Week 6: Conflict in Interpersonal Communication

Week 6: Conflict in Interpersonal Communication

Week 6: Conflict in Interpersonal Communication

Discussion: Interests Versus Positions

When in a conflict situation, most of us tend to focus quickly on what we want—our position regarding the issue at hand. For example, “I want my child to listen to me and do what I say.” However, a more useful strategy is to identify the interests involved—the why that led us to the what. Understanding the why—the interests—of both ourselves and others is a key strategy for resolving conflicts successfully. Returning to the example, it could be helpful to focus on the position of, “I want my child to be a good listener and understand how the consequences impact their life so that they grow up to be a well-adjusted adult who will be better equipped to persevere through inevitable hardships.” In this Discussion, you will consider the impact of interests and positions in a conversation you have had.

To prepare for this Discussion:

Consider a specific time when you needed to negotiate in order to reach agreement with another person regarding what to do or how to handle a situation in which you had conflicting views. You will analyze this interaction for this week’s Discussion.


Post an analysis of the effects of focusing on interests versus positions in conversations. In your analysis, do the following:

Briefly outline the conflict you identified, including each person’s point of view regarding the desired course of action.

Describe the degree to which each party took the time to fully understand the other’s point of view versus trying to persuade the other party to conform to their own point of view.

Describe the degree to which the conversation focused on positions (i.e., “what I want”) versus interests (i.e., “the why behind what I want”).

Analyze the outcome of the conversation, including both the course of action decided upon and the impact on the relationship.

Analyze what you would replicate or change if the same conversation were held again today, including why.

Refer to the Week 6 Discussion Rubric for specific grading elements and criteria. Your Instructor will use this grading rubric to assess your work.

Read some of your colleagues’ postings.


Respond to two or more of your colleagues’ posts in one or more of the following ways:

Provide your perspective on additional shared interests the parties had in the conflict your colleague identified.

Provide your perspective on how shared interests could have been used to generate additional potential courses of action in the conflict your colleague identified.

Share an insight you gained from your colleague’s account that will help you in future conflict conversations. Support your thoughts using this week’s Learning Resources.

Return to this Discussion in a few days to read the responses to your initial posting. Note what you have learned or any insights you have gained as a result of the comments your colleagues made.

Requirements: 1-2

Answer preview to week 6: Conflict in Interpersonal Communication

Week 6: Conflict in Interpersonal Communication


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