Resolving Small Business Disputes Through Mediation


  • Marc Lampe University of San Diego
  • Seth R. Ellis University of San Diego


A revolution is taking place  in the way Americans resolve their disputes. The so-called alternative methods of dispute resolution such as mediation and arbitration are increasingly becoming a primary choice for settling  conflict. A growing number of large American companies have begun to embrace mediation as an alternative to litigation. The article describes  the  mediation  process  in  the  small  business  context.  The  advantages   and disadvantages of mediation versus the judicial process are considered. Recommendations concerning the appropriate circumstances in which small business should use mediation to resolve conflict are provided. Also reported are the results of a survey of small business executives that measured their attitudes toward mediation and other forms of dispute resolution. The results suggest that most executives preferred mediation to other forms of dispute resolution. They believe mediation to be a cost-effective and efficient method of resolving conflicts with customers, employees, and suppliers.


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