you you Oh in our last session we began our study of the theories of group communication specifically we looked at group goals group tasks climate we were looking at functional theories of how groups work today we’re going to continue in this session that same consideration of groups but we’re going to turn our attention to the nature of conflict and how best to me or at least what the options are to managing conflict within the group and we have again with us today our frequent guest speaker for her last appearance this semester dr. Robin Williamson from the University of st Thomas dr. Williams thank you has anyone never had a conflict conflict is the Big C word conflict is inevitable in any human relationship whether it’s interpersonal or groups or organizations conflict is inevitable and can result in either aggression or mutual understanding it all depends on how that conflict is handled now conflict exists whenever people are committed to incompatible courses of action designed to achieve some goal now that’s a mouthful basically what that means is whenever we have a disagreement or whenever we have different goals whenever we might have different strategies we can have a conflict a conflict is not necessarily a fight or an escalation or something ugly but it is a disagreement of some sort or an incompatibility of some sort conflict is very natural we need conflict in groups I know dr. Han has talked to you about groupthink group think is a very damaging problem that can occur when groups are too cohesive people never disagree they have lots of good vibrations and they all care about each other but sometimes they don’t have enough disagreement to come up with a good decision conflict solves that so conflict is very important because it solves a variety of problems like group think it can also end dissatisfaction through the reduction of rival claims which basically means if you have an idea and I have an idea and he has an idea and we talk about all of these things we can come up with a mutually satisfying solution which will be good for the entire group and which will certainly be good for the three of us now conflict has a variety of characteristics first of all it’s

dynamic which means it is ongoing and ever-changing like communication itself sometimes we think well we’ve talked about that we’ve solved that we don’t have to worry about that anymore and sure enough it’s back next week in some other form that’s the dynamic nature of conflict it’s ongoing and evolutionary even though we might solve it at one particular point in time it’s also relational for our purposes when we talk about conflict in interpersonal or group communication it is always relational now we can have other kinds of conflicts but that’s something different that would be something like cognitive dissonance that would be intrapersonal for our purposes it’s relational it’s between you and some other party it’s also contextual that means that it arises out of some particular situation now conflict does not arise in a vacuum do you remember in another lecture I was telling you about the couple that had a very intense argument over what television program to watch that was the context that their particular conflict arised from it was not necessarily the issue the issue was power and control but still that particular context gave rise to that conflict and then it’s perceptive or perceptual that means that we all have different views of things sometimes what we can think that we have a major disagreement when we do not sometimes we might have a disagreement and we’re not even aware of it so it’s all in the perception like RD Laing said on that on the direct perspective and the meta perspective and the meta meta perspective sometimes we might have a conflict on that meta meta perspective level and we’re not even aware of it so perception and the fact that conflict is perceptual is very important and then last of all conflict is disruptive no matter how good that conflict is no matter how that conflict clears the air brings important issues to the forefront it’s still disruptive if you’re going to solve that conflict you can’t go back and do things in the same way that you did before conflict will come right back just the way it did before so conflict is disruptive it forces you to change your normal ways of behaving in order to make that conflict resolve them so those are the important of characteristics of conflict now conflict can be of two particular types it can be distributive which is a competitive conflict it’s that win lose situation most competitions are distributive and that’s one reason why we have such bad feelings sometimes in a political arenas the last presidential election sir only caused a lot of competitive conflict why because it was a win-lose situation only one of those presidential candidates could win so there were lots of hurt feelings and in a distributive conflict there has to be a lot of repair done in order to hurt those feelings at to keep those hurt feelings from arising again a more productive kind of conflict is the integrative conflict this is where we have a mutual problem a cooperative view of the conflict situation this is an integrative conflict a win-win situation and you say well that’s not a conflict well yes it is because there still is a disagreement there still is an incompatibility but instead of looking at it as I’m going to win and take all the cookies and you know you just have to deal with it we think about well where can we share where can we come to a mutual understanding of what’s important in this conflict and that of course is the kind of conflict that we want in our relationships and our groups and our organizations if we can come to a mutual ownership of any problem that we might

