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The Relevance of Mediation in the Modern Workplace

Disagreements are a part of human nature. As long as people exhibit diverse traits stemming from different experiences, their opinions will differ. And where contrasting views exist, conflict looms.

The workplace is not exempt from these disagreements. A difference of opinions occurs between colleagues in any industry. Even in schools and colleges, students argue with each other and with their instructors, unable to resolve their disputes peacefully. Nevertheless, be it a do my essay writing agency or a respectable legal firm, employees at all levels need to let calm heads prevail.

In situations like these, an individual or neutral entity can defuse the workplace tension. This person is known as a mediator, and the process of using a middleman to resolve crises is called mediation.

Overview of the Current Relevance of Mediation

Mediation has been a staple of human culture since ancient times. People have been resolving conflicts between their neighbors and nations. To get a better picture of the current state of mediation, let’s overview the history of this process.

A Brief History of Mediation

Mediation originated in ancient Greece many centuries ago. During the 12th century, disputing families in Crete practiced assisted negotiation called sasmos. The mediator who helped them settle their issues was known as sastis.

For other mediation instances in ancient times, we look to the Middle East. The idea of handing power to a third party to settle conflicts is as old as several Arabic/Islamic practices. Many accounts of Prophet Muhammad’s initial life describe an instance where he was picked by fighting tribes to solve a conflict around the remaking of the Ka’ba. By proposing a unique arrangement that profited both parties, the Prophet helped them come to terms.

Furthermore, Islamic Law (Shari’a) supports the idea of an unbiased middle person – the mediator – which is similar to present-day practices. The mediator attempts to sort out the conflict by suggesting solutions to the parties. They are also free to decide if they want to accept the solution or not.

Mediation in the Modern Workplace

Do people see mediation as a solution to conflicts in the modern work environment?

Partially they do, but many consider mediation a sign of weakness because you should always stand your ground — no room for concession.

But contrary to this train of thought, mediation can strengthen team spirit and foster unity in the organization. Besides, negotiation and mediation are necessary, especially during the early phases of a dispute.

Legal firms have entire departments dedicated to mediation. For most kinds of disputes, a peaceful resolution is less expensive than court battles. Although some parties may prefer to take the case to court eventually, counselors first try to broker peace. Both parties have to agree to concede power to the mediator to find common ground.

What Are the Kinds of Mediation?

Mediation exists in all areas of human endeavor, from the small family unit to large multinational corporations. Let’s define the relevance of different kinds of mediation.

Family Mediation

This type of mediation involves a mediator who suggests solutions that quarreling parties with familial relationships would consider during a conflict. It can also include people who are members of an extended family.

For example, if you have two family members who disagree with decisions made during family meetings, a (family) mediator intervenes. They defuse the tension, listen to both parties, and suggest solutions to resolve the disagreement.

Civil or Commercial Mediation

Commercial mediation is common in business settings. This kind of mediation is the most cost-effective solution to disputes between two parties, without the court’s intervention. The conflicting sides are brought together to deliberate and reach a favorable resolution.

Here are different types of civil disputes:

  1. Contract disputes: involves a party that refused to keep its part of a legally binding contract.
  2. Boundary disputes: involves conflicts over landed property.
  3. Tenant and Landlord disputes: involves both the tenant and the landlord based on debt, failed obligations, and refusal to fulfill the rent or lease agreement.

Workplace Mediation

Workplace mediation works best between a firm’s employees or between an employer and employee(s). It involves voluntary and confidential addressing of conflict between the parties by providing ideas and possible solutions. The mediator seeks to re-establish an understanding between the aggrieved parties.

Moreover, the mediator’s methods only succeed if both parties express themselves plainly. So, the mediator should maintain neutrality because any suspicion of bias will only make things worse.

Community Mediation

Community mediation is used to settle clashes between individuals and communities. Community members control the interaction and create their solutions.

With a mediator’s help, communities can reach a middle ground and nip potentially deadly disputes in the bud. This approach is a better option than ruinous showdowns and drawn-out prosecutions.

Besides, community mediation promotes communication and negotiation without the court’s interference. It also empowers the participants and strengthens their faith in their community.

What Are the Benefits of Workplace Mediation?

The workplace is a community in every sense of the word. And like communities, every organization has a set of rules keeping its members in check.

However, humans are unpredictable and often inconsiderate. And as a result, members can clash with each other or show a blatant disregard for the rules. In these situations, mediation may be the best approach to conflict resolution.

Here are some benefits of workplace mediation:

1. Mediation Leads to Fair Resolutions

When a team appoints an unbiased mediator to a case, both disputing parties usually leave the dispute with a sense of parity. Besides, it puts an end to disputes without creating animosity.

It Is Cost-Effective

Establishing a neutral dispute resolution mechanism won’t cost much. These systems or people are often part of the workforce. So, there won’t be a need to spend extra to hire an expert conflict resolver to end a simple workplace quarrel.

2. Workplace Mediation Is Fast and Effective

Setting up a fail-safe mediation process takes a few hours of planning and brainstorming at most. With the right mediation process in place, employers can settle different workplace disputes quickly. The best-case scenario of a mediation process does not depend on any specific employee to work, making conflict resolution faster and more effective.

3. It Preserves Workplace Relationships

Workplace disputes can erode trust and interpersonal relationships. Without a mediator in place, unresolved human conflicts will hinder the workflow.

Even when the conflict is resolved civilly, tensions can still linger within the workplace, leading to a toxic culture. This strain in the relationship will ultimately affect productivity and organizational growth.

4. It Promotes Workplace Motivation

When disputes linger in the workplace, they can infect team spirit and destroy morale. But with a mediator, team members can go into healthy exchanges with their colleagues, knowing that a reasonable resolution is assured. This foolproof mediation system boosts workplace morale.

A skilled mediator can perceive brewing conflicts and resolve them before they infect the entire employee pool. Ultimately, mediation can often be the difference between a motivated team and a disorganized one.

Final Words

Workplace mediation proves to be a reliable solution to most workplace conflicts today. However, not many businesses have a mediator or a conflict resolution process for these situations. The absence of a mediator reflects in the overall productivity and workplace toxicity.

Employers need to plan for mediation in the workplace. As this article has shown, there are many advantages of workplace mediation. It is now up to business owners to leverage it to promote professional harmony and boost productivity.


Jakob Vinther

Jakob Vinther is a recent grad student of Yale University and now a lecturer at Bristol University, UK. I do molecular paleobiology – a synoptic science, which utilizes the evolutionary history recorded in both rocks and molecules in order to understand and reliably reconstruct organismal evolution. MORE >

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