Art of Conflict Management: Achieving Solutions for Life, Work, and Beyond

Course No. 5964
Professor Michael Dues, Ph.D.
University of Arizona
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Course No. 5964
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Course Overview

Conflict is everywhere, something we all experience on a regular basis. Whether it's learning that your spouse has a different kind of vacation in mind than you do or that your boss's idea of your job differs from your own, conflict is simply an inevitable aspect of human relationships. As desirable as it might seem, there's just no way to live a conflict-free life.

Handled badly, conflict can do real harm, both to you and the people you care about the most. It can cripple your career and the businesses you work for. And it can leave its scars on your community and even your nation.

Handled well, however, conflict can be extraordinarily useful. If you have the skills needed to identify and resolve conflict, it can actually be your ally. It can help you identify and solve problems. And it can build deeper and stronger relationships, whether with your coworkers, supervisors and subordinates, or your closest friends and loved ones.

Most of us, though, haven't been lucky enough to have been taught those vital skills or to have learned the ways in which factors like perspective, emotions, goals, and power can create or drive a conflict. For better or worse, we've had to pick things up as we went along, beginning in our homes or schoolyards and going on from there. All with uneven results that can play out for the rest of our lives, burdening us with a default conflict "style" that may be dysfunctional at best and seriously harmful at worst.

The Art of Conflict Management: Achieving Solutions for Life, Work, and Beyond is an opportunity for you to gain those essential skills. Its 24 lectures are brimming with practical tips, tools, and techniques everyone can use to better manage conflict in his or her professional and personal lives, which receive equal emphasis in the course.

Strategies and Tactics You Can Use Right Now

Presented by Professor Michael Dues of The University of Arizona—an award-winning teacher, writer, author, and successful consultant to both public and private organizations—these lectures will show you how to effectively deal with conflicts of all kinds, using the "win-win" model that has dominated the field for the past six decades.

  • You'll gain effective techniques for handling conflicts in your workplace, other organizational settings, or your personal life, whether you're dealing with supervisors, coworkers, acquaintances, close friends, or family members.
  • You'll learn the best ways to analyze conflicts and work through the steps toward resolving them, including clarifying goals, handling difficult emotions, and negotiating agreements.
  • And you'll grasp the fundamental tricks of the trade that experienced negotiators have long used to deal with even the most seemingly intractable moral and cultural conflicts.

While drawing on the latest groundbreaking research, Professor Dues has designed this course to be as practical as possible. Requiring no background in conflict management, negotiation, or psychology, the lectures offer you not just knowledge, but strategies and tactics you can put to work in your own life right now.

See the Best Conflict Management Techniques in Action

Best of all, you'll be able to see those strategies and tactics in action. Professor Dues has crafted 70 professionally acted dramatizations to illustrate different conflict situations at home and in the workplace.

Most of these situations will be familiar to all of us, undoubtedly echoing similar conflicts we've experienced in our own lives. And as you watch them unfold, you'll grasp far more than what works and what doesn't. You'll understand why.

Moreover, to ensure that you gain a true working feel for the dynamics at play in each of these situations, Professor Dues ends each lecture with a simple yet provocative "assignment."

He asks you to focus on events in your own life in which those same dynamics have been felt, and to then apply what you have just learned in evaluating your own statements and actions. There's no better way to get a real handle on a conflict you know well and to see immediately what needs to happen to resolve it.

Even something as simple as offering an apology, for example, takes on a whole new light after you learn the five components that must be included if an apology is to be truly accepted and effective. And while most of us probably believe we already know how to apologize, it's likely that many of our own apologies might not include all of these essentials:

  • A specific statement of the offending behavior
  • An acknowledgment that it was harmful
  • Our assumption of responsibility for both the behavior and the harm done
  • An admission of regret
  • Our commitment to not repeat the behavior

Discover New Realizations about the Conflicts in Life

Time after time, you're likely to catch yourself in a quick one-two punch of realization after Professor Dues makes a telling point, or after a pair of dramatizations illustrates the right and wrong way we can communicate during a conflict:

Realization No. 1: Well, of course. That makes sense. I probably knew that already. Quickly followed by...