have we have a much better chance of resolving that conflict now there are a variety of causes of conflict as well those conflicts can be procedural now procedural conflicts are ones where we agree on the goal but we might have different views of how we might resolve the particular conflict at hand we may have different methods or ways that we can solve the particular problem now a good example of that might be teaching reading to kindergartners or first graders now certainly all of the teacher want those children to learn how to read but there are a variety of different methods there’s the phonetic method there’s the looks a method there’s the whole language approach each of them viable in their own way and you might have a group of teachers each you know maybe three of them want phonetics and three of them want looks saying three of them want the whole language approach and they are entrenched in their particular points of view that would be a procedural conflict they certainly agree upon the goal it’s how it’s how to get there and that they are conflicted over a substantive conflict is more complex this is where people are disagreeing over the goal itself they don’t agree about the goal this is much more complex the first one as long as people keep two issues and don’t lambaste people about their attitudes or their personalities those kinds of conflicts usually can be solved nicely substantive and more problematic because you don’t have the same goal so that causes more difficulties an example of that might be I’ve had students that disagree with their parents over there major I had a young man one time who was studying communication and he was from Mexico and his dad wanted him to be a businessman and he wanted to be in the communication field he wanted to make his own films and he wanted to make videos and he wanted to run his own television station it was very talented dramatically and a wonderful sense of structure and in wonderful ideas for videos very very creative young men but he did not want to upset his father so he came up with a plan where we found what we call a superordinate goal we found a way to hook both ideas together we created a special joint major where he could satisfy his creative self but he could also satisfy his father he took a certain number of hours in the business school where he got a degree in management he also got a degree in communication he blended them together and now is running his television station in Mexico so his creative self was satisfied his business self was satisfied and he merged those two goals together you have to be more creative when you have one of these substantive problems because usually you have to go out of the box in order to solve that problem the most difficult kind of problem is an interpersonal one because we’re not worrying about issues like we were in the first two we’re worrying more about people and their attitudes their values their beliefs their abilities I’m a swim team mom I’ve seen lots of interpersonal conflicts over my 12 years as a swim team mom and some of them have not been too pleasant I’ve seen coaches and parents lambaste poor little children who didn’t win their races because of their abilities now certainly the child was going as fast as he or she could but but mom or pop or the coach was not pleased with that particular ability at that particular time those kinds of conflicts tend to be

the most destructive and they’re very sad because certainly the child is doing as well as he or she can sometimes our attitudes conflict sometimes our values can and it’s much more difficult to handle a destructive interpersonal conflict than it is one over issues now how do we manage all of these different kinds of conflicts well first of all we have for prerequisites to handle conflicts the first thing we have to do no matter what kind of conflict we have whether it’s procedural substantive or interpersonal distributive or integrative is we have to focus on cooperation and not competition we have to own it as a mutual problem as a mutual a mutual situation to handle together mutual ownership is the key not I’m going to win I’m going to get my own way and I’m going to take my marbles and go home if you don’t do what I say that can only cause problems in the future acknowledged also that a problem exists sometimes this is one of the most difficult things to acknowledge actually that a problem exists it’s so much easier to avoid it it’s so much easier to sweep it under the rug than it is to confront and be assertive that a situation exists that’s not healthy for our group or our organization or our relationship the third thing that we have to do is hope for a change we have to want to change the situation and then lastly we have to be willing to take action we may have the first three but actually making ourselves change is difficult to take action to change our behaviors to be assertive to actually work together to solve these problems sometimes seems insurmountable but very necessary to clear the air and get rid times of outmoded ways of doing things now there are a variety of methods that we can use to manage problems I don’t ever say solve problems but manage problems the first is one that is probably the most useful and the one that we want to focus on when we have problems in our group of situations and this comes out of Dewey this is the problem solution discussion method and this is where we identify the problem we discuss the scope and ramifications of the problem we brainstorm we come up with all of the possible solutions that we can to solve that problem then we discuss the consequences of each proposed solution then we way depending on the pros and the cons that we come up with then we choose that best solution evaluate it and implement it now we have a fudge factor here in the implementation process if our solution doesn’t work then we go back and brainstorm some more now when we were talking before about thinking in previous lectures we gave specific examples of Dick and Jane and what they would do with their particular situation now they had a variety of possibilities and so what they would do is they would go through this problem solution discussion method to come up with the pros and the cons to solve a very difficult situation now we use this situation when we’re still talking to each other we have to be able to still discuss we have to be able to talk to each other we have to be able to be rational people who are too rigid in their own points of view may need another kind of methodology to solve the problem this works best with win-win people or integrative situations now when people tend to be more entrenched in their own points of view and have more difficulty seeing what other people are suggesting for them then that the next two methodologies role-playing and simulation games are very useful the role-playing situation

is where a usually as some sort of mediator or facilitator has you play a role very much like your situation but you take the opposite side of who you are and so you play out the other person and their feelings this helps you get a grip on where the other person is coming from role plays are very useful as suddenly you realize aha that’s what the other person is saying to me simulation games are very similar and I’m going to talk about some a little bit later in the lecture this is the gaming approach of conflict but with simulation games we develop a scenario where we actually have to play a game where we cooperate and in that cooperation we realize that we can come together form one of these superordinate goals and solve our problem and I’ll give you some specifics a little bit later in the lecture and then when nothing else works and this is this is the type of situation where you are you cannot get off dead center you bring in a third party mediator to help you solve your problem and what this person does is the mediator listens to both sides of the situation suggests possible courses of action you will go back to your camps you figure out what you can agree on you figure out what you cannot possibly tolerate come back to the me again share those things go back again after the mediator has come up with some possible solutions you figure out the ones in your particular groups that you can live with and then the mediator chooses for you what course of action you are going to take that is probably the least satisfying method because it’s the mediator who makes the decision not the two parties involved in the particular group much better when we can own our own situations our own conflicts come up with our own resolutions will be much happier if we can come up with our own solutions but sometimes that’s not possible if people are too rigid they cannot come up with their own solutions so we turn to a third party and this is very real in the world real world think of all the sports mediation problems there was a gasoline when a few years ago with baseball and basketball where players can agree on conflicts numerous labor problems in a variety of organizations so this is a very common method to use but it’s not one that we really want to use better that we’ve solve our own problems so looking at this just brief overview let’s now turn to a conflict model that helps us put all of this in to model form in a picture what happens in the conflict situation is that we have differentiation we have different goals or different ways of doing things different ideas and we realize that that’s part of the differentiation process we have to clarify those particular differences and positions thoroughly for the other person now once we do this our problem solution method can go in a variety of ways if we are inflexible there are two ways that our conflict can go on first of all it can go in the inflexible way with spiraling escalation what do you think that’s going to cause anybody what if we have spiraling escalation what are we going to have anybody a fight you know that you know if you’re constantly arguing if you escalate your conflict you’re going to have a fight okay that’s one thing that can happen but we can also have something else we can equally have an inflexible situation where we have rigidity and this is where people avoid conflicts instead of bringing those conflicts out in the open we

