Managing Interpersonal Conflict

Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Course Code
CMNS 2316
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This interactive course presents foundational knowledge and skills needed to understand and manage interpersonal conflict. Through individual and group self-reflection, students will consider selected theory, fundamental skills, and basic attributes required to effectively analyze and engage with interpersonal conflict in various settings.
Course Content
  1. What is interpersonal conflict?
    1. definitions and terms
    2. sources of interpersonal conflict
    3. assumptions about the nature of interpersonal conflict
    4. factors influencing the development of interpersonal conflict
      • personaland identity-based
      • environment
      • cultural
      • technological
  2. Some benefits of enhancing interpersonal conflict management skills
    1. physical-emotional
    2. relational
    3. intellectual
  3. Conflict studies
    1. theory
      • 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
      • collaborative and assertive
      • adversarial
      • passive and aggressive behaviour
      • avoidance
      • compromise
    4. interest-based problem solving, power dynamics in conflict settings
  4. How do I, as an individual, approach conflict?
      • self-awareness
      • critical self-evaluation
      • working with others' conflict styles
      • working with others collaboratively in critical self-reflection
      • reframing conflict from fear-focused to interest-focused by working by acknowledging and working with emotions
  5. Foundational communication skills for interpersonal conflict
    1. self-regulating skills: notice what is happening in the moment, contextualize in the framework of ideas and theories, build on foundational skills, apply and reinforce in future interactions.
    2. intrapersonal and self-regulating skills
    3. attending, observing, and listening
    4. paraphrasing, summarizing, and empathic responding
    5. asking facilitative questions
    6. clarifying statements for mutual understanding



Learning Activities

This course is interactive. Students work in groups through exercises and case studies to practice basic interpersonal communication and conflict management skills. Students also work individually with feedback from the instructor by keeping a reflective journal.

Means of Assessment

Assessment will be in accordance with Douglas College's Evaluation Policy. Student work will be assessed using a variety of methods, such as those listed below.

Interpersonal conflict studies (reflective journals, focused on the course learning objectives)

Group-based conflict management skills demonstration project 30%
Case study report: application of course concepts, drawing on assigned readings 20%
Attendance, participation, and respectful conduct 20%
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.


  1. apply course concepts to real and hypothetical interpersonal conflicts in their lives at work, school, home, and/or community.
  2. demonstrate foundational skills for communicating effectively in interpersonal conflict.
  3. select an interpersonal conflict strategy that is appropriate in a given context.
  4. articulate a personal mission statement related to interpersonal conflict management.


  1. assess the effects of their perspective-taking and values when working with interpersonal conflict.
  2. articulate the benefits of interpersonal conflict management skills.
  3. articulate course concepts that they can use to deal with defensiveness and resistance of self and others as a fundamental. ingredient in interpersonal conflict management.
Textbook Materials

A list of required and optional readings and materials is provided for students at the beginning of each semester.


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 2316
Alexander College (ALEX) ALEX SOSC 2XX (3)
Athabasca University (AU) AU COMM 2XX (3)
College of the Rockies (COTR) No credit
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) No credit
North Island College (NIC) NIC SSW 203 (3)
Northern Lights College (NLC) NLC MGMT 1XX (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU CMNS 2XX (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU CMNS 2XXX (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU MCOM 2XX (3)
University Canada West (UCW) UCW COMM 2XX (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV ELEV_V 1st (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) No credit
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV CMNS 140 (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC SOSC 1XX (1.5)
Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU SSCI 2nd (3)

Course Offerings

Summer 2024