Consider the characteristics of conflict that make it complex. Identify which of the following may have played a role in the conflicts that were discussed in your interview and explain the role you believed they played

"Do you want an original answer to this question?

Yes No

Conflict Interview

Please make up the interview.

The purpose of this assignment is for you to explore the complex nature of conflict in the workplace, with its source in interpersonal, small group or organizational factors. It is worth 20% of your total grade. Your grade will be based on 1) the depth of your analysis of the interview, 2) application of course material and 3) the overall effort on the assignment. Also refer to the evaluation rubric for papers for writing expectations.

This assignment has two parts; a summary of the interview (or transcript) and your responses to the discussion questions. Your interview summary can be your hand written notes with what you feel are the important points highlighted or a typed summary of the important points. The discussion questions are for you to complete based on your interview and are included on the next page. Read them through before your interview so you have them in mind as you ask your questions. Please submit a hard copy of both a summary of your interview and the discussion questions in class (refer to Moodle for the due date).

Conduct an interview with someone you know and feel comfortable having an honest (and confidential) discussion. It is better to have this interview with someone in a full time career rather than a part time job.

Use (or adapt) the questions provided. No names or characteristics that could identify this person should be used. Encourage the person you interview to be as specific and honest as possible in their answer.

If you are able to record the interview on your phone, I encourage you to do so. If not, set a slower pace for your questions so you are able to write down as many details as possible. Review your notes or recording as soon after the interview takes place to capture any small details or nuances that will allow you to understand the conflict as much as you can.

Remember that talking about conflict for many people can be threatening, as we often see conflict as a destructive thing – a failure rather than a constructive way to come up with new ways of approaching problems. Use or adapt the introduction to the interview provided to help the person you interview understand its purpose.

Questions for you to complete after your interview :

  1. Consider the characteristics of conflict that make it complex. Identify which of the following may have played a role in the conflicts that were discussed in your interview and explain the role you believed they played:

· Interests – goals of individuals or organizations that correspond with perceived benefits (power, money, recognition)

· Needs – essential or deeply held requirements for survival

· Identity – sense of self coming from ethnicity, nationality, personality, group affiliation

· Desires – nonessential things people want

· Values – beliefs one believes should be upheld in society for happier, more meaningful lives (ideological, religious, artistic)

· Rights – Expressions of justice associated with decision making (laws, liberty, protection from harm)

  1. Consider the multilayers structure of conflict. Outward expressions of a conflict do not always correspond to the basic objects of contention among the parties involved. From a conflict discussed in your interview identify aspects of the conflict that fit in the following categories:

· Positional aspects – the stated or obvious position taken in opposition to the other; the demand, accusation, or resolution being sought

· Underlying aspect – the hidden or not full expressed positions (either as part of strategy or not fully recognized by those involved)

· Intractable aspects – truly difficult aspects of conflict; nonnegotiable aspects (identity, memory, trauma, sense of injustice)

  1. What characteristic of the conflict and its resolution made it constructive and destructive. You may have to go beyond what is identified in the interview to identify longer possible term outcomes of the conflict.

  2. What were the emotional characteristics of this conflict? What factors might have been at play in determining the outcome and what was ultimately taken away from the experience.

  3. If you were in the position of giving advice (which you aren’t) what advise might you offer?

  4. What did you learn about conflict from this interview? What was new or surprising about the nature of conflict in this interview?

Interview Questions


Thank you for helping me out with this assignment. The purpose of this interview is to help me understand the complex nature of conflict in the workplace.

In CMNS 333 we understand conflict as a situation where two or more parties face differences that can’t be easily resolved. We also see conflict as constructive and destructive. Many times conflict is necessary to discover a better way of doing things and build stronger relationships.

This interview is confidential, and while I will be required to hand in a summary of our conversation, I will not include any details that will identify you or your specific place of work.


  1. What types of conflict do you personally experience in your workplace?

  2. What is the biggest source of conflict you personally face in your job?

  3. Do you or your organization have a particular approach to this type of conflict?

  4. Do you find that you or people in your workplace react to conflict situations like this in a particular way?

  5. Can you tell me about a conflict you were involved in at work that was particularly difficult or impossible to resolve?

  6. What made it so difficult?

  7. What as the impact of this conflict on you personally? How did it make you feel?

  8. Do you have a particular way of dealing with the negative feelings associated with conflict?

  9. Can you tell me about a conflict you were involved in at work that was difficult, but successfully resolved?

  10. What made the resolution of this conflict possible?

  11. What were the destructive and constructive outcomes of either of these conflicts?

Many thanks for your time in answering these questions.