Realization No. 2: I don't think I actually said it that way the last time I was in that situation. Maybe that's why things didn't work out as well as I had hoped.

The lectures abound with examples producing similar realizations. Professor Dues repeatedly reveals conversational pathways that make all the sense in the world, but that we might not necessarily take or even consider on our own. By folding these insights into the findings of six decades of research and presenting the material in easily digestible form, he succeeds in leaving you with knowledge that manages to be both eye-opening and intuitive.

That knowledge becomes a toolbox of techniques you can put to work today, not only preventing as many conflicts as possible but equipping you to manage in the best possible way the ones that do take place in spite of your best efforts.

One of the most remarkable points Professor Dues makes is how even the most seemingly intractable conflicts can be eased toward resolution by these techniques. His riveting descriptions of how they have been put to use on the world stage—including President Carter's creative eliciting of empathy during the Camp David negotiations between Israel and Egypt—offer profound examples of how powerful these techniques can be.

And while your own conflicts may not seem to rise to a similar scale, there is no mistaking the impact they can have on your own world, where your relationships—at work, with friends, or with family—define your success and happiness.

You don't have a choice about becoming involved in conflict. You do, however, have a choice about learning to manage it successfully and about using the invaluable tools this course can give you.

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24 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    Why Conflict Management Matters
    The study of conflict management has made enormous strides since the mid-20th century. In this introductory lecture, learn what conflict is, why it is inevitable even in successful relationships, and why dealing with it constructively is both essential and beneficial, whether in your business or personal life. x
  • 2
    The Adversary System
    Recognition of conflict and its costs goes back to the philosophers of ancient Greece. Grasp both the advantages and disadvantages of the system they devised to cope with it, including the adversary system's underlying assumption that conflicts are inherently competitive, with resolutions requiring winners and losers. x
  • 3
    Morton Deutsch and the Concept of Win-Win
    Meet the founder of modern conflict management theory, whose research resulted in a far different approach than that envisioned from the adversarial perspective. His finding that most conflicts can, in fact, produce a "win" for both sides has dominated the field for the last 60 years. x
  • 4
    Perception, Perspective, and Punctuation
    Conflict arises not so much out of differences between parties, but in how those differences are perceived by each side. Gain fresh insight into the factors that shape those perceptions, including the critically important fundamental attribution error, of which just about everyone is guilty. x
  • 5
    Managing Multiple and Conflicting Emotions
    Emotions, even when powerfully felt, do not have to derail your attempts to manage or resolve a conflict. This lecture describes the role these "internal facts" play in any conflict and offers useful tools for recognizing and handling them in yourself and others. x
  • 6
    Multiple, Complex, and Changing Goals
    Goals that appear simple on the surface actually have many layers, with each concealing different needs. Add a key skill to successfully managing conflict by learning to identify the multiple goals driving both parties. x
  • 7
    Power—How Much We Need and How to Use It
    Power is in play in every conflict, but its "advantage" is less than you may think. This discussion of the sources and uses of power reveals a valuable insight from recent research: that lasting resolutions are more likely when power is equally distributed. x
  • 8
    Conflict Styles
    An exploration of the five most common "default strategies," or styles, of conflict management upends a commonly held assumption. Compromise, it seems, is not the most effective conflict management strategy. It produces results far less desirable than the preferred strategy for producing "win-win" results, which is collaboration. x
  • 9
    Dysfunctional Conflict Strategies
    Dissect the rogue's gallery of strategies that should never become your ongoing conflict management style and that are best avoided unless they are the only viable alternatives. Delve into the damage that can be done through avoidance, withdrawal, imposition, triangulation, manipulation, absolute framing, payback, or compromise. x
  • 10
