Conflict Analysis Part 1: Recall a recent experience that you were personally a part of, which resulted in conflict. Answer the following:

In several detailed paragraphs, describe the conflict scene...

1a. Who was involved in the conflict? What was the relationship between you and the other participant prior to the conflict? How did your relationship impact how you responded to the conflict?

The conflict was between my former employer and me. We had a very close relationship. He is actually my father's brother. Our relationship was affected after the conflict. I however did not disrespect him in any way, during and after the conflict.

1b. When and where did it take place? Was it formal or informal? Planned or unplanned? What impact did the location and time have on the outcome?

The conflict took place in my uncle's business premises (a restaurant), at the diner (I worked as a waiter). It was completely formal but unplanned. It was during lunch hour and the diner was filled to the brim, I therefore did not defend my ground, as I was completely embarrassed. I left without saying a word.

1c. What transpired? (Be specific)

It was a normal working day, following closely all rules set for us by the employer. It all began while I was serving an elderly couple. The woman complained that their serving was too little. I tried explaining to them that it was the policy of the restaurant to serve standards with no additions whatsoever (It was very true). They demanded to speak to the manager. My employer was called and all tables turned. He shouted at me, saying I was chasing away all his customers because of my selfishness.

Activity in the restaurant came to a standstill, as everyone wanted to know what was going on. He told me he could not take any more of his losing customers; and was therefore sacked in front of the whole lot of diners and my fellow employees. It was embarrassing. He sent me a check a few days later explaining how sorry he was, but that he had to do what he had to do.

 Many times when we face conflict, there is a surface level problem and an underlying problem. The surface level problem acts only as a symptom of the real problem. Consider both..

1d. What was the surface problem?

The surface problem was that I was running down his business through my 'selfishness'.

1e. What was the underlying problem or the 'real' problem. How do you know?

The real problem was that my employer was not ready to take responsibility for his own set policies. I know this because he sent me a bribe in form of a check to explain himself. He had also arranged with a colleague of his to give me a job as a waiter still but with a greater pay as a way to apology.

There are many conflict management strategies that can be employed when dealing with conflict. Consider which were present in this conflict...

1f. Which conflict management strategies were employed by each of you? Did the conflict management strategies change during the course of the conversation? How do you know? (Note: Use the conflict terms from the chart on P. 191 in your text).

Conflict must be provoked, developed, allowed to climax, and then a resolution is employed. For my part, I did not respond to anything I was being accused of, since I thought it was the best strategy to apply, and that maybe I would save my job. Yes, at times I wanted to defend myself, especially at the point where he shouted I was selfish, but I thought silence would save my face.

My employer applied no conflict management strategy, he just rampaged about his business running down, and he did not stop until I had packed my stuff and was out of the restaurant door.

1g. What was the outcome? Was there a winner? A loser? Was there an impact on the relationship? If so, what was that impact?

My employer was the winner, I was the loser. He was able to get out of the bad eye and I lost my job as a cover-up for his not taking up responsibility in the conflict. The conflict definitely made me lose respect for my employer, or rather my uncle. He had used me as a sacrificial lamb. We are no longer close. I no longer call his house to know how his family is doing. His relationship with my father also dwindled; they no longer meet for drinks every week, as was the tradition. It became weird to associate with him.

1h. Looking back, describe not less than two variables that could be changed in this situation to alter the outcome.

If the conflict took place in a different setting, for example privately in his office, still at lunch hour, I would definitely be able to defend myself and save me from the embarrassment, and I would still have my job.

If the conflict took place at the diner, but during a time when there were no diners or probably just a few, my employer would probably explain the 'standard' policy to the couple, taking full responsibility, without necessarily embarrassing me.

If the standard policy were not in place, this whole mess would not have occurred.

Conflict Analysis Part 2: Observe a separate instance that you are not personally involved with where conflict is present (you will need to be a bit of a covert operator to accomplish this). Answer the following:

In a several detailed paragraphs, describe the conflict scene...

2a. Who was involved in the conflict? What was the relationship between the participants prior to the conflict? Did it appear as if the relationship between the participants had any impact on how either person responded to the conflict?

This conflict involved two motorists who were totally unaware of each other's existence until on the occurrence of the accident. They had no background information of each other and this definitely influenced there response to the conflict.

2b. When and where did it take place? Was it formal or informal? Planned or unplanned? What impact did the location and time have on the outcome?

It occurred on a Friday night along the Salt City Lake highway in Utah. The conflict was informal and unplanned. Being a Friday night, on a major highway into the city, there was a lot of jam as people had different agendas for the night. This definitely affected the outcome of the conflict. The conflict ended much sooner than expected.

2c. What transpired? (Be specific)

From the look of things, the young motorist was drunk and speeding, when he took a wrong turn and hit the other driver's car from behind, scratching the rear just a bit. This accident caused a stir from other motorists, who were hooting angrily, and a jam was quickly piling up. The man whose car was hit yielded to this pressure, did not demand compensation for damages from the other motorist, or call for police intervention. He instead entered back in his car and drove away without much to say.

Many times when we face conflict, there is a surface level problem and an underlying problem. The surface level problem acts only as a symptom of the real problem. Consider both..

2d. What was the surface problem?

The surface problem was the accident.

2e. What was the underlying problem or the 'real' problem. If this is unclear, what might you speculate the 'real' problem to be?

I think the real problem was the alcohol influence. If the teenager was not drunk and speeding, then the accident may never have occurred.

There are many conflict management strategies that can be employed when dealing with conflict. Consider which were present in this conflict...

2g. What was the outcome? Was there a winner? A loser? Did there appear to be an impact on the relationship? If so, what was that impact?

The middle-aged man was definitely the loser, and the teenager a winner. The older man went home with a damaged car, while the teenager went home without any charges on his neck. There was no impact on the relationship. They did not even know each other and not much occurred after the accident.

2h. Looking back, describe not less than two variables that could be changed in this scene to alter the outcome.

If there was no traffic, but still at night, the older man would have probably stayed a little longer or called for the police to take the necessary action.

If it was still a Friday night on the busy highway and the car had been badly damaged, the older man would have called the police and demanded compensation from the other motorist.

If the two motorists were friends, probably they would have driven off, but the motorist with the damaged car would have received compensation either way, if the other motorist valued their friendship.

Conflict Analysis Part 3: Much of the learning in this course requires your to draw conclusions about your experiences and observations based on the concepts we have read about and discussed. Taking this in to consideration...

3a., 3b. List two specific things you learned about conflict as a result of this exercise. Reference material from the text, threaded discussions, lecture, terminal course objectives, etc. Answers which demonstrate application of the course material and effective critical thinking will earn the greatest number of points.

From these two scenarios, I've learnt that the relationship between the involved in the conflict greatly influences the outcome of the conflict.

Another factor that influences conflict outcome is the location and time of the conflict occurrence.