined their stance on the options presented to them in response to a mutual problem, the mediator begins the process of bargaining or negotiations. Parties are encouraged to choose the options that are most mutually satisfactory. Stage 9: Draft of the agreement Once the negotiations are complete and all parties have come to mutually agreeable conclusions, the mediator draws up a draft of a memorandum of understand (MOU) that has the background of the problem, the outline of the dispute, the options that were chosen by the parties and their reasons for choosing them and the terms of the agreement. The mediator then hands a copy of the MOU to all the parties for final signature and agreement. About The Author: Diana is a writer/blogger. She loves writing, traveling and reading books. She contributes on Reputation Changer


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