refuse to talk about them we may know that we disagree with someone but we either verbally or non-verbally agree to disagree and we have silence well that might be fine for the short term but it’s not so good for the long term because the conflict does not go away and it will rear its ugly head in some form in some other context some other time so neither of these ways are particularly functional in solving problems what we do want is the integration approach where somehow we find some sort of common ground where we can share our ideas about solution come to that super ordinate goal and band together for the best possible solution for the group one of my favorite stories is the hobbit anybody read the hobbit it’s if you haven’t read it you’re still not too old to read it it’s a it’s a book for children of all ages you can even get it on tape you know if you spend a lot of time in your car it’s a great way to kill seven or eight hours on the road it’s a wonderful book and of course it’s all it’s a story it’s a story about conflict it’s a story about bravery it’s a story about greed and revenge and great heroic behaviors toward the end of the book the dwarfs find their family treasure of thanks to the hobbit and they are entrenched in their mountain and they’re not going to share their gold with the men of the lake town and the men of Dale and the elves who helped destroy the dragon because they’re greedy and there they would rather die over there gold then share one twelfth of it to help the men of the town and the men of Dale who lost their whole town’s trying to defeat the dragon it was only fair that they share that one twelfth of their gold for the dragon for defeating the dragon because other people defeated their major foe so they could get their treasure back well they’re about to come to blows in a field and they are just starting to fight each other when mutual enemies come from the south the goblins and the trolls and the wolves and all that are all creatures that are evil come to try to destroy them all well they realize that they better band together quickly in order to save their lives as well as save the treasure and so immediately they band together as a group and they fight very heroically together to defeat a common foe now we in our own lives don’t have too many trolls and goblins to deal with at least in fairytale form we may have trolls and Dragons in our workplaces sometimes or in our groups but how do we defeat those forces that are not good well we have to come together and come up with a superordinate goal to help us defeat those things that are dysfunctional for our groups so we have to come together just like the forces did in The Hobbit we have to find that common ground as well this helps us move toward a solution through problem solving and so that’s what we want in our conflicts we don’t want that inflexible kind of thinking which can either spiral out of control to a knock-down-drag-out fight or spiral into avoidance and silence where we have that conflict festering and it will only come back later to be even a greater wound later we have to find this common ground that enables us to solve problems now let’s talk to talk about a variety of conflict theories and their numerous ones these are just a few of them to give us insight into conflict

and conflict management the first theory that I’d like to talk about has to do with aggression aggression is a dominant trait or tendency and this particular theory gives us an explanation why we might have conflict in the first place there are various different forms of aggression ones that are more likely to be solved in a satisfactory way and ones that are not likely to be solved in a satisfactory way aggression can actually be classified as constructive or destructive constructive conflict aims to improve communication or the relationship itself destructive conflict causes dissatisfaction or harms a relationship aggression then consists of four traits to being destructive and to being destructive the first positive or constructive trait is assertiveness now assertiveness involves positive action it involves putting forth one’s own ideas without harming others how do we do that will we do that by being directive where we say what’s on our minds we do it by being socially assertive we stand up for our own rights and interests that doesn’t mean that we call other people names that doesn’t mean that we don’t say other people can have their own rights and interests but we defend our own right to say what we think and have our own ideas and we are also independent we can say no if it does not agree with our own attitudes values and beliefs we avoid conformity for conformities sake so assertiveness is a very important skill it helps us defend our own rights in a conflict situation and our own ideas the second positive trait is argumentative pneus this is a tendency to approach argument anybody know a debater any debater is argumentative this is also a positive type of aggression because the person engages in conversations about controversial topics they’re not afraid to say I vote no on the death penalty or I vote yes on the death penalty and they are going to be able to support their own point of view they’re going to have max & main points and supporting material that well supports their point of view and they’re also able to refute the opposing beliefs what does it take to be good at argumentative pneus well first of all you got to know something you’ve got to do your research you’ve got to know about your particular issue and you also have to know something about debate you have to know something about argument in some of our classes in communication we teach persuasion skills we teach you how to be able to support ideas support your main ideas through argument so a certain number of skills are necessary in order to be successful with argumentative pneus now when people are not very effective in the positive aggressive skills maybe they turn to the negative ones or the destructive ones the first one is hostility now hostility is a tendency to display anger and obviously this is negative if people can’t express themselves successfully and influence others in their beliefs many times they’ll become hostile and therefore dimensions of being hostile one is irritability now we’ve all met those irritable people these are those porcupine personalities you never know when they’re going to you know flick out those quills they’re just really testy people they’re kind of like babies with wet diapers you never know when they’re going to cry sort of those gripe gripe gripe types and they’re not real pleasant to be around and they certainly make our lives more complex in groups negative people and are different from irritable people there the old

