Author’s Preface

Introduction to Conflict Management


This Open Educational Resource (OER) is a custom publication for students enrolled in PSYC-6006: Conflict Management. PSYC-6006 is a requirement for the Advanced Communication for Professionals post-graduate certificate at Fanshawe College.

Many students reading the book will have previously taken PSYC-6005: Communication Psychology and will have read the companion OER, Psychology, Communication and the Canadian Workplace. If you did not take PSYC-6005: Communication Psychology, you may find it helpful to look at this resource for a general introduction to many of the topics that we will be discussing in this book.

The course learning objectives for PSYC-6006 are as follows:

  1. Identify factors that contribute to conflict in the workplace.
  2. Name factors that lead to positive professional identity and productive group dynamics.
  3. Describe different conflict styles.
  4. Discuss their own interpersonal competencies and areas in need of improvement regarding conflict management in the workplace.
  5. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of conflict management styles and strategies.
  6. Analyze hypothetical/case study conflict scenarios for the workplace.
  7. Implement strategies to manage/resolve conflict in the workplace.
  8. Analyze workplace conflict prevention and management policies.

These learning objectives were formed in consultation with local employers and stakeholders in London, ON. Employers indicated that it was desirable for graduates entering the workforce to have more explicit training in conflict management. While employees do not usually need to be trained negotiators or legal experts, it is helpful for students to  have the skills and knowledge to navigate both the mundane occurrences of conflict in the workplace (e.g., the coworker with a difficult personality) and more serious incidences of conflict at work (e.g., bullying, harassment, and violence). We will learn a bit about federal and provincial legislation, organizational policies and the formal conflict process. However, the focus will be on the individual, and how each one of us can play a role in making the workplace a safe and functional environment.

Throughout the book, you will be encouraged to engage in critical self-assessment and case studies. These exercises will provide you with the opportunity to assess potential conflict situations, recognize your emotions, communicate assertively, and manage conflict with integrity and professionalism.



Author Acknowledgements

I would like to give thanks to all of the authors that allowed me to adapt and re-mix their work under Creative Commons licenses.

I would like to acknowledge the editor of this book, Andrew Stracuzzi, for his many contributions to this resource including the H5P interactives, glossary items, and custom images. It was truly a privilege to work with such a skilled instructional designer!

Thanks to Krista Carson for reviewing this source and for sharing her vision for this version of this book. I appreciate your feminist lens, critical eye and the academic rigor that you bring to this topic. I am grateful for your contributions and look forward to your continued contributions to this resource!

Thanks to Shauna Roch for her support and guidance throughout the OER process.  Thanks to Robert Armstrong from his work on graphic design. Thanks to Davandra Earle for her work on the ancillary resources. Thanks to the OER Design Studio team for their work behind the scenes.

Finally, thanks to my students – past, present, and future. You’re the best! It’s been a pleasure to create this resource for you. I hope that you enjoy it!


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Conflict Management Copyright © 2022 by Laura Westmaas, BA, MSc is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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