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7. Dealing with Conflict. Interpersonal Dynamics. Interpersonal dynamics – are the give and take behavior between people during human relations Interpersonal dynamics grow increasingly complex as more people interact. Key Topics of Interpersonal Dynamics. Transactional Analysis.

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Dealing with Conflict

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Dealing with Conflict

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Interpersonal Dynamics

  • Interpersonal dynamics – are the give and take behavior between people during human relations

  • Interpersonal dynamics grow increasingly complex as more people interact

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Key Topics of Interpersonal Dynamics

Transactional Analysis


Conflict Management

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Transactional Analysis (TA)

  • Method for determining how people interact

  • When we interact, behavior can be:

    • passive

    • aggressive

    • assertive

      • Performance is greater with this behavior

  • TA is a method of understanding behavior in interpersonal dynamics

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TA: Ego States

  • Major ego states that affect our behavior or the way we transact through communication:

    • Parent Ego State (P)

      • Critical parent

      • Sympathetic parent

    • Child Ego State (C)

      • Natural child

      • Adapted child

    • Adult Ego State (A)

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TA: Types of Transactions

  • Within ego states there are three different types of transactions:

    • Complementary Transactions

    • Crossed Transactions

    • Ulterior Transactions

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Complementary Transactions

  • Occur when the sender of the message gets the intended response from the receiver

    • Generally result in more effective communication









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Crossed Transactions

  • Occur when the sender of a message does not get the expected response from the receiver

    • These result in surprise, disappointment, and hurt feelings for the sender of the message









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Ulterior Transactions

  • Occur when the words seem to be coming from one ego state, but in reality the words or behaviors are coming from another

    • Sometimes when people don’t know what they want or how to ask for it in a direct way, they resort to ulterior transactions

    • Best to avoid ulterior transactions because they tend to waste time

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I’m OK –

You’re OK

I’m OK –

You’re not OK

I’m not OK –

You’re OK

I’m not OK –

You’re not OK

TA:Life Positions


Attitude toward Oneself




Attitude toward Others

Exhibit 7.1

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TA: Stroking

  • Stroking – any behavior that implies recognition of another’s presence

    • Positive – make people feel good about themselves

    • Negative – can hurt people in some way

  • Giving praise (positive stroking) is a powerful motivation technique

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  • The process of expressing thoughts and feelings while asking for what one wants in an appropriate way

  • Present your message without falling into the traps of being:

    • “too pushy” (aggressive)

    • “not tough enough” (nonassertive-passive)

  • Is becoming more global

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Behaviors when dealing with a diversity of people:

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Passive, Assertive, and Aggressive Speakers:

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Assertive Behavior

  • Generally the most productive behavior

  • Usually the most effective method of getting what you want while not taking advantage of others

  • Being assertive can create a win-win situation

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Assertiveness Steps

  • Step 1. Set an Objective:

    • Specify what you want to accomplish

  • Step 2. Determine how to create a win-win situation:

    • Assess the situation in terms of meeting your needs and the other person’s needs

  • Step 3. Develop an assertive phrase(s)

  • Step 4. Implement your plan persistently

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Anger and Violence in the Workplace

  • Human resources managers have reported increased violence between employees

    • Women commit nearly 25 percent of all threats or attacks

  • Violence between outsiders and employees is increasing

  • 1 million workers are assaulted every year

  • Anger can lead to violence

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Causes of Anger and Violence

  • Intrapersonal causes:

    • e.g., frustration, stress, and fear

  • Interpersonal unresolved conflicts

  • Physical work environment:

    • e.g., space to work, noise, odors, temperature, ventilation, and color

  • Hostile work environment

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Dealing with Your Anger

  • Use rational thinking

  • Look for positives

  • Look for the humor in the situation to help defuse the anger

  • Use assertive behavior

  • Develop a positive attitude about how you deal with anger

  • Use an anger journal

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Dealing with Anger of Others (1 of 2)

