Proven Processes of Resolving Business Disputes
by: Lala C. Ballatan
Conflicts and disputes of whatever nature arising in your business, whether it involves your partner, suppliers, customers or employers can be a nuisance. If these kinds of disruptive activities worsen, they may cause lasting damage on the involved parties.
There are different ways of handling and resolving these kinds of dispute in the business arena. It would decidedly depend on the nature of the dispute which of the following options would be effective in finally settling down differences and disagreements among the parties involved.
The following options also entail different costs and assumptions. You may need to understand them further to know what would be most effectual on the business conflict you are presently facing (assuming you are in one).
1. Direct negotiation – this is possibly the cheapest means of resolving the dispute. However, it does not necessarily mean that it is the easiest, too. This manner is a favorable starter in getting clear positions about the parties’ positions, the reason for such and the present and future significance of the relationship for both parties.
Through this method, each party gets to open up their views and perspective about the disagreements they are having with the other party. Effective questions, attention and observation are important aspects that need to be carried on during the negotiations. This is in order that in the end, an agreement could be crafted out with an alternative that is best for both parties concerned.
This manner of resolving disputes can turn out successful if planned carefully, encouraged open communication and involved excellent negotiation skills.
2. Mediation – the ultimate goal of this method is finding out what the best possible ways can be come up with to resolve the problem and not to identify who among the parties involved is right or wrong.
This process of resolving conflicts entail the disagreeing parties to meet with a third party who has no personal interest whatsoever on either side of the faction. This third party will be the one to facilitate the negotiations of the contradicting sides. Further, during the entire negotiations, the third party has no right or authority to make decisions for any or both the parties positions.
It will fall upon the parties concerned how they would resolve their problems and differences of opinion that would be acceptable to both of them.
The mediation process is confidential, thus the discussions and the materials used here cannot be disclosed in court. Thus, when individuals meet for mediation it is said that they could gain everything but lose nothing. If they finally reach a mutually satisfactory agreement, with a mediator’s help, it would be a great turn out for both sides.
If, however they fail to mediate successfully, they can take up the other options for resolving their conflict and nothing of what occurred throughout the mediation would matter anymore.
3. Arbitration – an arbitrator who has neutral position will be presented with the particulars of the business dispute. He or she will examine the evidences, listen to the opposing parties and render a legally binding decision.
The parties are obliged to accept the arbitrator’s judgment whether it is favorable for them or not.
The process of arbitration needs some investigation and fact-finding activities since its nature is past-oriented. Generally, this kind of dispute – handling process takes up more time and money as compared to mediation, albeit less than the process of litigation
4. Litigation – in this process, it is the judge who decides which among the parties involved is right or wrong. The judgment or ruling would be based from the facts of the business dispute presented by the attorneys representing the parties and the governing laws.
Two major drawbacks of litigation for business owners:
1. Has an inevitable, detrimental effect on the relationship of the conflicting parties
2. Takes up more time and money, and is very much stressful
Nevertheless, litigation is a valid option for business disputes that cannot be resolved by the other aforementioned processes. Make sure to have a highly experienced and reputable litigation attorney with specialization in handling business disputes in order to have an edge during trial.