MEDIATION & THE EXHIBITION INDUSTRY

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Welcome to “Mediation & the Exhibition Industry”. This study is based on a global survey, conducted from November 2017 – January 2018. Exhibition industry professionals were surveyed across 34 countries with the aim of evaluating how conflicts are managed in the exhibition industry. I am especially interested in the knowledge about, and use of, commercial mediation within the field. In an industry where relationships define the success of our services and the future of our business, I truly believe that mediation is a suitable tool for dealing with disagreements.

Following the principles of mediation, all responses to this survey are treated confidentially. This report is based on 114 replies from industry professionals from 34 countries. It gives an overview of the level of awareness of conflict resolution that professionals in the exhibition industry have around the world. It also offers event professionals a deeper understanding of the use of mediation in the exhibition industry. To establish a common understanding among all survey participants, the following definition of mediation was given to those participating:

“Mediation is an effective way of resolving disputes without the need to go to court. It involves an independent third party – a mediator – who supports all parties involved to reach (where possible) an agreement. The mediation process involves all parties to find a common decision and decide if and how they wish to continue working together. It is only they who can make a decision and define the settlement.”

ABOUT THE RESEARCHER:


My name is Angela Herberholz and I have worked in the exhibition industry for several years. I started dipping my toes into this fabulous industry while working with an exhibition organiser in Germany and since then I have never really left the family. Today I work at the Global Association of the Exhibition industry, UFI, and am privileged to be working with industry professionals from more than 87 countries and witnessing both global and local developments. Outside of UFI, I dedicate my free time to the practise, coaching and teaching of mediation. I am an accredited (MCiArb) and experienced commercial mediator. Also, I am the Founding Member of the Young Mediators Initiative (YMI). Established in 2010, YMI supports young mediators and mediation advocates in finding opportunities to gain experience in the field of mediation. During the past 8 years, I had the pleasure to meet mediators that are highly invested in raising the awareness of mediation and to advertise the benefits that this dispute resolution process can have. YMI works with its 110 members in over 30 countries and it is an absolute delight to participate in the exchange among these incredible passionate young mediation experts.

During my three years’ work experience at the International Centre for ADR (International Chamber of Commerce) from 2010 – 2014, I witnessed many instances where mediation proved to be a powerful tool for turning commercial conflicts into future relationships.
In the exhibition industry, healthy co-operation is key to future success and business relationships are built on trust. Yet, are we (eventprofs) using mediation? I am as much a mediator as I am a member of the exhibition industry. Knowing both professions intimately, I strongly believe that mediation should be a fundamental tool used to address and solve conflicts within our industry.

WHY DO WE NEED THIS SURVEY?
With over 680, 000 people holding full time equivalent jobs in the exhibitions industry, there is great potential for disagreements. While conflict is a normal part of any social and organizational setting, the challenge lies in how one chooses to deal with it. Mediation is one of many conflict resolution processes, but I believe it can help the exhibition industry to deal with conflicts in a sustainable way.

Throughout the past year, I have attempted to locate exhibition industry experts familiar with the use of mediation in our industry, without success. Few people are eager to discuss conflicts, let alone seek help with resolving them, so I continued my search with the aim of reaching out to mediators who had dealt with cases from within our industry. Again, I could not find a single one.

I continued my investigation and searched for data to confirm or contradict my assumption. I came across the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an organisation that specialises in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for trade fairs. The WIPO Center provides dispute advice and case administration (arbitration, mediation and more) for parties dealing with IP conflicts in our industry. Jackpot! I thought. However, after digging deeper I came to realise that the WIPO does not provide statistics on the usability of mediation in particular. So, I decided to create new knowledge by conducting a survey myself. I would like to thank all 114 eventprofs who took the time to reply. Without their time and honesty, this survey would have not been possible.

WHO WAS SURVEYED?
Each regional overview is based on the following countries, residents of which participated in this survey:
Asia-Pacific: Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Thailand.
Americas: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, USA.
Africa: Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania.
Europe: Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, UK.
Middle East: Iran, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, UAE.

I will continue to evaluate the survey results and look forward to presenting country specific insights.

KEY FINDINGS
I. Mediation awareness (commercial, workplace, family, community)being aware of the existence of mediation as a dispute resolution process.

Contrary to my assumption prior to this survey, I am pleased to share that mediation, including commercial, workplace, family and community mediation, is known among the majority of industry professionals and across the exhibition industry. The mediation survey shows that 82.5% of the exhibition industry professionals surveyed in 34 countries have heard about mediation as a conflict resolution process at least once. Americas (88%) and Europe (85% ) are the most familiar with mediation, followed by Asia-Pacific and Africa . The largest awareness gap can be seen in the Middle East where 1/4 of exhibition industry professionals have never heard about mediation in any context.

