Everyone has experienced conflicts both in private and professional life. Conflicts within and between companies are part of everyday business. They hold considerable potential for creativity and innovation but can also destroy values and, in extreme cases, livelihoods. Effective conflict management and long-term economic success go hand-in-hand. Traditionally, economic conflicts are settled either by direct negotiation between the parties or - should this fail - by a binding decision of a third party.
In the case of external disputes, courts or arbitrators are usually called in. Mediation by a third party that has no decision-making powers opens up additional and efficient approaches that can positively affect both internal company processes and a company's reputation. In many cases it allows a rapid and cost-effective dispute resolution that protects business relationships and company processes. Mediation can be beneficial in multiple ways, especially in an international context.
Whenever a conflict involves a clash of different legal systems, a resolution through mediation is particularly advantageous as it prevents a confrontation between those different legal systems. Especially in an international environment this saves time, costs and prevents an unnecessary waste of resources.
The systematic use of mediation in business disputes originates in the US where it has been established for years and holds a firm place as conflict resolution method in many international business contracts. For the first time, a work-in-progress EU Directive is being aimed at implementing the mediation process in the national legal systems of the member countries. Through the use of mediation, many companies have managed to significantly reduce their conflict management costs and save time.