2. Respond to each of the questions in the Conflict Assessment Guide. (chapter 7) Your responses should be based on the information given in your conflict. (approximately 5 – 8 pages)
Conflict Assessment Guide
I. Nature of the Conflict
A. What are the “triggering events” that brought this conflict into mutual
B. What is the historical context of this conflict in terms of (1) the ongoing rela-
tionship between the parties and (2) other, external events within which this
conflict is embedded?
C. Do the parties have assumptions about conflict that are discernable by their
choices of conflict metaphors, patterns of behavior, or clear expressions of
their attitudes about conflict?
D. Conflict elements:
1. How is the struggle expressed by each party?
2. What are the perceived incompatible goals?
3. What are the perceived scarce resources?
4. In what ways are the parties interdependent? How are they interfering with
one another? How are they cooperating to keep the conflict in motion?
E. Has the conflict vacillated between productive and destructive phases? If so,
which elements were transformed during the productive cycles? Which ele-
ments might be transformed by creative solutions to the conflict?
II. Orientation to the Conflict
A. What attitudes toward conflict do participants seem to hold?
B. Do they perceive conflict as positive, negative, or neutral? How can you tell?
C. What metaphoric images do conflict participants use? What metaphors might
you use to describe the conflict?
D. What is the cultural background of the participants? What is the cultural con-
text in which the conflict takes place?
E. How might gender roles, limitations, and expectations be operating in this
III. Interests and Goals
A. How do the parties clarify their goals? Do they phrase them in individualistic
or systemic terms?
B. What does each party think the other’s goals are? Are they similar or dissimi-
lar to the perceptions of self-goals?
C. How have the goals been altered from the beginning of the conflict to the
present? In what ways are the prospective, transactive, and retrospective goals
similar or dissimilar?
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D. What are the topic, relational, identity, and process goals?
E. How do the TRIP goals overlap with one another?
F. Which goals seem to be primary at different stages of the dispute?
G. Are the conflict parties “specializing” in one type or the other?
H. Are the identity and relational issues the “drivers” of this dispute?
I. Are any of the goals emerging in different forms?
J. How do the goals shift during the prospective, transactive, and retrospective
A. What attitudes about their own and the other’s power does each party have?
Do they talk openly about power, or is it not discussed?
B. What do the parties see as their own and the other’s dependencies on one
another? As an external observer, can you classify some dependencies that
they do not list?
C. What power currencies do the parties see themselves and the other
D. From an external perspective, what power currencies of which the partici-
pants are not aware seem to be operating?
E. In what ways do the parties disagree on the balance of power between them?
Do they underestimate their own or the other’s influence?
F. What impact does each party’s assessment of power have on subsequent
choices in the conflict?
G. What evidence of destructive “power balancing” occurs?
H. In what ways do observers of the conflict agree and disagree with the parties’
assessments of their power?
I. What are some unused sources of power that are present?
A. What individual styles did each party use? Use the five-style, dual-concern
description of styles.
B. How did the individual styles change during the course of the conflict?
C. How did the parties perceive the other’s style?
D. In what way did a party’s style reinforce the choices the other party made as
the conflict progressed?
E. Were the style choices primarily symmetrical or complementary?
F. From an external perspective, what were the advantages and disadvantages of
each style within this particular conflict?
G. Can the overall system be characterized as having a predominant style? What
do the participants say about the relationship as a whole?
H. Do the participants appear to strategize about their conflict choices or remain
I. How does each party view the other’s strategizing?
J. What are the tactical options used by both parties?
K. Do the tactical options classify primarily into avoidance, dominating, or
L. How are the participants’ tactics mutually impacting on the others’ choices?
VI. Conflict and Emotions
A. In your situation, what approaches to change have you utilized or are you
contemplating? How effective are these approaches?
B. Choose several emotions that the parties have expressed in this conflict. What
are the functions of these emotions? How are they mitigated or moderated?
Use the circumplex model to describe the emotions.
C. What can you learn about emotions in this particular conflict? Do the feelings
cluster around “needs being met” or “needs not being met”?
D. What emotions are seldom expressed? What is the result?
E. Discuss how parties might use positive emotions to help in this particular
F. In this conflict, has anyone strayed out of the “zone of effectiveness”? How?
What have you or might you do about this?
G. How is mindfulness being used/not used in this conflict?
VII. Analyzing Interactions and Overall Patterns
A. What system dynamics characterize this conflict?
B. What rules of repetitive patterns characterize this conflict?
C. What triangles, coalition, and microevents best characterize the conflict?
D. How destructive is the tone of this conflict?
VIII. Attempted Solutions
A. What options have been explored for managing the conflict?
B. Have attempted solutions become part of the problem?
C. Have third parties been brought into the conflict? If so, what roles did they
play and what was the impact of their involvement?
D. Is this conflict a repetitive one, with attempted solutions providing temporary
change but with the overall pattern remaining unchanged? If so, what is that
E. Can you identify categories of solutions that have not been tried?
A. Are the parties able to negotiate with one another? Why or why not?
B. What is done to equalize power?
C. Do the parties use primarily dominating tactics, collaborative tactics, or some
D. Were the parties able to reach agreements that are durable?
X. Forgiveness and Reconciliation
A. In this conflict, are parties working toward forgiveness or reconciliation?
Clearly state which in terms of the chapter’s information on the difference
between the two.
B. In this conflict, what power imbalances should be addressed? How are parties
doing/not doing that?
C. For you, is forgiveness a decision or a process? Use information in the
chapter to discuss your position.
D. In what way is your situation calling for intrapersonal or interpersonal
forgiveness, or both?
Chapter 7 Analyzing Conflicts 255
E. Discuss the problems of apology in this conflict.
F. What lessons from other cultures might inform your study of your own conflict?