Understanding and Managing Interpersonal Conflict

Important Notice

This course is not active. Please contact Department Chair for more information.

Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Course Code
CMNS 1316
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method Of Instruction
Typically Offered


Course Description
The face-to-face course presents foundational knowledge and skills needed to understand and manage interpersonal conflict. Through focused interaction, students will consider selected theory, fundamental skills and basic attributes required to effectively analyze and engage interpersonal conflict in a variety of settings.
Course Content
  1. What is Interpersonal Conflict?
    1. definitions and terminology
    2. sources of interpersonal conflict
    3. basic assumptions about the nature of interpersonal conflict
    4. factors influencing the development of interpersonal conflict
      • personal style
      • communication climate
      • gender
      • cultural differences
      • technology
  2. What are Some Benefits of Enhancing Interpersonal Conflict Management Skills?
    1. physical benefits
    2. emotional benefits
    3. relational benefits
    4. intellectual benefits
  3. What is Some Fundamental Background Knowledge in Conflict Studies?
    1. theoretical perspectives
      • intrapersonal and relational theories of conflict
      • models for dealing effectively with conflict
    2. roles of perception, attitudes and emotion
    3. approaches to interpersonal conflict management
      • avoidance
      • aggression
      • passive-aggressive behaviour
      • assertiveness
      • compromise
    4. introduction to interest-based problem solving
    5. introduction to power dynamics in conflict settings
  4. How do I, as an Individual, Approach Conflict?
    1. importance of self-awareness
    2. importance of critical self-evaluation
    3. role of similarities and differences in parties' conflict styles
  5. What are Some Foundational Skills for Communicating in Interpersonal Conflict?
    1. intrapersonal and self-regulating skills
    2. the core conditions
    3. attending, observing and listening
    4. paraphrasing, summarizing and empathic responding
    5. asking facilitative questions
    6. language skills
      • using the language of responsibility
      • using collaborative language
    7. perceptual-attitudinal skills
      • DIE model


Methods Of Instruction

This course is highly interactive. Working individually or in small groups, students will engage in the discourse, analysis and interpretation of basic interpersonal communication and conflict management skills.   A discussion-based teaching model is used with the expectation that students will actively prepare for, participate in and extract meaning from case studies, simulations and role plays. Student activities may be videotaped for the purposes of informed self-evaluation.

Means of Assessment

Student work will be assessed using a variety of methods such as those listed below.

Assessment, analysis and discussion of current interpersonal conflict management functioning


Assessment and evaluation of improved conflict management functioning

Group-based conflict management skills demonstration project 30%
Case study report : Application of course concepts 20%
Attendance, participation and professional conduct 15%
Learning Outcomes


By the end of the course, the successful student will be able to:

  1. explain the nature of interpersonal conflict
  2. identify common sources of interpersonal conflict
  3. describe some common approaches to interpersonal conflict
  4. articulate goals of various responses, approaches and strategies employed to manage interpersonal conflict.


By the end of the course, the successful student will be able to:

  1. use basic theory, models and concepts to discuss the nature and effects of interpersonal conflict
  2. demonstrate foundational skills for communicating effectively in interpersonal conflict
  3. select an interpersonal conflict strategy that is appropriate to the context
  4. apply interpersonal conflict management skills in a variety of settings
  5. articulate a personal mission statement related to interpersonal conflict management.


By the end of the course, the successful student will be able to:

  1. assess the positive effects of interpersonal conflict
  2. articulate the benefits of interpersonal conflict management skills
  3. discern the impact of defensiveness in interpersonal conflict situations
  4. reflect on the role of their interpersonal conflict style and its effects
  5. appreciate the importance of incorporating the perspectives of others as a fundamental ingredient in interpersonal conflict management.
Textbook Materials

A course textbook, in current edition, such as one of the following, will be selected.  Wherever possible a Canadian edition will be chosen.

  • Cahn, D. and Abigail, R. Managing conflict through communication. New Jersey: Pearson.
  • Wilmot, W.W. and Hocker, J.L. Interpersonal conflict. NY: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.




CMNS 1216 or permission of instructor.


No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for CMNS 1316
Capilano University (CAPU) DOUG CMNS 1216 (3) & DOUG CMNS 1316 (3) = CAPU CMNS 255 (3)

Course Offerings

Summer 2022

There aren't any scheduled upcoming offerings for this course.