What are the Advantages of Mediation?
People in disputes who consider mediation as a way to resolve their differences often want to know what the process can do for them. Although no dispute resolution procedure can guarantee specific outcomes, the following are some common benefits of mediation:
Mediation is a voluntary process. Parties elect to participate in mediation because of the potential for better settlement than those available through litigation or other procedures involving third-party decision makers. Creative brainstorming of new options is not something that people can be forced to do effectively. No one is coerced into using this alternative dispute procedure. If the parties do not reach an agreement in mediation, other grievance options are still available to the parties, including filing a formal grievance or pursuing appropriate legal options.
Mediation is private and confidential. Mediation provides for a safe environment for the participants to explore options and can modify their positions without fear of losing face in front of colleges and coworkers. In mediation, parties come together in a private and neutral location with an impartial third-party to talk about their conflict and negotiate a resolution to it that addresses the needs and interests of both parties. Whatever is discussed during the session is treated as confidential and will not be disclosed to anyone unless it is expressly requested and agreed by both parties or ethically violates the pre-set parameters of confidentiality.
Mediation is both timely and convenient. Mediation can be scheduled and held in a matter of days, not weeks or months. This can be critical to intervening in the escalation of conflict and prevent unnecessary delays in finding mutually agreeable resolutions.
Mediation is procedural assistance of a neutral third party. The role of the mediator is specifically to help the parties find their own satisfactory, workable solutions by being an effective facilitator and providing structure, focus, and assistance with communication. The role of the mediator is to provide unbiased, impartial assistance from the position of someone with no other involvement or investment in the outcome of the dispute. Mediators are selected from a pool of non-K-State employees within a 150-mile radius of Manhattan who are state-approved by the State of Kansas Office of Judicial Administration.
Mediation has a high rate of compliance. Parties who have reached their own “customized” agreement are generally more likely to follow through and abide and comply with its terms than those whose agreement has been imposed by a third-party decision-maker. Parties that negotiate their own settlements have more control over the outcome of their dispute and gains and losses are more predictable when they maintain the decision-making power than when decisions about the outcome of disputes are turned over to outside third parties. Mediation involves mutually satisfactory agreements in which all parties have at least some of their interests met to the degree that they are willing to support the overall agreement.
Mediation helps preserve ongoing relationships. Mediation agreements, which result in negotiated solutions that address each of the parties’ needs (win/win), are much better able to preserve present and future working relationships than win/lose procedures. If a future working relationship is important, a negotiated settlement may be the best resolution possible whereby all-gain solutions are created. Mediation is often a helpful healing process and encourages direct communication between parties. The mutual resolution will also help give the parties a place to start for future interactions.