half-empty sorts no matter what they have it’s not enough no matter what wonderful thing has their way they don’t have something else it’s the it’s the old half empty rather than half full resent in people or people who harbor resentment cannot be happy for other people Wow so you got an article published hmm I didn’t get an article published I’m not happy we all have gifts and graces that we have been given if we can be happy in our own gifts and graces the successes that we’ve had then we can be much happier for other people when they have wonderful things happen to them and will be a lot happier in our lives if we can be happy for other people as well as ourselves and then suspicion of other people’s intentions hmm this person was really nice to me today I wonder what they want that is the suspicious person instead of thinking oh boy I really needed a break thank goodness this person game came along to help me um we want to avoid hostility in our lives because basically it makes us unhappy and it certainly makes us makes other people unhappy who are around us another very negative and very destructive of aggressive trait is verbal aggressiveness this is an actual attempt to hurt someone through through language emotionally through verbal aggression the verbal aggressive person attacks the ego or the self concept of the other person while arguments on the other hand attack ideas and beliefs as long as you’re not nasty it’s fine to argue over ideas and beliefs it’s not nice not functional to attack the ego or the self concept of someone else these types of things could be a tactics like insults or profanity or threat or emotional outbursts there’s nothing more embarrassing than an adult having a two-year-old temper tantrum you know like how can you be so stupid or dummy those are not nice words but they can severely hurt somebody else the results of these things are anger or embarrassment or hurt feelings now there are a variety of causes of these things transference transference is where you might have had an experience in the past that gives you some great hurt you might see somebody who reminds you may be of a person that you’ve dealt with in the past who you had problems with so you unleash all of the past invectives that you couldn’t unleash before on this poor hapless person that’s one that’s a psychological reason for why this occurs disdain people who disdain are contemptuous of other people there have been some wonderful films to illustrate that I don’t know if any of you like French films but I love French films and one of my favorite ones is not a real pleasant one but it certainly gives us pause to think it’s called lay liaison danza ruse there was a a english version made a while back with Glenn Close Dangerous Liaisons there’s a wonderful film to show how the cruel intentions of some people just for the sake of sport can destroy others there was a recent teen film about that called cruel intentions it’s an excellent film a modern-day version of cruelty for cruelty sake and the destruction that that causes in everybody’s life social learning is another example sometimes we learn to be aggressive through poor role models in our lives if we have a parent or a peer or a coach who is insulting to other people we may become that way as well and that’s very unfortunate there’s a lot of great research out I know dr. Han has talked about social learning theory with Albert bandura and how children can

actually through viewing violent videos become more aggressive in their play while children who do not view those videos become neutral or cooperative in there play so role modeling is very important and then lastly having an argumentative skill deficiency Archie Bunker is one of my is the great examples of that he couldn’t argue with anybody so he called everybody names so when people you know don’t have those skills what do they do they call people names they insult them because they don’t have the skills necessary to create their own arguments this is a very good theory because it gives us an idea of why people do what they do and in different conflict situations because of certain kinds of traits we have to remind ourselves that all theories are like road maps they tell us where we’re going they queue us to certain kinds of variables that were using for explanation but they give us only part of the puzzle there are very few all-encompassing theories another very interesting theory is the psychodynamic approach this theory explains how we might respond to conflict based on Freudian principles now the mind is a reservoir of psychic energy which much must be channeled according to Freud there are three major components which guide this energy first of all the it and I know you’ve all heard of the it’d before the it is the pleasure principle this is the great source of energy and our lives this is our spontaneous selves then we have the super-ego this is the shall nuts which constrains that energy and helps us not go overboard in certain situations and the ego our rational self is the mediator of the two we have a constant struggle in our lives between these three elements which causes us conflict now Ford says that we have two responses to conflict situations we can be aggressive towards self and others if we’re aggressive toward ourselves we’d appreciate ourselves or we attack the other or we can have anxiety where we have a great fear of inadequacy a great example of that is any Woody Allen film he is a wonderful his characters are wonderful examples of Freudian anxiety and he’s constantly fearful of inadequacy of being judged of not doing the right thing and so what Freud gives us an idea about is how r it our super ego and our ego are constantly at war with one another and how this can turn is either to aggression or anxiety so how we react sometimes to certain conflict situations one of my very favorite theories is Kurt Lewin’s field theory now this is a more global explanation of a person’s behavior both in groups and conflict Kurt Lewin is one of the premier group investigators he goes back you know at least 50 years maybe 60 years and his group analysis his key term is a word called life space which refers to a person’s conception of important goals and barriers as well as the requirements necessary to attain goals so life space is a very important idea now there are five principles governing Kurt Lewin’s theory of conflict the most important idea is that one’s perception are the key and I have a story to tell you that illustrates this point I think very well I can’t take credit for this story I stole it from my husband he used it as an illustration one time there was a man by the name of George Danzig and George was going to graduate school at the university of chicago during the Depression he was a wonderful mathematician and we all know what happened during the Depression people

