Business mediation

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Business mediation can consist in an intervention of a mediator either in prevention or in accompaniment of a dispute which can be internal (among employees) or within the business environment (customers, suppliers, administrative and financial partners, local authorities...) or in the management of the company (business partners, associates...). The dispute may be off-contract (relational atmosphere) or involve contractual relationships that can be subject to a legal proceeding.

The internal services of mediation of companies are not called business mediation, although some companies sometimes use that term regarding their internal service of mediation, especially since the law on harassment. The internal mediator therefore faces great difficulty to maintain an independence of mind in relation to the hierarchy of the company and its objectives that sets a specific goal of mediation and thus distorts it.

Definition

Business mediators intervene in context of business disputes that can involve either group or only two people, either outside the legal context i.e. in prevention of proceedings or during legal proceedings, in this case to the elected industrial tribunal.

These mediators can be independent and become members of the Professional Chamber of Mediation and Negotiation or other associations, or be nominated by a Minister, as it often happens during social conflicts. In this case, the mediators are called ministerial mediators.

In France, according to the Professional Chamber of Mediation, all contexts of mediation should privilege the relationships between the concerned people, without reference to the law which is left to the professionals that use law as an approach of conflict resolution; while according to "Réseau des Médiateurs d'Entreprise" (Network of Business Mediators), the mediator should intervene within a legal approach. For the Professional Chamber, which affirms that the mediator and the parties should not have fixed ideas regarding neither the type of solution that may be adopted nor the type of agreement that will eventually be drafted by the parties or a legal counsel; for the "Network of Business Mediators", it is appropriate to research an agreement that will be a writing contract.

Methodologies

The context of the company leads to use techniques that have been popularized in companies, such as the reasoned negotiation and the mastery of this method is considered essential, especially by Yvette Bailey from the RME. The concept of contributive negotiation is developed by the Mediators Associates, and Henry Sendrosa-Mila indicates that this approach of negotiation is focused on individuals, their recognition and motivation before considering interests: this approach develops the "contribution" of each party in order to reach the success of a sustainable agreement. The "contribution" can consist, in some agreements, to stop nuisance behaviours...

In the agreements regarding sustainable and long-term relationships, the contribution can go further and foresee what can facilitate or even promote the success of the other party. Despite their divergence of practices, mediators have in common the idea that an agreement shall not be reached by constraint or obtained by deception.

Authors

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