Negotiation vs Mediation: Difference and Comparison

Key Takeaways

  1. Negotiation is a process where parties directly communicate and negotiate with each other to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. At the same time, mediation involves a neutral third party, the mediator, who facilitates the process and helps the parties find their resolution.
  2. In negotiation, the parties have more control over the process and outcome, advocating for their interests, whereas, in mediation, the mediator plays a more active role in guiding the process and ensuring constructive communication between the parties.
  3. Negotiation can be used in various contexts and can result in legally binding agreements. In contrast, mediation is used as an alternative or complementary process to litigation, with the mediated agreement being non-binding unless the parties choose to formalize it.

What is Negotiation?

 Negotiation implies a systemic process to resolve the conflict between the two parties with a mutual agreement. The conflict between the two parties involved in negotiating implies the disagreement between the parties upon which the party members discuss and find a win-win solution for both. Both concerned parties put forth their interest and spoke for their rights.

Negotiation involves three steps: problem identification, negotiation preparation, and negotiation. The concerned members themselves carry out the whole procedure. Since negotiation tries to achieve a win-win situation for both the concerned parties, both members of both parties have to compromise something or the other. In negotiation, the focus is on the issue of the conflict rather than the overall relationship.

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There are three possible outcomes of Negotiation

Win-win: In which both the parties involved in the negotiation win.

Win-lose: One of the parties involved in the negotiation wins while the other loses.

Inefficient but equitable:  in which all the items are shared equally.

Whatever the outcome, the negotiation’s outcome can be settled as a Treaty, code, or contract.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a dispute settlement system where the mediator is involved in the settlement of the dispute. The mediator involved is independent and unbiased and assesses the parties and conflict to arrive at a mutually agreeable solution.

There are seven steps involved in the process of mediation. The process starts with the opening statement of the mediator, where the mediator describes the process of mediation and the terms and conditions of the mediation. In the next step, members of the parties explain their perspectives, expectations, and interests. The next step is where the mediator decides the negotiation sequence so that the party can evaluate the progress themselves.

The mediator helps the parties dissolve the issues by exploring all the situation possibilities. He holds a private and joint session before reaching closure. Both parties agree to the terms of each other, and a settlement is reached between them to resolve the dispute.

Difference Between Negotiation and Mediation

  1. Negotiation is a method to resolve disputes through discussions between party members. At the same time, mediation is a non-statutory method of dispute settlement where a third party is invited to facilitate a decision.
  2. In negotiation, two parties mutually decide on a possible outcome. In contrast, a mediator proposes a meditation outcome, and the two parties involved decide to adopt the same.
  3. In negotiation, two parties discuss and decide the flow of the negotiation. On the other hand, the flow and procedure of mediation are decided by a third-party mediator.
  4. Negotiation is a short process involving only three steps. At the same time, mediation is a complex process involving seven steps.
  5. In negotiation, both parties sit together to decide the outcome.  While in mediation, the mediator meets and hears the points of interest of both parties jointly and separately and then suggests a solution.
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Comparison Between Negotiation and Mediation

Parameter of ComparisonNegotiationMediation
Meaning  Negotiation is a procedure for resolving a dispute wherein parties settle their conflict and reach an agreement through discussion.  Mediation is a procedure for resolving disputes wherein a third party assists the party in resolving the disputes.  
Involvement of the third party    NoYes
Representation of interest  By parties themselvesBy mediator
SettlementParties reach an agreement.          The mediator proposes a solution to resolve the parties’ issues.    
Outcome  It depends on the relationship between groups.  It is controlled by the parties concerned.  

Last Updated : 14 October, 2023

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