 

II. Information Resource – In what locations have the industry professionals heard about mediation?
When asking the exhibition industry where they obtained knowledge about mediation, they named the following resources:
1. News
2. Peers
3. Social Media
4. Conference/Event
5. Private lawyer
6. Legal Department
Conclusion: The majority of industry professionals have heard about mediation through news, printed and online. This is no surprise as mediation is commonly used to address political conflicts which trigger the public interest. Exhibition industry professionals named “peers” as the second important information source. Word-of-mouth helps raise awareness of mediation and social media was named among the first three information sources where knowledge about mediation was obtained. Mediation is often seen as a legal profession and associated with the law profession and legal departments. However, the mediation profession is not reserved for legal counsel, but is open to well trained, accredited professionals with expertise of the dispute matter. This misassumption is mirrored in the survey results as both private lawyer and legal department are not named among the top four sources or information about mediation.

III. First-hand experience of mediation
This part of the survey compares the direct involvement in mediation among exhibition industry professionals. I asked if they have ever participated in a workplace mediation (including conflicts among co-workers and/or supervisors) and/or a private mediation (including family and community).
Of all surveyed exhibition professionals, more than half (66%) never took part in any mediation process. The results show that 34% have had direct experience with mediation. Of those who participated in mediation, 53% took part in workplace related mediations, while 47% experienced private mediation.
Any involvement in commercial mediation was evaluated later in this survey.

Regional Focus
Asia-Pacific: 65% of all exhibition professionals surveyed have never been involved in any mediation. From the ones that have had experience (35%), more were engaged in private mediation than workplace mediations.
Private > workplace
Africa: 80% of all exhibition professionals surveyed have had experience with workplace mediation.
Workplace > private
Americas: 76% of all exhibition professionals surveyed have never been involved in any mediation. From those that have had experience, more were engaged in private mediation than workplace mediations.
Private > workplace
Europe: 64% of all exhibition professionals surveyed have never been involved in any mediation. From the ones that have had experience (36%), more were engaged in workplace mediations than involved in private mediations.
Workplace > private
Middle East: 79% of all exhibition professionals surveyed have never been involved in any mediation. From the ones that have had experience (21%), more were engaged in workplace mediations than private mediations.
Workplace > private
Conclusion: Among of all surveyed exhibition industry professionals, mediation appears to be commonly known: 82.5% stated they have heard about mediation before (see question I). However, the majority of surveyed industry professionals have never been involved in any kind of mediation. When taking a closer look at the global engagement rate between workplace and private mediation, the experience seems to be equally distributed.

Only when looking at the different regions can we detect a difference. Exhibition industry professionals have been more exposed to workplace mediation than to private mediation in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. The survey shows that in Asia-Pacific and Americas private mediations are more commonly used than workplace mediation.
Workplace mediation is more commonly used in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
Private mediation is more commonly used in Asia-Pacific and Americas.

IV. Workplace mediation (among co-workers and or supervisors)
If a conflict reaches a stage where it is difficult to address it oneself, workplace mediation may offer important benefits both to employers and employees. It can provide fast, creative and, ideally, mutually satisfactory resolutions. Workplace mediation has been proven to:
provide an opportunity for growth
positively impact communication
maintain and improve teamwork
help identify morale problems within the business

Conflict resolution offers the chance to improve relationships and/or circumstances that may have gotten out of control if not addressed. Mediated solutions can work better and last longer than authoritatively imposed decisions, because everyone involved has an interest in upholding them. In many parts of the world employment legislation advocates the use of mediation to settle grievances and the exhibition industry is no exception. However, when looking at the actual use of mediation in our industry, we observe that mediation is not commonly used to solve workplace conflicts. 46% of the surveyed professionals shared that there is no mediation support, or equivalent, available to them to address workplace disputes; however, 31% stated that they are using mediation to address conflicts among co-workers and/or supervisors. 23% answered that they are not aware of mediation being available for conflict resolution.

Regional Focus
In all surveyed regions, a similarity to the global pattern can be observed. The majority of surveyed professionals in all regions state that mediation is not offered to deal with conflicts among coworkers
and/or supervisors. Africa is the exception. More than half of professionals surveyed state
that mediation is a suggested routine to address work related conflicts.
Asia-Pacific: 50% of the surveyed industry professionals do not use mediation for workplace conflicts. 35% stated that they are using mediation to address internal disputes ,whereas 15% were not aware of the use of mediation as an option to deal with conflicts among co-workers and/or
supervisors.
Africa: 80% of the surveyed industry professionals shared that they use mediation for workplace conflicts, whereas 20% were not aware of the use of mediation to deal with conflicts among co-workers and/or supervisors.
Americas: 41% of the surveyed industry professionals do not use mediation for workplace conflicts. 35% stated that they are using mediation to address internal disputes, whereas 24% were not aware of the use of mediation as an option to deal with conflicts among co-workers and/or supervisors.
Europe: 50% of the surveyed industry professionals do not use mediation for workplace conflicts. 24% stated that they are using mediation to address internal disputes, whereas 26% were not aware of the use of mediation as an option to deal with conflicts among co-workers and/or supervisors.

