Conflict Resolution: Advanced Practices

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
CMNS 3316
Conflict Resolution: Advanced Practices
Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
4 hrs
Method Of Instruction
Course Description
This advanced course supports students’ development in the area of conflict resolution with particular emphasis on one-on-one and multi-party disputes. Active problem-solving with an eye toward negotiation and mediation practices is emphasized. Students explore how conflict emerges in groups, and the roles and responsibilities of leaders to influence, prevent and manage conflict.
Course Content
  1. What is Conflict?
    1. productive and destructive conflict
    2. categories
    3. sources
  2. What Are Some Theories of Conflict Interaction?
    1. Human Relations Perspective
    2. Experimental Gaming
    3. Intergroup Conflict
    4. Coordinated Management of Meaning
    5. Confrontation Episodes
    6. Phase Models     
  3. What Are Some Advantages of Experiencing and Managing Conflict?
    1. promoting facilitative and diminishing debilitative beliefs
    2. increasing resilience
    3. enhancing intrapersonal and interpersonal effectiveness
    4. inoculation against future conflicts
    5. improved workplace relations
  4. How to Do Conflict?
    1. conflict styles & approaches
      • competing
      • avoiding
      • accommodating
      • compromising
      • problem-solving
      • negotiating
      • mediating
      • arbitrating
    2. shifting conflict styles
    3. selecting conflict styles
    4.  conflict tactics
      • threats and promises
      • toughness
      • matching
      • coalition formation
      • metacommunication
      • integrative tactics
  5. What Are Some Key Concepts in Principled Negotiation and Mediation?
    1. pre-meetings
    2. opening statements
    3. credibility and rapport
    4. issues
    5. agendas
    6. interests
    7. caucus
    8. standards
    9. agreements
  6. What Are Some Common Emotional Responses to Conflict?
    1. defensiveness
    2. anger
  7. What Skills Are Essential for Resolving Disputes?
    1. micro communication skills
    2. creating constructive communication climates
    3. questioning and probing
    4. reframing
    5. empathizing
    6. defusing anger
    7. managing defensiveness
  8. How Do Power Dynamics Influence Conflict?
    1. types of power
    2. relational view of power
    3. power tactics
    4. relinquishing power
    5. balancing power
  9. What Are Some Ethical Considerations of Conflict Resolution?
    1. a. neutrality and impartiality
    2. b. equidistance
    3. c. competence
    4. d. dual-role relationships
    5. e. authority to negotiate
  10. How Does Conflict Manifest itself in Groups?
    1. recognizing group dysfunction
      • time-wasting
      • personality conflicts
      • sub-optimal group mix
    2. sources of conflict in groups
      • nature of the group
      • complexity of the task
      • standards
      • differing agendas
      • sharing the workload
      • commitment
      • variations of ability
      • participation levels
      • distribution of power
  11. How Can Conflict be Managed in Groups?
    1. selection of appropriate team members
    2. strategies for managing conflict in groups
      • acknowledging and clearly defining a problem
      • moving from individual positions to group interests and needs
      • shifting paradigms
      • from judging to being curious
      • acknowledging and honouring differences
      • recognizing and building on similarities
  12. What is the Relationship Between Conflict and Leadership?
    1. terminology and important concepts
      • definitions of leadership
      • expectations and responsibilities
    2. perspectives on leadership
      • leadership style
      • emergent leadership
      • motivational leadership
      • leadership traits
  13. How Do Leaders Influence Conflict?
    1. knowledge of workplace culture
    2. leadership skills
    3. leadership style compatibility
    4. adaptability
  14. How can Leaders Prevent and Manage Conflict?
    1. managing self
    2. defining a philosophy of leadership
    3. clarifying a vision
    4. managing others
    5. articulating a vision for the workplace
    6. building a supportive environment
    7. inspiring workers
    8. preventing and managing crises


Learning Outcomes


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

  1. articulate different conflict resolution approaches
  2. understand the differences between negotiation, mediation and arbitration
  3. describe attributes of functional and dysfunctional groups
  4. identify common sources of conflict in groups
  5. explain how leaders influence, prevent and manage conflict
  6. articulate the steps of collaborative problem-solving.


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

  1. select the most appropriate conflict resolution strategy for single and multiparty disputes
  2. demonstrate core and advanced interpersonal skills for principled negotiations
  3. demonstrate core and advanced interpersonal skills for mediating conflicts
  4. engage in self-management behaviours during conflict situations
  5. demonstrate leadership skills that prevent, assess and manage conflicts
  6. apply ethical standards when resolving disputes with others


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

  1. appreciate the challenges associated with managing conflict effectively
  2. appreciate the effects of power dynamics
  3. gain insight into their “triggers” that interfere with conflict resolution
  4. appreciate the importance of ethical practice when managing conflict with others


Means of Assessment

This course will conform to Douglas College policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations. It will be based on this general breakdown:

Assessment, analysis and discussion of current conflict management functioning within one-to-one or multi-party disputes


Personal conflict management statement and action plan for improved conflict management functioning


Analysis and discussion of a conflict:

  • application of course concepts
Skills application:  
Video-taped skills demonstration 15%
Analysis and self-evaluation 20%
Attendance, participation and professional conduct 10%
Textbook Materials

Textbook(s) will be selected from the following list:

  • Donohue, W. With Kolt, R. (1993). Managing Interpersonal Conflict. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
  • Fishers, R. And Ury, W. (1991). Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In. New York: Penguin Books
  • Folger J.P, M.S. Polle And R.K. Stutman (2005). Working Through Conflict: Strategies for Relationships, Groups, and Organizations. 5th Edition Boston: Pearson Education, Inc
  • Hocker, J. And Wilmont, W. (1994). Interpersonal Conflict. Dubuque, IA: Brown and Benchmark.
  • McCorkle, S. And M.J. Reese (2005) Mediation Theory and Practice. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.
  • Coursepack (prepared by the instructor) 


CMNS 1216, 1316 or permission of the instructor.