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COM 597, Summer 2015 – Reading Guide Questions for May 28


For both of today’s readings:

1. As you read both articles, notice the different emphases a psychology scholar (De Dreu) makes v. those made by a communication scholar (Putnam).  I’m not asking you to think of one as better or worse than another, just to notice the different emphases.  For starters, notice the definition of conflict each author offers at the top of their article.  How do these definitions highlight the differing emphases of COM v. PSY?  Throughout the articles, notice how this difference in emphasis manifests itself through the claims each author makes.

For De Dreu (1997)

1.  p. 11: What is groupthink?  What are examples of groupthink where you work?  

2. What are the research findings on avoidance/suppression he discusses in the last paragraph of p. 11?  How does he account for them?  How do you account for them?  What examples of negative consequences of avoidance are there where you work?

3. What are the methods of stimulating conflict he discusses on p. 12?  The benefits of stimulating conflict?  Would these work in your workplace?

4. What similarities and/or differences do you see between De Dreu’s analysis of the conflict styles (pp. 14-16) and the others we’ve seen (Papa & Canary, Rahim)?

5. What’s the difference between cognitive issues and affective issues?  What des he say is the significance of this distinction?  To what extent can you draw a big, bright line between the two?

6.  What links does he suggest between type of issue and conflict style?

For Putnam (1994)

1. What are the benefits to conflict she identifies in the literature review (the first couple pages of the article)?

2. What are the benefits to bargaining her survey results suggest (pp. 289-290)?  How would adversarial bargaining lead to those benefits?

3. Look closely at the quote by Susie on p. 290.  Why might adversarial bargaining accomplish these things?  What does Putnam suggest about that in the paragraph below?

4. Read the discussion of the teacher preparation issue in the first two full paragraphs of p. 291?  How did this discussion evolve from positions to interests?  

5. What does Putnam conclude on p. 292 about the efficacy of adversarial bargaining for decision making?  For problem identification?  How do the examples on 291 and 292 illustrate these?  Are Putnam’s conclusions consistent with your own experience?

6. pp 292-294: What does Putnam find about how negotiation builds relationships?  Prevents groupthink?

7. p. 296: What does she suggest are the implications of her findings on the relational and identity aspects of bargaining?  What does she advocate as a result?  Do you agree?

8.  OK, back to the top.  Let's discuss the question about differing emphases of a COM scholar v. a PSY scholar at the top of this page.

9.  What are the big takeaways of tonight's readings (both articles) for you?


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