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Part 1: Construct a hypothetical conflict scenario: (Write it out in detail)

Part 2: Describe how the parties involved might approach the conflict using each of the following styles (be specific and detailed):

A. Avoidance:

B. Accommodation:

C. Competition:

D. Compromise:

E. Collaboration:

E. Step 1:

E. Step 2:

E. Step 3:

E. Step 4:

E. Step 5:

E. Step 6:

E. Step 7:

Module 14: Guided Reading
Chapter 11: Managing Conflict
Conflict: An expressed struggle between at least two interdependent parties who perceive incompatible
goals, scarce resources, and interference from the other party in achieving their goals.
Components of Conflict
Expressed struggle conveys the idea that conflict does not exist unless all the people involved
know that the disagreement exists, even if the expressed struggle is non-verbal.
Interdependence captures the notion that people in a conflict are connected.
Perceived incompatible goals refer to a situation where it seems as if the goals of those
involved are mutually exclusive, even when that is not the case.
Perception of scarce resources occurs when people believe there is not enough of something to
go around, such as affection, money, space, and time.
Inevitability addresses the fact that conflicts are bound to happen; the challenge is to handle
them effectively when they occur.
Conflict Styles
Ways to manage conflict:
Avoidance (lose-lose) occurs when people ignore or stay away from conflict either physically
or conversationally.
Accommodation (lose-win) occurs when we entirely give in to others rather than asserting
our own point of view.
Competition (win/lose) is an approach to conflict that involves high concern for self and low
concern for others, and can result in aggression.
A. Passive aggression occurs when a communicator expresses dissatisfaction in a disguised
B. Direct aggression occurs when a communicator attacks the position and dignity of the
Compromise (partial lose/lose) gives both people at least some of what they want, though
both sacrifice part of their goals.
Collaboration (win/win) seeks to apply win/win problem solving to conflict and involves a
high degree of concern for both self and others; the goal is to find a solution that satisfies
the needs of everyone involved.
A. The steps of collaboration:
1. Define your needs.
2. Share your needs with partner.
3. Listen to your partner’s needs.
4. Generate possible solutions.
5. Evaluate solutions and choose best one.
6. Implement solution.
7. Follow up on solution.
How to choose a conflict management style
The situation
The other person
Your goals
Conflict in Relational Systems
Complementary conflict style is when partners use different but mutually reinforcing behaviors.
Symmetrical conflict style is when both people use the same tactics.
A. An escalatory spiral occurs when partners treat each other with matching hostility, so that
one threat and insult leads to another.
B. A de-escalatory spiral results if participants withdraw from one another instead of facing
their problems.
Serial Arguments
Serial arguments are repetitive conflicts about the same issue.
Common causes and issues are:
Problematic behaviors
Personality characteristics
Communication styles
Communication practices
Toxic Conflict
The “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” The four destructive signs:
Criticism—attacks on a person’s character.
Defensiveness—protecting oneself by denying responsibility, and counterattacking.
Contempt—behavior or remarks which belittle and demean.
Stonewalling—the withdrawal of one person from the interaction, causing dialogue to shut
Conflict rituals are unacknowledged, but very real, repeating patterns of interlocking behavior.
Variables in Conflict Styles
Two powerful variables affect conflict-management:
Gender: Some research has suggested that men and women approach conflict differently.
Other researchers find that gender differences in handling conflict are, in fact, small.
Culture: The ways in which people resolve conflicts vary from one culture to another.
A. Individualists prefer competing while collectivists prefer compromising and problemsolving.
B. High and low context, conflict-avoidance, and race/ethnicity all play a role.

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