Even if disputants do not resolve the dispute, mediation frequently will "bring out" the real issues and enhance communications between the parties, fostering an improved working relationship.
The goals of mediation are for the disputing parties to:
- share feelings and reduce hostilities,
- clear up misunderstandings,
- determine underlying interests and concerns,
- find areas of agreement, and
- incorporate those areas into solutions devised by the parties themselves.
The advantage of mediation over more traditional complaint procedures is that it provides an environment for creative problem-solving between the parties. Through the skilled assistance of the mediator, disputants are encouraged to listen, keep confidences, be empathetic, suspend preconceived judgements, respect each other's values, and focus on resolving the underlying conflict.