INT102 Interpersonal Communication Skills: Assessment 2: Written Assessment
The top two Thomas Kilmann conflict resolution dimensions are assertiveness and cooperativeness (Thomas, 2017). Assertiveness, as an attitude in conflict resolution, makes an individual have a strong desire to push for the meeting of his or her own needs. This process, therefore, involves the need to meet individual concerns. On the other hand, cooperativeness shows the desire or degree to satisfy the other party’s concerns, thus showing an individual’s willingness to meet the other party’s needs. Under these two top resolutions dimensions of the Thomas Kilmann model, we can find the following styles (Volkema & Bergmann, 1995): accommodating, competing, collaborating, avoiding and compromising; and they all have their levels of assertiveness and cooperativeness when used for conflict resolution.
As per the video ‘Thomas Kilmann’ on the LeaderLike You channel (2013); I agree that the conflict mentioned above resolution strategies can effectively solve problems that arise in communities, workplaces, with friends and families, etc. As personally experienced, I have managed to be part of a conflict resolution activity that involved applying cooperativeness by both parties involved, specifically using the accommodating style. This is a conflict resolution method, which is highly cooperative and less assertive.
Here, I faced a couple of friends that needed to resolve their conflicts, and for a smooth engagement, the man had to apply the accommodating style. He put forth the idea of their female friend to quickly address, solve and finalise the process. Though his ideas were not necessarily considered, their adopting the other party’s ideas led to a quick and peaceful resolution, which saved them more time and stress (Thomas, 2008).
Another example involves how complex and time-consuming the collaborative resolution style was perceived, even when it was the preferred method by the students I faced. Here I experienced a class leader having to apply the competing conflict resolution style, which is highly assertive and less cooperative. In this case, there was a need to decide which break period to take, between the 10 am morning break, and the 1 pm afternoon break times. Due to having less time to make a final decision to present to their supervisor, it became necessary to apply the competing style and impose one idea on the students.
Mediation, as cited by de Janasz et al. (2014), has been considered by other researchers as another of the many available resolution styles deemed less time and resource-extensive, where participants seem to reach mutual satisfaction and faceless anxiety. They all leave feeling more empowered and having more ownership of the matter. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the mediators to uphold some crucial rules all along the mediation process, for example, by ensuring all parties get the chance to speak their minds and opinions without being interrupted. There should not be any cases of denigration or humiliation, and the focus should be on the common future goal and not on the conflict itself (DeKay, 2012). For example, I would personally apply this style by ensuring the third party well experiments in the question of conflict at hand, one that is powerful enough to guide the process, command the conflicting parties’ respect and guide their decision-making.
Additionally, Katz and Flynn (2013) also added other models of conflict resolution, which have been identified by many other researchers, saying that leaders should adopt more innovative conflict resolution strategies. These strategies promote collaboration and shared responsibilities in handling conflict through mediation, negotiation and facilitation, rather than focusing on the traditional processes, in order to have lower conflict presence in their organisations (Hynes, 2012). Negotiation involves using a neutral person to facilitate the process, with a professional facilitator that both parties must choose. This method can also be applied to neutral procedures that avoid biased resolutions through the participation and contribution of all parties’ ideas. Because it can be emotional and contentious, if the facilitator is neither neutral nor both parties professional, it would be necessary to identify professional negotiators like trade union members, for example, negotiating a worker’s salary. This would save time and lead to fair, informed decisions.
Due to the present and highly felt level of diversity in organisations, communities and institutions currently, individuals have higher chances of collaboration and having to face other individuals from different backgrounds, all culturally, physically, and spiritually, with different religious beliefs, education, sexual orientation and political views, values, ideas, knowledge base or goals and more (de Janasz et al., 2014). This brings about the need for organisations and institutions to have high cultural competencies to address conflicts. This is adopting a flexible learning-centred conflict management practice involving communication skills training for developing organisational and interpersonal relationships.
This would occasion more active and reflective listening. For example, an organisation could adopt the observation and monitoring of external conversations on state laws and politics to help develop customised mechanisms based on identified and most recurrent conflicts within. An example here can be Florida State allowing employees to carry firearms to work to address the issue of violence at the workplace.
de Janasz, S. C., Crossman, J., Campbell, N., Power, M., Dowd, K., & Schneider, B. (2014). Interpersonal Skills in Organisations (2nd ed.) McGraw-Hill Education (Australia) Pty Limited
DeKay, S. H. (2012). Interpersonal communication in the workplace: A largely unexplored region. Business Communication Quarterly, 75(4), 449-452
Hynes, G. E. (2012). Improving employees’ interpersonal communication competencies: A qualitative study. Business communication quarterly, 75(4), 466-475
Katz, N. H., & Flynn, L. T. (2013). Understanding Conflict Management Systems and Strategies in the Workplace: A Pilot Study. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 30(4), 393-410. https://doi.org/10.1002/crq.21070
LeaderLike You! (2013) Thomas Kilmann— YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4eObpGH3l0
Thomas, K. W. (2008). Making conflict management a strategic advantage. White Paper Conflict. Edmonton: Vopel, Klaus W, 1-9
Thomas, K. W. (2017). Making Conflict Management a Strategic Advantage. Psychometrics. https://www.psychometrics.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Conflict-Whitepaper.pdf
Volkema, R. J., & Bergmann, T. J. (1995). Conflict Styles as Indicators of Behavioural Patterns in Interpersonal Conflicts. The Journal of Social Psychology, 135(1), 5-15. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224545.1995.9711395
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