didn’t have very much money well George was brilliant and his family his mother and father and even his brothers and sisters worked all sorts of extra jobs in order to get George through the University of Chicago not an inexpensive institution but certainly one of the finest well he had made straight A’s all through his undergraduate career and he was one of four who was being considered for a Teaching Fellowship which would allow him to go on and pursue higher academic training he did not have the money to continue his academics if he didn’t get that fellowship there were other children in the family who needed to go to college as well and his parents were wearing out after so much work and so he knew that he would be on his own if he couldn’t get this fellowship so he worked very very hard and it came down to the last test in the last exam that he was going to take and so he studied for weeks for this exam and it was one of these ghastly higher level calculus classes that’s so hard you can’t even cheat for it it’s so hard so George was um studying for this final exam and he studied all night and he fell asleep about five in the morning and the test was at nine he woke up at nine o’clock throwing his clothes realized he was going to be late but he was only 15 minutes late he realized he had the perception that he could finish the exam in that time the two hours and 45 minutes that he had left well he the professor was had already left but had left the test on the you know on the table and so he took his slide rule no calculators in those days Annie went to work on the eight problems that were on the sheet of paper and he finished all eight in record time and then there were two more on the board and he thought now why did the professor put two more on the board and he thought oh well you know these professors they’re all odd and so he thought well I’ll start on number nine he said I only have eighty percent at this point this is Abby it’s certainly respectable but it’s not an a I’ve got to get any on this exam so he worked and he worked and he worked on problem nine is the worst thing he had ever seen in his life it was absolutely unsolvable but he said this is part of the exam I have to solve this problem I will solve it well he hadn’t finished it by the time the professor came back and he went up to the professor and said I had two more questions to complete I seem to be a little bit slow today and the professor said okay George I know you’re a fine student I want you to do well on this exam the other people have all finished the exam you need to finish this exam so he said I’ll give you till tomorrow morning I know you can do it so George went home and he worked all day at two in the morning he finished problem nine he was thrilled he had an a said well if nothing else I’m going to have my four point and it doesn’t matter if I don’t get them if I don’t get the Teaching Fellowship it’s okay I know probably one of the other guys that I’m in contention for has probably solved this problem so he got a nut big pot of coffee and started on problem 10 he couldn’t do it it was very depressed and so with a heavy heart he went and turned in his exam and went home and fell asleep by this time he had 48 hours with no sleep he was in this deep doze and out of this haze he heard this frantic knocking on his door and this calling George George finally he stumbled to the door and opened the door and there was his professor jumping around in the hall well his professor had never jumped and he thought what is the matter with this man and he said George George you have made mathematical history and he said what by getting ninety percent on the exam he said oh no George you got a hundred percent on the exam you solved one of Ernst ines unsolvable problems I just put them on the dope the board to give the class um confidence that even Einstein couldn’t solve some of the

problems and I knew that the test was hard and I knew that a lot of the class wouldn’t be able to solve those problems so I just wanted to make them feel happy that even Einstein couldn’t solve some problems and you solved one of Einstein’s unsolvable problems great story because because of his perception that this was not an unsolvable problem he solved it so perception is always the key in any kind of conflict situation the second idea is that one evaluates one’s position in a relationship to other people George had evaluated himself in this particular lifespace situation there were three other people he was in contention for so he was going to go all out to do his very best one moves toward goals in one’s life space George was moving toward that teaching fellowship he wanted to be a professor of higher education and he was going to study and work and extend himself as much as he could to to achieve that particular goal there are barriers or conflicts to attaining goals he certainly had barriers and conflicts there were horrible unsolvable problems mathematical problems that he had to solve he also had people who were just as good as he was who might solve those problems so he had barriers in his life to achieving his goals and then lastly behavior can be explained by knowing a person’s goals George went all out he went after those two last problems even though they were really difficult in order to get that goal he didn’t know however that they were unsolvable and so he was able to solve an unsolvable problem achieved his goal went on and got his PhD at the University of Chicago and became a famous mathematical professor at Stanford University and so kurt lewin in his theory helps us explain that human behavior is a movement through life space affected by all kinds of different forces and this theory can be applied to any group any conflict in any situation another very interesting theory is the social influence theory and this theory seeks to answer the question why do people behave aggressively even when social norm and pressures frown on aggression the answer lies in the complex relationship between coercion and aggression now coercion can be defined as threats or punishments to influence behavior now what we have to remember is that not all coercion is aggressive for example the firefighter that hustles people out of a burning building maybe in a very very coercive way to save their lives or the lifeguard who might have to restrain a flailing victim in order to save that person’s life aggression on the other hand is where there are antisocial motives behind the coercion there is intended harm behind what you’re doing now some examples of that might be abuse coercion on the other hand is perceived as aggression when it is not legitimized by social norm any abuse under any situation is not justifiable coercion on the other hand might be justifiable so people use coercive power when they believe the coercion is warranted and when the actor will not be accused of aggression of something that intends harm for example suppose a parent roughly jerks a small child’s hand away from the light socket that child has has managed to get that one of those little