    Principled Negotiation
    Explore the basic principles underlying the true "win-win" approach. These include understanding the importance of separating people from the problem; focusing on interests instead of positions; generating multiple options for mutual gain; and basing your choices on objective criteria. x
  • 11
    Preparing and Arranging to Negotiate
    Approaching a negotiation can be just as important as the negotiation itself. This lecture explains the steps you need to take in first recognizing whether the basic conditions for negotiation are present and then arranging for the actual negotiation. x
  • 12
    Negotiating Conflict Resolutions
    Enhance your chances for success at the table by absorbing the essential "how-to" steps for conducting the negotiation, gaining a clear agreement, and following through—including the steps you should take when agreements are or aren't kept. x
  • 13
    Listening in Conflict
    It's one of the most important skills you can have in your relationship tool kit, but it's also one in which many of us fall short. Learn the fundamentals of this demanding skill, including the key things you should focus on in discerning someone's real messages. x
  • 14
    Dynamic Patterns in Close Relationships
    Dealing with conflict in your personal relationships, whether with friends, family, work colleagues, neighbors, or simply acquaintances, requires its own special set of skills. Gain vital insights into the conflict management styles that can sustain or damage those relationships. x
  • 15
    Disruptions in Close Relationships
    There are steps you can take to avoid conflict in a close relationship or manage and resolve conflict when it does inevitably occur. However, when a destabilizing event—such as a serious illness—creates what is known as a critical communications context, the special insights offered here become even more important. x
  • 16
    How Management Theories Affect Conflict
    Explore the impact of several accepted theories of management to understand why the biggest losses to organizations don't come from major conflicts at all. Instead, they come from the accumulation of small, day-to-day ones. x
  • 17
    The Manager's Role in Dealing with Conflict
    Even when managers aren't actively involved in managing a conflict, their everyday actions help determine the frequency and seriousness of the conflicts that occur. Learn the steps managers need to know to create the best atmosphere possible for successful conflict management. x
  • 18
    Getting Professional Help with Conflict
    Several decades of focus on conflict management have led to a wide array of professional specialties, each devoted to different aspects of conflict management. Become familiar with the different skills of mediators, arbitrators, ombudsmen, counselors, and informal organizational "priests"—as well as when to call on them. x
  • 19
    Helping Others Manage Conflict
    What should you do as a nonprofessional to help others resolve a conflict? And how can you best do so? This lecture offers suggestions on the best procedures to follow and the pitfalls you need to avoid. x
  • 20
    Moral and Cultural Conflicts
    Conflicts based on moral and cultural differences can seem the most intractable of all, beyond anyone's skills of resolution. Nevertheless, there are steps that can achieve positive and lasting progress. Grasp the essential principles of reframing the issues, fractionating them into resolvable pieces, and developing empathy and mutual trust between opposing sides. x
  • 21
    Managing Moral Conflicts—Success Stories
    See how the principles of the previous lecture are put into successful practice to resolve three notable conflicts long in the public eye. In particular, learn how they were used by President Jimmy Carter in the Camp David Accords and President Ronald Reagan in the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty talks. x
  • 22
    Managing Conflict's Aftermath
    Conflicts are rarely "over" when negotiations conclude, even when the results are successful. Gain insights into the concepts of acceptance, apology, amends, forgiveness, reconciliation, healing, and even the escalation that can follow in conflict's wake. x
  • 23
    Teaching Our Children about Conflict
    Some of the strongest advances in the study of conflict management have been in how to pass on what we have learned to the next generation. Examine the different ways children learn about conflict and what we are already doing to improve that process. x
  • 24
    Conflict Management—A Success in Progress
    Compare what you've learned in this course to what was known about conflict and its management in 1950, before research really began in earnest. Conclude the course with 10 key takeaway points, each of which can be applied in your own life right now. x

