Page 15 - Linkline Summer 2018
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Mediation as a Dispute Resolution Mechanism
It is reassuring to know most mediations arrive at a mutually acceptable outcome. For business, any distraction inevitably impacts on the bottom line, so there are compelling reasons to end disputes quickly, and cost-effectively.
 Mediation can fulfil both requirements, as it is far less expensive than litigation, less adversarial, is solution-focused, and much quicker to bring a disagreement between parties to a conclusion  What is mediation? As an example, everyone is familiar with the historical story of the ‘duel’  The so called ‘injured’ party demands satisfaction from the other, resulting in a “pistols at dawn” duel  Both protagonists stood back to back, marched ten paces away from each other, turned and fired – usually resulting in one individual being injured  I am sure, even back then many wondered if there was a better way to resolve their differences, without losing face 
Humans are funny creatures – no other species of animal invests so much effort and energy in self-destruction through stubbornness! To the duellists, the dispute was irrelevant, in that no effort was made to resolve it, but every effort was made to extract retribution from the other – even at the risk of death  The duel is a useful metaphor for demonstrating
how relatively minor issues can escalate, and how pride dominates all future thought processes  It is a brave individual who, convinced of their own sense of right, will put their hand up and suggest mediation 
Mediation is quite a new concept for the workplace – an acknowledgement there is a better way to resolve our problems, other than the traditional routes of confrontation  This is the essence of mediation – it isn’t about damage limitation or box ticking or discovering a right or wrong  It is simply about acknowledging a person’s right to be an individual, to disagree, to make a mistake, to become emotional, to be human 
Traditional methods of resolving disputes lie almost exclusively in strength  However, superior strength will not resolve a dispute – but it may certainly end it, at least for a while  Inevitably the underlying issues will come to the
 The Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport 15

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