Negotiation, Mediation, Conflict Resolution


Negotiation, as well as mediation, is a discussion aimed at reaching an agreement. However, the process of mediation and negotiation are very different when it comes to the role of a negotiator versus the role of a mediator, parties required presence and splitting the cost.

Mediation is about resolving disputes. Negotiation can be used to resolve disputes, as a tool for conflict management but it does not require a conflict. Negotiation can be used as a part of normal business communication.

Some examples of negotiations are:

  • negotiate the terms and conditions of having an exclusive territory,
  • negotiate a better deal with a supplier,
  • negotiate a long-term contract with a customer,
  • negotiate a joint purchasing deal from a supplier with a competitor

Here’s what you need to know about the main differences between Negotiation and Mediation.

Negotiation vs Mediation


Mediation is a formal process that a Nationally Accredited Mediator by NMAS (National Mediation Accreditation Standards) will follow. Negotiation is a more flexible and informal process. For example, negotiation can bypass some stages of mediation and focus more on the exploration stage.

End result

Mediation has an end, and it is usually completed in just one day. Since negotiation is a flexible and informal process, there is no definite end date.

Parties presence 

Mediation requires the presence of all parties whether it is conducted face-to-face, by phone, video call, or shuttle mediation. When using the negotiation process, it’s possible that parties may never need to meet. Although Amelia will recommend that all parties meet during at least the first session so that the negotiation process moves along more efficiently, but it is not necessary.

The Role of a Mediator vs a Negotiator

A Mediator will encourage parties to come up with their own solutions. A Negotiator will take on an advisory and persuasive role and will recommend justified solutions.

When you use the mediation process, you are in control of the outcome as mediator acts as a neutral third party. When you use the negotiation process, you will be relying on the negotiator’s skills and experience.

Mediation requires a trained mediator to guide, assist, and facilitate the process. Negotiation can be done directly by parties, with or without a negotiator.

When you participate in the mediation process, you get to appoint your mediator or co-mediators as long as all parties agree on who that person should be. Negotiators, on the other hand, can be appointed by one party and represent only their interest, while bargaining for a better deal with another party.

Splitting the cost

The cost of mediation is divided equally between all parties, except for rare circumstances when they decide to split it differently. The cost of negotiation is generally covered by one party.