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Your professor

Michael Dues

About Your Professor

Michael Dues, Ph.D.
University of Arizona
Dr. Michael Dues is Senior Lecturer in Communication at The University of Arizona, where he also served as head of the Department of Communication. The holder of an M.A. in American History from the University of Louisville and a Ph.D. in Communication and American Studies from Indiana University, Professor Dues has spent 40 years not only as an award-winning teacher and respected scholar, but also as a successful...
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Art of Conflict Management: Achieving Solutions for Life, Work, and Beyond is rated 4.3 out of 5 by 60.
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not a particularly interesting nor useful course Unfortunately I cannot say I enjoyed this course. I bought the audio download version. To start the positives: - Each lecture was well structured. I found especially useful that each ended with a recap, an assignment and an introduction to next lesson. - The professor’s presentation is clear and articulate, though not particularly engaging. I just don’t feel like I learned very much new, interesting or useful. My knowledge about conflict management amounts to less than 5 books read on or around the subject. However I found that most of the information in this course was very basic and somewhat obvious. I found my mind wandering quite often while listening to the lectures, and during almost the entirety of this course I felt rather bored. The professor seems to be very knowledgeable about his subject and I’m sure he could give a very interesting and useful course – unfortunately I don’t feel like “Art of Conflict Management” is one. Though not an exact apples to apples comparison, I found “The Art of Negotiating the Best Deal” by Professor Seth Freeman course excellent. I feel like the 12 hours I just spent listening to Professor Dues’ course would have been much better spent listening to Professor Freeman’s course a second time. Unfortunately I would not recommend this course unless you had never had any exposure to conflict management and were looking for a very basic introduction to the general concepts of conflict management.
Date published: 2016-09-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Conflict Management For Everyone Excellent Presentation by the Professor. Complete Coverage of the Material. A Useful Guide for Life's Conflicts.
Date published: 2016-08-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent course - it hits the mark! I've purchased about 15 courses through TGC and consider to be one of the best. In terms of practical, applicable knowledge/skills, covering multiple facets of conflict management, it's truly excellent. Very good resource if you're trying to improve your ability to manage conflict more effectively.
Date published: 2016-06-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great, but some unavoidable drawbacks. First, let me say that I really enjoyed this course. I own a business and I have already put a plan into place for dealing with conflicts in our workplace based on the strategies explained in this course. To say that I have gotten my money's worth would be an understatement of colossal proportions! I had one of my manager do the course along with me & we are putting together strategies within the company to help reduce conflict, or at least to resolve conflicts more quickly and effectively when they do arise. While I have no feedback on the success (or lack of) this approach so far, I'm really looking forward to seeing how things play out. Why 4 stars instead of 5? Perhaps it's a tad unfair to dock the course a star for this, but the nature of the topic is that it covers conflict in a large variety of life's potential situations. That's great, but I think most of us are primarily in need of strategies to deal with conflict at work, or at home, or some other situation. If you have significant conflict in all areas of your life, then you REALLY need this course and you can add a star to my review because it'll definitely be a 5-star course for you! If (like me), you only have it in certain areas, you'll likely find many of the lectures to fall into one of 2 categories. A) "YES, I REALLY NEEDED THAT INFORMATION!" Or B) "Hmm, that's interesting." SO, do you know people or interact with people at all on a regular or semi-regular basis? Then I solidly recommend this course.
Date published: 2016-02-15
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Helpful, But Not Fulfilling There is value here, but, for reasons I will discuss below, I can only give this course a fair rating. First, the positives. Dues is a smart, experienced fellow who has lived and taught conflict management for quite some time. He understands the topic deeply and offers many fine and worthwhile tips and suggestions during the course. In fact, if you're mostly after advice in sort of more a "how to" format, you're likely to be more satisfied with the course than I was. My fundamental problem, I believe, is that I come as a customer from the old school with the Teaching Company, as one who is looking for courses "from the greatest classrooms in the world." This simply is not such a course. The professor cites research frequently, but he rarely goes into much detail about the quality of the research, the science behind it, and the details of its findings. Rather, he typically attests to some broad conclusions to work he mentions, and the learner really has little foundation to assess the strength of the work he mentions or have confidence in basing learning on it. What makes one especially anxious about Dues' treatment of research is his carelessness in accounts of history and the degree to which he too extravagantly credits the new "science" of conflict management. Win-win notions of how to deal with problems with