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Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne Department of Communication
COM 42300 – Leadership, Communication And Organizations  – Fall Semester 2016 –  Instructor: Irwin Mallin

Conflict Analysis
Due at Beginning of Class on Tuesday, December 6

This paper is your chance to apply the ideas we talk about to an organizational conflict that you have been involved in.  Choose a conflict or “fight” you had recently as part of your membership in a workplace or other organization.   It is preferable to choose one that was frustrating and/or that failed to solve the problem at hand. Organize the paper into the following sections, using the following section headings, exactly as they appear here:

I. The Conflict: Explain what the conflict was about.  Although this is the section of the paper that will appear first, it’s actually the section that you should write last, as explained below.

II. Approach: Was the conflict handled in a distributive or integrative manner?  What specific things that the parties did or said lead you to this conclusion?  If distributive, how could the parties have handled this conflict in an integrative manner?  

III. Positions and Interests: What were each side’s positions and interests?  What specific things could they have done to integrate their interests?  Would this have been desirable or not?  Why?

IV. Third-Party Intervention: Did any third-parties attempt to intervene in the conflict?  Who were they?  Were they managers, "unofficial peacekeepers," or outsiders?  What did they try to do in their intervention?  Which, if any, of the behaviors associated with manager-intervenors (handout in class) or of "unofficial peacemakers" (Kolb, as discussed in class) did they engage in?  On balance, did they make the situation better or worse?  Why?  If none, would a third-party have helped?  Why or why not?

Your goal is to demonstrate that you understand and can apply these concepts
.  As with the first two response papers, generalizations will not lead to good papers. Support any assertion you make with a specific example from your interaction. When I read the paper I should be able to "see" the communication interaction to which you're referring. Try to remember exactly what people said and did as best you can.

The best papers will also be grammatically correct, and free of spelling and punctuation errors.

The essay should be between three and five pages in length.  It should be typed (double spaced, margins of 1" all around, font no larger than 12).  It should also be stapled.

Hints for success for this paper:

•Make sure you do everything called for in these directions.
•Don’t wait to do this! Take your time, and use the services of the Writing Center if you need to.
•You are encouraged to show me a draft in person and to ask questions about this assignment either in person or via 

One additional hint for success: You might find it helpful to write Sections II through IV  before you write your description of the conflict in Section I, even though the description will appear first in the final draft of your paper.  That way, you need only include in the description those facts that are necessary to your reader’s understanding of your answers to the questions.

For students required to produce a communication major portfolio, this paper can serve as evidence under for the learning objectives "Be able to articulately explain communication concepts and theories relevant to your major" and "Be able to explain, evaluate and apply the processes involved in productive conflict."

Copyright © 2001-2016 Irwin Mallin
Last Updated: 15 November 2016