Business is primarily about relationships; it is about exchange of goods or services, interdependence and opportunity. As the market becomes more and more closely linked, business relationships in a globalised world aren’t just limited to a couple of deals.
Businesses rely more and more on a long-term, future-oriented perspective. And thus, it is not hard to imagine that when conflicts arise, disputes develop, these threaten not only current deals but also relationships, trust, growth right down to your bottomlines.
Sometimes, these disputes go out of hand, with neither party capable of moving forward towards resolution. Mediation or conciliation is one of the methods of resolving disputes, helping parties involved to remove roadblocks to an agreement. There are times when two or more sides involved in a conflict cannot come around to agree on issues due to reasons ranging from misunderstandings to lack of trust, to personality clashes to even how their previous negotiations were being conducted. If they voluntarily desire a resolution while also desiring to avoid court costs, negative publicity and the effect of not having an agreement at all, they would consider going for mediation.
This is done by appointing a mediator, who impartially listens to all parties involved in a conflict, and tries to nudge them towards a solution by using his expertise in the knowledge about their issues and in how to negotiate.
A mediator’s efforts involve letting the parties work out their solution, by helping them understand each other’s issues from an impartial stand, by helping them step aside their personality biases, helping them see the common ground they stand upon, and understand the degree of losses to be affected by the absence of an agreement.
Unlike arbitration, a mediated agreement does not carry a legal mandate, and is ultimately, a form of mutual agreement between the parties involved. Prof Himanshu Rai offers his experience as a mediator to individuals, groups or commercial establishments seeking a mediated solution to their disputes.