This page contains sample examination questions for Soc 345, Conflict Resolution. These are actual questions asked on quizzes and examinations the last time the class was taught by Cliff Donn.

Quizzes: These are the kind of questions that may appear on quizzes.

According to Stone, Patton and Heen (Chap. 10, Expression) there is a better approach than asking the other person if they agree with what you have expressed.  What is that approach and why is it better?

 

According to Fisher, Ury and Patton (In Conclusion) what is the problem with asking “who is winning?” in a negotiation?  Explain.

According to Teninbaum, “Easing the Burden: Mediating Misdemeanor Criminal Matters,” mediation of criminal matters is “unworkable” in jurisdictions that have adopted the Uniform Mediation Act.  Why?  What is the problem?

 

According to Whitehill, Webster, Frattaroli and Parker, “Interrupting Violence: How the CeaseFire Program Prevents Imminent Gun Violence Through Conflict Mediation,” what are the three first priorities of violence interrupters?  Explain.

Mid-term and Final: These are the kind of questions that may appear on the mid-term and the final exam.

In class we identified differences in roles as a potential source of conflict.  What does it mean to say that a conflict is based on differences in roles?  Explain.

 

What is bargaining power?  Explain.

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In class, we often reiterated that compromise was often not a good way to resolve disputes (“compromise sucks”).  What did we mean by this?  Why is compromise so often a bad way to resolve disputes?  Explain and provide an example.

Final Exam: This kind of question appears only on the final examination.

Philip and Martin work for a large insurance company.  Both have been employed by the company for several years and both work in the same department, reporting to the same manager.

 

Recently the manager gave them an assignment to work on as a team to design a new insurance product that the company can market to computer software companies.  Philip and Martin had never worked on a project together before but they had always gotten along well and were enthusiastic about the project.

 

However, after several weeks of working on the project, they find that they are having trouble getting along much less working together.  Philip likes to work in the same room as Martin so they can think out loud and bounce ideas off each other.  Martin prefers to work on tasks separately and then come together to consult when the tasks are complete.  Martin believes they should consult the software companies that are potential customers right at the beginning so they are sure they are designing what the companies want.  Philip believes that the software companies don’t know enough about insurance at this stage to be helpful and they shouldn’t consult them until the product is considerably better developed. 

 

In addition, the project requires quite a bit of extra work time.  Martin, who is single, has suggested that they come in on Saturdays and Sundays for the next several weeks.  Philip, who has a family including children, has resisted this suggesting they find the extra time by coming in two hours earlier several mornings a week.

 

Finally, unable to resolve their differences, Philip and Martin have gone to their boss and asked not to work together on the project.  The boss reacted angrily and told them to grow up and finish the project together (they have one more month) or he’d consider firing them both.

 

They have come to you, an outside expert in dispute resolution, for help.  They don’t want to lose their jobs but they seem unable to work together because of their very different styles.  How would you analyze this dispute?  What are the causes?  How might Philip and Martin attempt to resolve their issues so that they can complete the project?  If you were to mediate the dispute, how would you go about it?  If instead, they asked you to arbitrate the dispute, how would you go about it and what kind of technique would you use?  Make sure all phases of your answer rely on ideas and concepts from our class.