little safety devices out of the light socket and is just about to put that little finger in there and receive a potentially life-threatening jolt the parent isn’t going to say Johnny don’t do that they will probably rush over jerk that hand away and prevent that child from electrocuting him or herself that is certainly a coercive act that is justifiable because the parent is saving the child’s life or the parent the child might be in the middle of the street the parent rushes from the curb they go hurtling across the road as we see in movies sometimes and saves that child from certain death another very coercive behavior but certainly a justifiable one abuse on the other hand is not justifiable another perspective is the human relations perspective and this perspective is different than the ones that we’ve talked about before because it tells us about different styles of conflict behavior now what the human relationships perspective does it assumes that the nature and quality of relationships play a large role in productivity and satisfaction two major components of conflict Behavior all conflict behavior are assertiveness which is self-oriented behavior and cooperativeness which is other oriented behavior and from those two major variables of five styles emerge from those behaviors this approach comes from Blake and Mouton and dr hon we’ll be talking about Blake and mouton’s managerial grid which is very similar but talks about managerial behavior in organizations but this is another one of their theories that’s also very useful there are five particular styles the competing style occurs when a person uses high assertive behavior and low cooperative behavior this is the very dominant person who is in a win-lose mode this person is going to get his or her way no matter what they don’t care about cooperating they are going to get their way the accommodating person on the other hand is the direct opposite to the competing person the accommodating person has very low assertive behavior and high cooperative behavior this is the appeasing person this is the submissive person whatever you say it doesn’t matter what we do as long as we’re all happy this is the person who wants to be happy and once everybody else to be happy no matter what so they are into the lose win orientation they would rather lose than have conflict in their situation and and have the harmony of the group disrupted the avoiding person is one of is kind of that middle ground there to going to do absolutely nothing they are low assertive and low cooperative and more likely than not when things heat up in a group they’re going to excuse themselves and go away they avoid conflict at all costs or they might abruptly change the topic so that the conflict cannot be solved they avoid conflict at all costs now the two most functional approaches are the collaborative and the compromising approach the collaborative approach is the one that we’re after it of course is the one that’s most difficult to do where we have both highest tsardom pneus and high cooperativeness this is the integrative approach that we’ve been talking about where we try to find that mutual ground where we find some sort of common goal that we can both work on and so this approach promotes win-win the compromising approach is the is the intermediate approach in both and this

works too it’s probably not quite as effective as the collaborative approach but it still works this is kind of the horse trading approach where we have sharing I’m going to win a little bit but I’m going to lose a little bit as well and this works you know fairly well for a lot of groups not quite as good as as the collaborative approach but it still works this is the area of bargaining and negotiation where we put all our ideas on the table and we figure out what we can what we can live with and what we can’t live with and we’re going to lose a little bit but we’re going to win some too so there’s a sense of some winning and some losing another approach which is which I alluded to previously in types of conflict solving methods is the experimental gaming approach and this is where we learn conflict skills and principles of cooperative behavior through games or at least being aware of gaining approaches the first type of approach is social exchange and this comes from tebow and Kelly now this is a very interesting idea it’s been used a lot in interpersonal communication as well and it assumes first of all the interdependence of the participants and that conflict behavior involves rewards and costs it uses an economic metaphor to explain why people do what they do in conflicts and in groups people will be hey in terms of their own self-interest they’re going to try to maximize rewards and minimize costs what are some rewards that we might have in relationships and in groups what are some rewards somebody what’s a reward that you get think of a group that you belong to what’s a reward that you might have in that group inclusion what else cohesive pneus friendship a common goal you know certainly things that you do in groups you can satisfy a better with a group than you can do by yourself now let’s look at conflict in groups what would be a good outcome of conflict in groups you might clear the air right you might um get rid of some practice that you’ve had for 25 years it doesn’t work okay you might get rid of things that aren’t good for the group but what are some costs of both groups and conflict in groups what’s a big you know think of a group that you’re really involved with what’s your biggest cost time time a group that you’re really involved with takes time relationships take time what might be a cost in conflict in groups anybody hurt feelings somebody might get their feelings hurt even though the conflict may be necessary so what you got to do according to tibo and Kelly is that you have to outweigh the rewards with the costs and you will probably stay in the group if the rewards outweigh the costs but there’s a fudge actor there and they call it the comparison level of alternatives and the comparison level of alternatives is that you usually stay in a conflict or stay in a group if you see no other option you might keep arguing if you can’t come up with a good solution for your problem or you might stay in your group situation if you see no other option for yourself there’s no other group that says rewarding for you even though it has a great cost to you in time or energy or money or whatever or stress so this is a very good theory because it tells us why we stand relationships and why we stay in groups I’ve found through the years that it’s one of my students

