Conflicts or disputes seem to be present in all human relationships, particularly in family and divorce situations, and employment. Parties involved in conflict management have a number of procedural alternatives to choose from to resolve their differences. Mediation is a form of conflict management that is an informal, private procedure that involves only the disputants and a neutral impartial mediator. The mediator’s role is to facilitate and give assistance to the parties that procedurally enhances their success in conflict management through assisted negotiations.
Parties trying to resolve a conflict or dispute may be encountering difficulties initiating the negotiation process or may have reached an impasse after beginning to negotiate on their own. Mediation is a form of assisted negotiations that involves the intervention of an acceptable third party who has no (or limited) decision-making power. The mediator assists the parties involved in the conflict management process to voluntarily reach a mutually acceptable settlement of the issues involved in the conflict.
Mediation is a voluntary process in that the parties must be willing to accept the assistance of the mediator if the mediation is to help them in conflict management. The mediator facilitates discussion between the parties that helps the parties to define their objectives and views of the particular issues involved in the conflict or dispute, and then assists the parties in generating possible options that will be successful in the conflict management process. The mediation process usually saves time and is more convenient to the parties utilizing mediation in conflict management.