family, neighbors, and others were not invented by Morton Deutsch. There's a long history before the 1950s in philosophy, religion, ethics, and business from which we garner extraordinary wisdom relevant to dealing with these problems. And there was far more of value, including magnificent thought on understanding and solving problems, in Greek philosophy and thought. It wasn't just about the adversary system, as Dues implies. The foundation that is laid in the first three lectures is very shaky. I appreciate the simple narratives Dues establishes for the learner to get an elementary sense of conflicts and ultimately how they might be managed. But I would have far preferred, as one should get in a more advanced class, teaching about complex case studies that perhaps Dues has either taught or experienced as a consultant. His short and casual mentioning the arms control negotiations or the Egypt-Israel treaty from a distance was no substitute. So, instead of going directly to the heart of more advanced problems, we get simple basics and a very top level consideration of major stories in the news. For me, as a student wanting the equivalent of a very challenging college course, this was unsatisfactory. I must say finally that the professor's contrived conclusions of the story narratives he had created were sophomoric. The resolutions typically had more to do with the fact that gender fairness is happily more abundant today it was in the 50s. Further, the easy assumption that we're so much better at conflict management since Deutsch's "awakening" is again based on the good professor's hypothesis more than real research or evidence. I believe the course was made in 2010, so the deterioration in conflict management in our social and political institutions was well underway by then. Watching the current Congress and Administration in action, all the screaming and yelling on cable news, and the extremes and factions throughout our society that don't deal with each other, I think a more grounded, more sophisticated, and more responsive course would have actually been very timely and useful. I want to conclude, however, by saying again that customers of TGC who want an elementary course on this topic with guidance and counseling on basic matters of conflict, especially for conflicts with friends or family, might very well be happier with this course than I was and should consider buying it.
Date published: 2015-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Why Do You Want This Course? Are you a "people" person? Do you tend to get along with everybody? When dealing with opposing viewpoints, do you avoid conflict? Then this course isn't for you. But, if you're more like me, this course is a real education. This course helped me view conversations from the outside. That is, it helped me understand how people interact and has greatly improved my interpersonal skills. If you have trouble getting along with those you disagree with, this course can help. I know it helped me. I watched it twice. And I will probably watch it again periodically. Are the dramatizations a bit silly? Of course they are! They're not meant to be high drama and the actors aren't up for any awards. But the dramatizations have a point, and the point is usually well made. The professor couldn't have made these points by just talking about them. I only gave Dues 4 stars as presenter to differentiate him from some of the better presenters. I felt he did a good job. I found the Effective Communication Skills course to be a great companion to this course.
Date published: 2015-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Mandatory As I listened it occurred to me how much further ahead in life I'd be, how much pain could have been spared if I'd learned these concepts in public school. Conflict is at the heart of life and the way I coped with it was learned before I could speak. What a shock I had at my own ignorance listening to this. Truly life changing for those who want change - this will give you many tools and likely change the way you see your life. The sound quality of this CD is the best I have heard yet and the speakers voice is clear and consistently engaging.
Date published: 2015-01-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from not enough evidence This was a disappointing series. Entertaining enough, but I was really hoping for more depth. The lecturer would frequently refer to "the research", but did not give examples of how one would study such a subject objectively, or references to look for this information independently. To much "self-help" and not enough science.
Date published: 2014-12-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Should teach this in school While watching this course I was wondering why they spent so much time at school teaching me trigonometry but nothing about conflict management. I never knew so much research and academia went into this topic. Not only did I get lots of insight about conflict management at the workplace (what I got the course for) but also for my personal life. Don't think you'll watch this all course all in one go. Each lecture has a lot of content, and a lot to think about. I think the best way to do it is one lecture per day. Pro's: -Good professor presentation -Very good in-depth content -Included Course guidebook -"Real life" examples Con's: -Acting in the examples are really bad. (However not a issue for getting the message across) - I would have liked a kind of 'cheat sheet' with the most important points to always have on me.
Date published: 2014-10-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good but lacking in depth I've listened to Influence by professor Brown and Art of Negotiating by professor Freeman and I'd recommend both courses over this one. The course is too long when compared with what he covers. it could easily be cut by 1/3. His delivery was not very good and he uses typical examples that you've either heard or seen elsewhere. Not to be overly negative. I still found some of the information useful and intriguing. Conflict Management is part of our everyday life and perhaps I was looking for something a little more in depth. Probably great for beginners or younger people.