favorite theories because they go whoa that’s why I stayed in that relationship or that’s why I stayed in that grip or that’s why I continue that conflict the rewards outweigh the costs now a totally different gaming approach is done through actual games themselves and I’m going to draw you a few pictures here the first type of game and this this these theories also have some of the same ideas that tebow and Kelly did that people are interdependent and that there are rewards and costs associated with these games now the first type of game we call prisoner’s dilemma or a matrix game and I can’t seem to draw straight can I and what you do is you have a quadrant with two major variables and the two major variables have to do at least in prisoner’s dilemma with remaining silent and confessing this is the most famous of these games prisoner’s dilemma and remaining silent and confessing and this is a game of trust and what it teaches people to do in situations is trust one another and cooperative and through a whole variety of others like 10 or 12 situations where they either confess or trust if they both remain silent they both get a a one if one remains silent they get a two but if they confess they get a minus 2 and the same over here in this situation if they remain silent they get a 2 but if they confess and they get a minus 2 if they both confess they get a minus 1 and what that what people learn to do through this type of thing they first start out confessing because because they think that you know they’ll get more get more points that way and so they think though they’ll do that and they also want to take points away from the other person what they both have to do to win is remain silent and so they learn through a series of rounds that if they both remain silent they’re both going to come out better at the end that’s one kind of these games another kind of one of these types of games is called a negotiation game and a good example of that is the Acme bolt game and this is where people actually play with little cars there are three tracks and what the people are I can’t draw a real well obviously what people are told to do is that they want to get across the track as fast as they possibly can now what’s going to happen if they both go this way they’re going to crash or they’re going to have an impasse nobody’s going to get anywhere so what they have to learn real fast is that they have to take turns and one can go this way one time at while the other person goes this way and then the other time the other person will go this way and this one about this one so they learn again to cooperate and if they both cooperate they win the third type of game is called star power and it’s a coalition game and what people learn is to maximize their power even if they don’t have any and what’s star power is it’s a as a cooperation coke coalition building game and what happens in this game is they all have a group of chips and they pass out those chips I used to have this game and somehow in one of our many moves we lost it and I used to teach a class here that I don’t think as taught anymore it was called communication in the classroom and I had the sharpest class one time after two rounds they figured out the game and they knew exactly what to do what happens is some of these chips have more value than others and you trade chips

over about oh maybe two or three rounds and after that the mediator or the facilitator tells the group well some of you and it’s usually only three people have all of the power and the rest of you only have one a you know hundreds of that power well this group immediately figured out well if we pull all of our chips we’re going to have as much power as this group of people and we we will be able to better negotiate through out the rest of the game most groups aren’t that sharp you know they argue among themselves and they try to steal each other’s chips this group knew immediately that if they were going to survive in this type of situation that they had to cooperate that they had to build a coalition these games are extremely useful and they’re all called simulation games because sometimes when people are moderately rigid in their own points of view and they are not cooperating with one another if they find themselves in a game situation in a game approach then they realize oh I see what I have to do I have to cooperate I have to work with other people and if I work with other people then I will cooperate and there certainly are insights gained people learn interdependence they learn cooperation they also learn strategic calculation if I do X then this will be the result and that through an exchange of moves and countermoves in the game situation can also approximate approximate real life of that life to a degree is like a game of chess certainly the move that you make will impact the counter move that somebody else makes if you move in a cooperative way allowing the other person to move in a cooperative way then perhaps you can better get together and then certainly the consequences for certain of these behaviors non-cooperative pneus can lead toward impasse or disaster for you in the game it can also lead to those things in a real life situation now the limitations of this approach say that people always know their options well you do in a game but sometimes you don’t know all of your options in real life it also assumes that you know all of the possible outcomes or options that you might have you might be able to figure it out in a game after a while but again in real life it’s more complex and so all of this leads to the ultimate criticism that gaming is an oversimplification yes it probably is but it does have use in certain types of situations where people are entrenched in rigid points of view so the gaming approach is a useful approach the last theory that I’d like to talk about has to do with intergroup conflict research now this is a very interesting approach that helps us understand why we can have conflict between groups most of these theories that I’ve talked about have to do with conflict conflict behaviors of the individual conflict behaviors within a group this one has to do with conflict between groups this approach also says that conflict is inevitable and that a win-lose orientation is always behind the conflict but it also says that some people are not going to be drawn into these kinds of conflicts some are and some aren’t the root cause of conflict theory between groups finds itself in identity theory an identity theory comes from our friends in psychology specifically gordon allport who was a major researcher in the 50s and 60s he said that we define ourselves according to the groups that we belong to who’s in and who’s out has anybody had that

