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Business Sector Accepts Mediation

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Business Sector Accepts Mediation

Venessa Robinson

Cleary University

Wider acceptance of negotiation and mediation in the business sector can be accomplished through information technology (IT) and internet technology. Negotiation is an interpersonal decision-making process necessary whenever two or more parties cannot achieve our objectives single-handedly according to Leigh Thompson’s book, The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator. Discussions are held with the intent to produce an agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached, a mediator can be hired to assist with the resolving the dispute instead of going to court. Mediation is a process in which the parties select a mutually impartial and neutral person’s who will assist them in the negotiation of differences.

Pin pointing the exact origins of mediations is difficult, but can be traced back to biblical times. In the Amplified Bible on, Matthews 18:15-17 give us an early account of mediation. It says “If your brother wrongs you, go and show him his fault, between you and him privately. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two others, so that every word may be confirmed and upheld by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he pays no attention to them [refusing to listen and obey, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a pagan and a tax collector.” This is the earliest account of have a third party help to settle a dispute.

According to Johann Wolfgang Textor, scholarly mediation literature existed as early as 1680. Navajo Indians had their own dispute resolution procedure which was named Hozhooji Naat’aanii; also known as Peacemaker, but in 1829 they stop practicing it. The U.S. model of mediation was based on the work of the Quakers. In 1913 in the USA full-time mediation professionals were employed as direct appointees of the Secretary of Labor to fill the position of "Commissioners of Conciliation." When China was locked in a war against Japanese aggression in the 1930s, the People's Mediation Committee was formed to resolve their own disputes for their citizens.

In 1946 the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) hired larger scale of mediators. 24 years later, mediation broke off in two distinct directions. Mediation was seen as an extension of the legal system. It was an effective means of narrowing issues for litigation in courts. The other direction of mediation was to separate it from the legal system hoping that this process would deliver better results. Legal scholars met to brainstorming possible improvements for the American legal system in 1976. By the 1980s, the construction industries began to accept mediation. The New York City branch of the Supreme Court adopted mandatory mediation in 1996. By 2000, both business and private sector are using the mediation process in the practices.

With internet technology, business negotiators are able to facilitate the resolution of dispute between parties online. This is known as online dispute resolution (ODR). It involves negotiation, mediation, arbitration or a combination of all three. The Internet has made it easier to transport, store and retrieve information on any subject. Information is only a click away. Gathering information from various web searches will help the negotiator become knowledgeable of the subject matter, and prepare him or her for the negotiation process. Preparation is the key to a successful negotiation. This research will help the negotiator know exactly what he or she wants (target point) and determine the Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA). Once the negotiator has determined their BATNA they can establish their reservation point. The reservation point is the least amount of money the negotiator will accept.

Now that you prepared to negotiate, you may want to take advantage of the technology tools that are available to help the mediation process run smooth. The following technologies are used in the negotiation and mediation process:

Telephone/conference call

S: Able to establish a rapport

Quick decisions can be made

W: Tone of voice can be misinterpreted

O: To reach an agreement quicker

T: The negotiators are not able to connect with each other- phone tag

Someone may be disconnected in the middle of the agreement process.

The negotiator may leave money on the table after making a quick agreement.

E- Mail

S: E-mail negotiation gives the each party as much time between messages as is needed to respond with counteroffers.

The negotiator is a have time to proofreading and take out any that might cause confusion or misunderstanding.

It also reduces the telephone tag.

W: Misunderstanding of what is written and misinterpretation of the person tone and attitude can cause the party to not trust

O: May attach complex documents that are easy to misinterpret.

T: Information give by one party could weaken the other party position.


S: Just like being faces-to-face except the negotiators can be in different places. Communication is clear and the negotiator is able to establish a rapport.

There will be more cooperation and trust because both parties can see your nonverbal and preverbal behaviors

W: Misinterpretation of behavior due to nervous

O: Able to be at a different location

T: May not be comfortable with technology and become distracted.

Equipment failure

Internet (Web)

S: Anyone can use it.




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