Date published: 2014-09-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic !!! This is a fantastic course and strongly recommended for personal or professional use. The material is presented in a manner which would be of interest to the skilled practitioner, a mediator for example yet would be immediately useful for a person to use during their daily business and personal encounters. Additionally Prof. Dues calls upon an exhaustive range of research as well as his own professional experiences. This is a must buy for those interested in understanding and improving their interpersonal skills.
Date published: 2014-05-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes WOW! I really like this course. I am slowly discovering the Professional courses and am very impressed by Michael Dues’ course in The Art of Conflict Management. Conflict is inevitable so it made sense to learn something about it. Watching this course was life-changing for me. I took a Conflict Management course through work and with TTC together. They both enhanced one another. The main advantage of the course from work is that they had many practical role-playing situations where one could experience these principles in action. The Teaching Company course was much more extensive in definitions, principles, examples, and had many acted-out situations. I felt the acted-out cases were one of the best tools in this course (first I’ve seen with TTC). The political examples near the end of the lectures were good at driving home some of the main points in the course. I wish I’ve taken Michaels Dues course a long time ago. Often, when he talked, I thought of situations that I could have handled better. I was even more amazed to learn that these problems take on patterns in the workplace (and home for that matter). I frequently see the problem more than the solution. A good example is triangulation (lecture 9) in the workplace. Now I can put a name to it and be more aware of them. Bill Cosby said, “Family is conflict and it’s something we all relate to.” A truly inspiring course if one is interested in the bigger picture!
Date published: 2014-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The first Great Course I want to share with others I have been a customer of The Great Courses for years, and I've purchased DVD versions of many courses. This is the first one I want to share with other people. Dr. Dues gives an outstanding 24 lessons to give people the best available tools to work through conflict. Several high points for me include the knowledge that there is no "cookie cutter" process to resolve every conflict (I think everyone knows that), but there are very tangible steps that people can take to greatly improve the chances of a favorable outcome. Another high point was the focus on moral conflict - I never saw this presented in this way before, and it was very clear. It was also very good to see how many resources are available to help people resolve conflict. One more was how to work with the aftermath of conflict. The assignments at the end of each lesson were very good and helped make the lessons clear. This is something I'd like to see done more often in these courses. The range of dramatizations was good, but I found the real world examples more powerful to me. The many successful examples showed how to apply the skills in the real world. The course is necessarily an introduction. This is a very good job, the world would be a better place if we applied these lessons. Future advanced courses would do well to address more advanced topics, such as more about the research of John Gottman addressing conflict in marriage, and reducing workplace violence. There is a wealth of information in the field, this class gives the viewer a solid foundation for success.
Date published: 2014-01-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Pragmatic Course Since conflict is inevitable in all aspects of our lives a course such as this based on rigorous investigation into the subject is invaluable. The historical review of conflict resolution segues nicely to current theories and research on the subject. The various staged examples were quite valuable in illustrating Professor Dues points. My only issue was that the final few lectures seemed somewhat redundant with little new or valuable information.
Date published: 2013-11-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Well done I was a skeptical about this course.... I was not sure how an audio presentation could address something that is a behavioral issue. The professor did a good job of explaining principles and then illustrating it with real life examples including dialogue from actors. I was mostly afraid the lectures would be boring, and I was pleasantly surprised that they were not. They held my attention and inspired me to do better in my interactions with others. Practical tips abound, but of course the real challenge is then taking time after the lecture to review and implement the material. I thought the last few lectures seemed to be filling time, but otherwise the series was very worthwhile and well done.
Date published: 2013-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Useful and worthwhile This is one of the few courses that has had immediate impact on my life. Not to say other courses haven't been interesting, they have. But by the 3rd lecture I was practicing specific elements in my marriage, with colleagues and even with some 10 year olds. It helped me to identify and analyze elements in arguments and to reduce the emotion I bring to a conflict. The use of examples with actors (audio) was helpful. This does not strike me as "scholarly" approach, and I didn't want one. I feel I definitely got my money's worth and I'm not even done yet.