  • Never make any type of putdown statement

  • Don’t respond to anger and threats with the same behavior

  • Don’t give orders or ultimatums

  • Watch your nonverbal communication

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Dealing with Anger of Others (2 of 2)

  • Realize that anger is natural and encourage people to vent in appropriate ways

  • Acknowledge the person’s feelings

  • Get away from the person if necessary

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Signs of Potential Violence

  • Watch for indications of alcohol and drug use

  • Include the isolated employee

  • Look for the presence of weapons or objects that might be used as weapons

  • Take verbal threats seriously

  • Watch nonverbal communication

  • Watch for stalking and harassment

  • Watch for damage to property

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Organizational Prevention of Violence(1 of 2)

  • Train all employees to deal with anger and prevent violence

    • A written policy addressing workplace violence

    • Best preventive policy is a zero-tolerance policy

  • Quick disciplinary action against employees who are violent at work

  • Managers need to avoid using aggression at work

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Organizational Prevention of Violence(2 of 2)

  • Organizations can screen job applicants for past or potential violence

  • Develop a good work environment that addresses the issues as causes of violence

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Individual Prevention of Violence

  • Look for escalating frustration and anger to defuse the situation before it becomes violent

  • Never be alone with a potentially violent person

    • Never stand between the person and the exit

    • Know when to get away from the person

  • Be aware of the organization’s policy for calling in security help

  • Report any troubling incidents to security staff

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  • Exists whenever two or more parties are in disagreement

  • Is inherent in an organizational system

  • Can increase as the workforce becomes more diverse

  • Dealing with it is part of emotional intelligence

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Reasons for Conflict

  • Communications problems or conflicts arise for three primary reasons:

    • We fail to make our expectations known to other parties

    • We fail to find out the expectations of other parties

    • We assume that the other parties have the same expectations that we have

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Conflict Has Benefits

  • Conflict can be beneficial

  • A balance of conflict is essential to all organizations

  • Too little or too much conflict is usually considered a sign of management’s unwillingness or inability to adapt to a diversified environment

  • Conflict can lead to improved performance, for example:

    • Challenging present methods

    • Presenting innovative change

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Conflict Management Styles

Exhibit 7.4

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Summary of Conflict Management Styles

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Roles in Conflict Resolution




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Initiating Conflict Resolution

Step 1. Plan to maintain ownership of the problem using the XYZ model

Step 2. Implement your plan persistently

Step 3. Make an agreement for change

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The XYZ Model

  • The XYZ model describes a problem in terms of behavior, consequences, and feelings:

    “When you do X (behavior),

    Y (consequences) happens,

    and I have Z (feelings).”

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Responding to Conflict Resolution

Step 1. Listen to and paraphrase the problem using the XYZ model

Step 2. Agree with some aspect of the complaint

Step 3. Ask for, and / or give, alternative solutions

Step 4. Make an agreement for change

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Mediating Conflict Resolution

Step 1. Have each party state his or her complaint using the XYZ model

Step 2. Agree on the problem(s)

Step 3. Develop alternative solutions

Step 4. Make an agreement for change and follow up

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Interpersonal Dynamics Styles

Exhibit 7.6

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Your Personality and Interpersonal Dynamics (1 of 3)

  • People with the same personality type tend to get along better and have less conflict than those with different personality types

  • If you have a high surgency personality –

    • watch your use of the critical parent ego state

    • be sure to give lots of positive strokes to help human relations

    • be careful not to use aggressive behavior to get what you want

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Your Personality and Interpersonal Dynamics (2 of 3)

  • If you have a high agreeableness personality,

    • you tend to get along well with others

    • be careful not to use the sympathetic parent ego state

    • watch the appropriate use of the child ego state

  • Adjustment – is about how well you deal with your emotions

    • especially anger

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Your Personality and Interpersonal Dynamics (3 of 3)

  • There is a relationship between adjustment and openness to experience

    • If you are not well adjusted, you are probably not open to experience

  • If you are a high conscientious personality, you can still transact from the parent or child ego state

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