Dealing with Conflict


© 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved


Interpersonal Dynamics

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 Assertiveness

Conflict Management


Transactional Analysis (TA)

for determining how people interact When we interact, behavior can be:
passive aggressive assertive
 Performance

is greater with this behavior


is a method of understanding behavior in interpersonal dynamics


TA: Ego States

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

Ego State (P)

 Critical

parent  Sympathetic parent

Ego State (C)

 Natural

child  Adapted child

Ego State (A)


TA: Types of Transactions

ego states there are three different types of transactions:

Transactions Crossed Transactions Ulterior Transactions


Complementary Transactions

when the sender of the message gets the intended response from the receiver
 Generally





result in more effective communication


Crossed Transactions

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

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

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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TA: Life Positions
Attitude toward Oneself


I’m OK – You’re not OK

I’m OK – You’re OK


I’m not OK – You’re not OK

I’m not OK – You’re OK
Exhibit 7.1

Attitude toward Others

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TA: Stroking

– any behavior that implies recognition of another’s presence

– make people feel good about themselves Negative – can hurt people in some way

praise (positive stroking) is a powerful motivation technique

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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:

pushy” (aggressive) “not tough enough” (nonassertive-passive)

becoming more global

Behaviors when dealing with a diversity of people:

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Passive Behavior

Aggressive Behavior

Passive-Aggressive Behavior

Assertive Behavior

Passive, Assertive, and Aggressive Speakers:
Passive speakers: Use self-limiting qualifying expressions without stating their position / needs State their position / needs without violating the rights of others State their position / needs while violating the rights of others using “you-messages” and absolutes

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Assertive speakers:

Aggressive speakers:

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Assertive Behavior

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 Step

1. Set an Objective:
what you want to accomplish


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

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


3. Develop an assertive phrase(s) Step 4. Implement your plan persistently

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Anger and Violence in the Workplace

resources managers have reported increased violence between employees


commit nearly 25 percent of all threats or


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


frustration, stress, and fear


unresolved conflicts Physical work environment:

space to work, noise, odors, temperature, ventilation, and color


work environment

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Dealing with Your Anger

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)

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)

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

verbal threats seriously Watch nonverbal communication Watch for stalking and harassment Watch for damage to property

• 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

Organizational Prevention of Violence (1 of 2)

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all employees to deal with anger and prevent violence
written policy addressing workplace violence Best preventive policy is a zero-tolerance policy


disciplinary action against employees who are violent at work Managers need to avoid using aggression at work

Organizational Prevention of Violence (2 of 2)
 Organizations

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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

for escalating frustration and anger to defuse the situation before it becomes violent Never be alone with a potentially violent person

stand between the person and the exit Know when to get away from the person

aware of the organization’s policy for calling in security help Report any troubling incidents to security staff

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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

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

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:

present methods Presenting innovative change

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Conflict Management Styles

Exhibit 7.4

Summary of Conflict Management Styles
Forcing Conflict Style: Avoiding Conflict Style: Accommodating Conflict Style: Compromising Conflict Style: Collaborating Conflict Style: User attempts to resolve conflict by using aggressive behavior User attempts to passively ignore the conflict rather than resolve it User attempts to resolve conflict by passively giving in to the other party User attempts to resolve the conflict through assertive give-and-take concessions User assertively attempts to jointly resolve the conflict with the best solution agreeable to all parties. The problem-solving style

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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

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

Your Personality and Interpersonal Dynamics (1 of 3)

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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 –

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

Your Personality and Interpersonal Dynamics (2 of 3)

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you have a high agreeableness personality,

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

– is about how well you deal with your emotions

Your Personality and Interpersonal Dynamics (3 of 3)

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is a relationship between adjustment and openness to experience
you are not well adjusted, you are probably not open to experience


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

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