Date published: 2013-10-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from VERY Informative and helpful course! This was my first purchase from The Great Courses and I am loving it! The material is fascinating and informative; the professor is well-spoken and logical; and the knowledge that I have gained has been extremely useful in dealing with conflicts. I would highly recommend this course!
Date published: 2013-08-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very useful! Excellent tools provided for better communication.
Date published: 2013-07-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Saved a relationship I was having a terrible communication problem with my daughter who I am in business with. In desperation I ordered this course and used the techniques. It literally saved our relationship.
Date published: 2013-06-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from How to Reduce Harm while Gaining Results! Yet another course I wish had been available to me when I was just starting out as a young man! This is a course that I believe to be of potentially great benefit to all, whatever one's age or position. What a gift to be able to learn such lessons earlier rather than later! Precisely because, as Professor Dues says, conflicts in life -- between friends, lovers, spouses, and in the workplace -- are absolutely inevitable, this course gives us valuable warnings about how not to behave (for this produces damaged relationships) as well as great stuff about how all of us can do better in managing conflicts large and small. There were three things in particular which I valued about this course: First, the wise counsel about how deeply our emotions and beliefs influence our approach to, and management of, conflict resolution. Appreciating this helps us to more openly acknowledge that "how we feel" should not automatically translate into "how we act," although we have a right to discuss the feelings we have in a non-accusatory way. Second, frank acknowledgement about each individual's worth in conflicts. Each person's perspectives, feelings, hopes and goals deserves respect; the problem is in getting to mutual appreciation of where both (or all) parties are at. Hiding feelings or issues will NOT help conflict resolution. Professor Dues, accordingly, cautions against settling for "compromise" when a collaborative gain for both (or all) parties involved is yet possible. He also states that we must acknowledge that, if we are to attain true "win-win" solutions -- ones in which the needs and concerns of both parties are satisfactorily addressed -- we all need "able and willing partners." Whether in romantic relations or in the workplace with intractable colleagues and/or aloof bosses, there are just times when we are not dealing with another who is both "able and willing." It is at that point, we are counseled, that we really have to make the decision as to whether or not we are willing to "hang in there" with a less than desirable resolution, or whether this might just be the time when -- for our own sake -- we must decide to walk away. The more balanced a person we are, and the more successful we have learned to be in presenting honestly our needs and hopes, the more likely we can make such a decision knowing that it is the only alternative left to us. Better this than remaining "a victim," the professor tells us. Thirdly, I much appreciated the dramatizations imbedded in many of these lectures. They both helped to illustrate the points being made in that particular lecture, but also allowed viewers to observe in others' behavior the same kinds of mistakes (even rudeness) that we have most likely employed ourselves in the past. It helps drive the point home without making it feel "personal," although that did not stop me from groaning in recognition of my own similar mistakes in the past. Professor Dues is informed and engaging throughout this course; I truly enjoyed being hin his company. This is both a wonderful -- and highly useful -- course offering from the Teaching Company. Highly recommended!
Date published: 2013-04-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Some important help here This course presents some important points. Even though the course is well presented, there is fluff. I sense that the authors and The Great Courses are committed to 30 minute duration CDs/DVDs at the expense of content. Nonetheless, I have bought two of these to give to friends with the caveat that there is some fluff. Because of "fill", I reduced the presentation to 3 stars.
Date published: 2013-03-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Some important content in too many lectures Since conflicts occur in everyone's life, it is helpful to learn more about how to approach them and achieve a better outcome. I found that this course gave some very good recommendations which should help me in the future. The course content is well structured and the presentation by Professor Dues is clear and nicely supported by well acted dramatizations. Every lecture is also clearly structured by Prof. Dues with an introduction, the presentation of the topic, a summary to better memorize the highlights, an assignment, and a short outlook to the following lecture. However, inspite of all these positive elements, I felt overall rather disappointed and frequently bored when watching the DVDs. The main reason why I would not recommend this course to a friend is that I felt that many lectures did not have enough valuable content to stretch it into a 30 minute lesson. One could read the according chapter in the guidebook in 5 to 10 minutes and get the message as well. The DVD presentation did not have any more information than contained in the coursebook. As nice as most dramatizations were, some were unnecessary to make the message any clearer and