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Conflict Defined. Cold Conflict functional little to no emotion builds consensus enhances relationships Hot Conflict dysfunctional much emotion destroys relationships. Factors Influencing Hot Conflict. Attitudes Control imbalance Outcome importance Perceptions of: interdependence

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Conflict Defined

  • Cold Conflict

    • functional

    • little to no emotion

    • builds consensus

    • enhances relationships

  • Hot Conflict

    • dysfunctional

    • much emotion

    • destroys relationships

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Factors Influencing Hot Conflict

  • Attitudes

  • Control imbalance

  • Outcome importance

  • Perceptions of:

    • interdependence

    • different goals

    • being kept from goals

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The Conflict Process

  • Analysis

  • Frustration

  • Conceptualization

  • Behavior

  • Other’s reactions

  • Outcome

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Consequences of Conflict

  • Decreased productivity

  • Low morale

  • Absenteeism

  • Stress

  • Turnover

  • Law suits

  • Violence

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Types of Conflict

  • Interpersonal

  • Individual - Group

  • Group - Group

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Sources of ConflictHidden

  • Fear

  • Embarrassment

  • Distrust

  • Hurt

  • Anger

  • Uncertainty

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Sources of ConflictSurface

  • Interdependence

  • Jurisdictional Ambiguity

  • Communication

  • Culture and Value

  • Difficult Personalities

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Types of Difficult People

  • Aggressive

    • Tank

    • Grenade

    • Sniper

    • Know-it-all

    • “No” person

    • Whiner

  • Passive

    • “Yes” person

    • Bump-on-a-log

    • ‘Round-to-it

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Angry Customers

  • Aggressive Behaviors

    • Warriors

    • Unloaders

    • Child

    • Blamer

    • Gunny Sacker

  • Passive Behaviors

    • Survivalists

    • Guiltmakers

    • Pretenders

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Handling Diversity Disputes

  • Increase scope of diagnoses

  • Validate the other groups’ culture and viewpoint

  • Encourage workplace diversity

  • Identify power and control imbalances and redistribute where appropriate

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Individual Differences in Dealing with Conflict

  • Personality traits versus learned behavior

  • Relationship of disputing parties

  • Gender differences

  • Past conflict experiences

  • Conflict response style

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Conflict Response StylesThe Sage

  • Problem-solver

  • Win/Win orientation

  • Cooperative problem solving

  • Emphasis on preserving relationship and meeting own goals as well as that of others

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Conflict Response StylesThe Diplomat

  • Goal-oriented

  • Compromising orientation

    - provide evidence

    - persuasion

  • Emphases on relationship and each other’s goals

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Conflict Response StylesThe Ostrich

  • Avoidance

  • Withdrawal orientation

    - quit

    - complaining to others

  • Over-emphasis is on preserving relationship

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Conflict Response StylesThe Philanthropist

  • Accommodating

    - smoothing and


  • High concern for satisfying needs of others

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Conflict Response StylesThe Warrior

  • Win/Lose orientation

    - winning at all costs

  • Potential problem creator

  • Focus on own goals

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Conflict Management StagesStage 1: Analysis

  • Determine best strategy to use

    • Dictation

    • Arbitration

    • Mediation

    • Negotiation

  • Identify all sources of conflict

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Conflict Management StagesStage 1: Analysis

  • Dictation is best when:

    • parties are irrational

    • no trust exists

    • too angry to be realistic

    • have mental health issues

    • alcohol or drugs are involved

    • when violent behavior is potential

    • parties have poor communication skills

    • there are time constraints

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Conflict Management StagesStage 1: Analysis

  • Mediation and negotiation are best when:

    • parties are rational

    • parties want to work out a solution together

    • some trust still exists

    • there are no time constraints

  • Arbitration

    • same as mediation but use when parties get stuck during mediation

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Ury Negotiation Model

  • Don’t react

  • Don’t argue

  • Don’t reject

  • Don’t push

  • Minimize escalation

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Conflict Management Stages

  • Stage 2: Confrontation

    • Story telling

  • Stage 3: Resolution

    • Problem and sources have been identified

    • Alternative resolutions are brainstormed

    • Mutually agreeable solution chosen

    • Agreement to monitor changes in the future

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Stage 1: Analysis

Decide strategy




Identify all conflict sources

Stage 2: Confrontation


Stage 3: Resolution

Brainstorm solutions

Choose solution

Agree to monitor/change

Summary of ConflictManagement Stages

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Managing Workplace ConflictInterpersonal Communication Techniques

  • Active listening

  • Reflecting

  • Empathy

  • Questioning

  • Highlight common goals

  • Creating trust

  • Inquiring silence

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Managing Workplace ConflictActive Listening Means

Using nonverbal gestures to let employees

know their concerns are being heard.

  • eye contact

  • head nodding

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Managing Workplace ConflictReflecting Means

Seeking clarification through paraphrasing of what each individual has said.

  • Open-ended vs. closed-ended questions

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Managing Workplace ConflictCommunication Reminders

  • Use “I” rather than “you”

  • Focus on behaviors, not personality

  • Give clear and specific examples

  • Explain impact of inappropriate behaviors on others

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Dealing with Difficult People

  • Direct Intervention

    • address behavior

    • explain impact of behavior on others

  • Indirect Intervention

    • positive feedback when appropriate behavior is used

  • Direct Coping

    • separate difficult employee from others

  • Indirect Coping

    • provide training to others on dealing with difficult personality

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Effectiveness of TechniquesDepends on:

  • Disputing parties’ communication skills

  • Conflict perspective

  • Power distribution

  • Personal accountability

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Preventing Workplace Conflict

  • Well-written job descriptions

  • Unambiguous policies

  • Clarification of roles and expectations

  • Training on new policies

  • Conflict management training

  • For teams, clarification of levels of authority

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Managing Workplace ConflictSteps for Mediation

Step 1: Stabilize the setting

  • greet parties

  • use interpersonal communication techniques

  • confirm neutrality

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Managing Workplace ConflictSteps for Mediation

Step 2: Help disputants communicate

  • both parties tell their side without interruption

  • clarify unclear issues

  • summarize main problems

  • focus on areas of agreement

  • prioritize what needs to be settled

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Managing Workplace ConflictSteps for Mediation

Step 3: Help parties negotiate

  • seek cooperation

  • help them explore alternative solutions

  • allow venting but no accusations

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Managing Workplace ConflictSteps for Mediation

Step 4: Clarify their agreement

  • summarize the agreement terms

  • state each parties’ role in implementing the agreement (who does what, when, where, how)

  • explain follow-up process