Middle East: 43% of the surveyed industry professionals do not use mediation for workplace conflicts. 28.5%stated that they are using mediation to address internal disputes whereas 28.5% were not aware of the use of mediation as an option to deal with conflicts among co-workers and/or supervisors.
Conclusion: Even tough mediation is a suggested process to deal with workplace conflicts in the exhibition industry, this is not the norm. The majority of surveyed professionals stated either that mediation was not a choice at all, or that it was an unknown option for solving disputes among coworkers and/or supervisors. Africa is the exception. The use of mediation to solve conflicts among
the surveyed professionals is routine when dealing with disputes.

V. Commercial mediation (external conflicts with service providers, partners etc.)
Mediation is a way of solving disputes and differences without going to court or arbitration. The ownership of the dispute and the outcome rests with all parties involved. Commercial mediation, also known as mediation between businesses or B2B mediation, can be beneficial when arguing about the following issues:
non-performance of contracts
problems with interpretation of contract provisions
untimely payments
unethical competition activities
abuse of intellectual property
problems related to business division, merger or acquisition

In the exhibition Industry, mediation is not yet used as a main conflict resolution tool when addressing any of the above potential conflict origins. The survey shows that the majority does not benefit from this tool to address disputes that derive from cooperation between two or more businesses. Overall, 47% of the exhibition industry surveyed do not use mediation to deal with external conflicts, while 26.5% state that they use mediation to address disputes with industry partners. The remaining 26.5% are not aware of mediation being used for external conflict resolution.

Asia-Pacific: 65% of the surveyed industry professionals shared that they do not benefit from commercial mediation when dealing with external conflicts. 25% stated that they are not aware of the opportunity to use mediation to solve disputes with industry partners, while 10% have used commercial mediation when facing disagreements.

Africa: 80% of the surveyed industry professionals shared that they do benefit from commercial mediation when dealing with external conflicts. 20% stated that they are not aware of the opportunity to use mediation to solve disputes with industry partners.

Americas: 47% of the surveyed industry professionals indicated that they do not benefit from commercial mediation when dealing with external conflicts. 29% stated that they are not aware of the opportunity to use mediation to solve disputes with industry partners, while 24% have used commercial mediation when facing disagreements.

Europe: 47% of the surveyed industry professionals stated that they do not benefit from commercial mediation when dealing with external conflicts. 29% had used commercial mediation when facing disagreements, while 24% are not aware of the opportunity to use mediation to solve disputes with industry partners.

Middle East: 43% of the surveyed industry professionals stated that they do not benefit from commercial mediation when dealing with external conflicts. 36% stated that they are not aware of the opportunity to use mediation to solve disputes with industry partners, while 21% confirm using commercial mediation when facing disagreements.

Conclusion: In today’s business world, more and more contracts include alternatives to litigation (court settlement of disputes) known as arbitration and mediation.
However, the majority of the surveyed exhibition industry professionals state that commercial mediation is a conflict resolution mechanism not used to treat B2B, external disputes. 47% state that they do not use mediation to address contractual disagreements with industry partners. A minority, namely 26.5% state the use of mediation.
The survey shows that this global pattern can be found in regions such as Asia-Pacific, the Americas, Europe and the Middle East. Africa appears to be an exception, as 80% of surveyed exhibition industry professionals claim to have used mediation to address external conflicts before.

Last but not least
During the course of complex contract negotiations, the last thing we want to think about is the possibility that a serious disagreement or contract breach will arise during the implementation stage. Yet we also know that such conflicts are common.

When involved in contract negotiations, we need to imagine a range of possible scenarios—including the possibility that a dispute may arise that could escalate into a lawsuit. Because no one wants to battle it out in court, there are a number of safeguards you can take to improve your odds of resolving disputes quickly and amicably. Take informed decisions when it comes to dispute resolution. Get to know more about the potential of mediation for your business so that next time you face a conflict, you are well prepared to choose the best process. I would also like to stress that mediation is a profession based on extensive training, accreditation and experience! Be aware of the importance to choose the right mediator for your conflict. Lastly, I am not advertising that commercial mediation is the right process for all your conflicts, but it is certainly a valuable alternative!

For more information contact Angela at: herberholz@mediate.solutions.

 

 

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