experience boy go to any junior high or high school and you fit can figure out pretty quick who’s in and who’s out there is a sense of group identity by what people wear how they position themselves non-verbally how they talk to each other special code symbols or signs that they share and unfortunately this is a basis for prejudice and stereotyping and ultimately conflict if we’re in a particular group and somebody isn’t we might stereotype that person or if we’re in the out and somebody is in a group we might stereotype that person as a snob not worthy of knowing etc have we all experienced this I think so I think so unfortunately people we see this in society between different cultural groups between different ethnic groups between different socio-economic groups the haves and the have-nots sometimes they have nots have much greater insights than the haves but unfortunately sometimes the haves never realize that because they’re too entrenched in their own particular world and are not aware of the insights of the other group due to stereotyping and Prejudice we are taught categorization early on in life through language and labeling and this is an unfortunate factor of our language system and many times our style of communicating is tied to a particular social group I’m I’ve been teaching for a long time now over 25 years and I find it’s very interesting how youth language has changed over the years now when i was in school bad meant bad you know something bad you know you didn’t want to do that now bad is good right so it’s amazing how our style of communicating is tied to a particular social group or age group or whatever and many times we might not pay attention to somebody because of their age or how they look or how they talk I’ve had I had a went to a conference this weekend that was very very interesting and there was a young man in our particular group who it this was a conference on intergenerational conflict and trying to bring the generations together there’s a young man who had his hair in braids and he had several earrings and he used a particular kind of a kind of hip-hop language and but he had the most incredible insights of everybody in the group and the immediate first impression of everyone in the group was immediately shattered by his wonderful insights what if we hadn’t listened to him we would have all been deficient in this experience he was wonderful he was he was one of the most profound young people I have ever met in my life I certainly enriched my life so we have to remember that with our intergroup conflict that sometimes people who are on the outs who may be who may look different than we do who may sound different than we do may have wonderful insights that will enrich our life but we know certainly through film and plays and certainly life’s experiences with civil rights and other such issues that there can be very some very serious and damaging intergroup conflicts one of my favorite musicals is West Side Story there was the conflict between the Jets and the Sharks you know to youth gangs and neither the twain should meet except through Tony and Maria and they they threw away all our their differences and developed a wonderful love relationship this of course is based on Shakespeare’s

wonderful moving tragedy Romeo and Juliet another moving tragedy of group differences now this was two families the Montagues and the Capulets we’ve heard of the Hatfields and the McCoys even in Tom Sawyer or was it Huckleberry Finn there was a huckleberry finn there was a situation where a little boy went off to shoot his neighbor and the hut said why are you doing that and he said I don’t know we’ve always done that you know so one of the things that we have to remember through intergroup conflict is that just because we disagree with one another as a group or maybe we have differences maybe we come from different families or maybe we come from different parts of the world that we have to cut through all that prejudice and stereotyping and language differences and maybe differences in attitudes and beliefs to realize that we have a great deal to share and we certainly know that differentiation of groups can lead to serious kinds of conflicts which lead to exaggerated differences and these can lead to self-fulfilling prophecies one of my very favorite theories has to do with self-fulfilling prophecies now I’m I think probably dr. Han has already talked to you a little bit about self-fulfilling prophecies a self-fulfilling prophecy just to recap is a false definition of the situation that makes that situation come true you know how often is a maybe a youth in school ostracized because they look different or they act different and they are not allowed to be who they are and so because they’re ostracized they will behave in socially in acceptable ways and they fill fulfill that self-fulfilling prophecy one of my favorite musicals is a man of lamancha and I love the story of Dulcinea and of Don Quixote and how Don Quixote a man of higher rank comes to this in of course he’s a little confused mentally but he comes to this in and he sees the lowest of the low Aldonza the kitchen maid who has less than perfect virtue and he calls her Dulcinea his lady instead of Aldonza and he sees her through different eyes you know she is abused she is treated as the lowest of the low as if she has no worth in life and that’s the way she behaves well through Don Cayo Quixote’s kindness he treats her like the lady that he wants her to be that she can be through kind treatment and by the end of the play when he is dying she suddenly realizes yes I can be somebody different he has taught me that I can be a lady I can have dreams I can have goals I can achieve things we can do this with our groups as well with our diff our intergroup conflict we can realize that all people in all groups have much to give us have much to offer us that we need to set aside those stereotypes and those prejudices and those biases so that we can if we have a conflict situation we can come together and solve it successfully and bring all of the richness of both of our groups to solve that conflict so we have talked today about a whole myriad of conflict theories we first started out with a definition of conflict that conflict is inevitable that it has certain kinds of characteristics that it’s dynamic and perceptual that it is disruptive even if it’s good it’s disruptive we have talked about how conflict can go in two different ways it can either be positive

or it can be negative it can be distributive it can be integrative and it depends on how we look at those conflicts how we manage those conflicts what it actually turns into being whether it’s positive or negative and then we looked at a whole variety of theories that helped us realize not only how we behave in conflict based on certain kinds of traits or styles that meet we might have on how we might look at conflicts in terms of rewards or costs stay in them or get out of them according to those rewards and costs we also look at conflict also from a global perspective that our perception sometimes in conflicts are the key if we think that those conflicts can be solvable like George dancing did that they aren’t unsolvable then sometimes we can solve the most difficult conflicts facing us in our groups or our organizations and then lastly we have to remember that even if we’re very different from other people even if we have totally different ideas and needs and goals that we still can come together if we set aside those prejudices and biases and work together and find that super ordinate goal and ultimately come with us up with a satisfying solution for all of us thank you very much appreciate your finger what those give our hand you you you