just seemed to fill the space to bring the length of the lesson to the necessary amount of time. The same can be said about some additional explanations by Prof. Dues when he goes through a list that supports a topic. It is usually enough to give one or two examples to get to the point, I definitely do not need more than three (like in the lecture about moral issues). As much as the presentation by Prof. Dues was clear, it was obvious in the first third of the course that he was not comfortable with the presentation method and the changing cameras he had to talk to, which at times interrupted the flow. Also, his overuse of the word "really" (e.g. "It is really important that...") in some lectures started to become annoying as it is a redundant word in most cases anyway. The actual communication is an important part of conflict management. While the course spends some lectures on communication elements (perspective, emotions, listening), I found that Prof. Dalton Kehoe's course "Effective Comminucation Skills" covered these important topics much better. Since conflicts are often complicated by the way how we communicate with each other in a situation of opposite goals, I would rather recommend Prof. Kehoe's course, even though its primary focus is not conflict, than this one. I think this course would work better if the material was wrapped into less, faster paced lectures.
Date published: 2013-02-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good blend of practical and scholarly (CD review) This course offered suggestions on how to manage conflict in both personal and professional settings. It presented examples in role playing formats that related to examples most people could relate to in some fashion. Dealing with interpersonal conflict was a subset of communication, the discipline in which I earned my degree back in the 1980's. While it was not my primary focus or area of interest, I did study the literature back then and many of the scholarly research and studies to which he referred I remembered. Overall his review, summary and application of the findings to the real world was very good. The reason I did not give it the highest scores had to do with his informal style of verbal presentation of the material. For example, he says "gonna, wanna, talkin'" and often says "um" and "uh" throughout the course. On the plus side this avoids sounding overly pedantic. I sometimes felt it was a distraction, though I might be more sensitive to these things because of my background. This may be best suited for those who want more practical suggestions and a general review of the field.
Date published: 2012-12-05
Rated 2 out of 5 by from too much fluff I am 3/4th through the 3rd lecture, and there is a whole lot of nothing being said. There are some concepts and people mentioned, but there is no meaning or point to discern. I am going to abandon the course if there continues to be only 5 minutes worth of real content in each 1/2 hour segment. Earlier in the course, it felt like watching an attorney commercial when he said, "get a professional when you need one - get a good consultant or professional..." I stopped to think 'is this a conflict management course or someone promoting himself?' So far, I would not recommend this course to someone wanting to know more about professional conflict management. I think most people would get more from reading a book or 2 on the topic.
Date published: 2012-11-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Solid Methods for Handling Conflict This course presented good communication skills along with the emotional overlay that goes with handling conflict. The material is very thought-provoking, and I thought of personal examples for all the principles that were presented and made plans to practice them. The situations that are used as examples surfaced throughout the course and are excellent examples of the principles presented, making the content come alive. I appreciated very much the professor's personal examples of team facilitation and his own regrets in the area of offering apology. The section on apologies was most valuable to me because I have never studied how to make an effective apology. The professor emphasizes that every situation is different and there is no cookie-cutter solution to all conflict. In fact, many conflicts will never be resolved and the key is to manage them. Explanation of the "win-win" solution was very good. I purchased the audio download and found that this was an effective way to study this course.
Date published: 2012-07-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Practical and Insightful This is an outstanding review not only of conflict management strategies but also of communication principles and how they affect relationships in conflict. Having actors demonstrate typical conflict situations turns abstract research findings into useful principles anyone can apply. Dues presents background detail on how and why conflict management research was done so that his lectures are filled with engaging stories of scholars seeking answers much like Sherlock Holmes solving a mystery. The combination of research-based material presented as unfolding drama, actors in scenes that illustrate the concepts, and the easy-to-listen-to style of Dr. Dues makes this an excellent course!
Date published: 2012-06-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Win-Win and Getting to Yes Audio CD. Each of has conflicts; that’s part of being human in society. This course teaches us how to navigate those waters. Dr. Dues is all about win-win and Getting to Yes. He then applies shows how to apply these principles in several situations: managing conflicts with loved ones, managing conflicts in the workplace, seeking help in managing conflicts, helping someone else how to manage conflicts, teach children how to manage conflicts. This course structure (i.e., virtual rather than classroom) suffers from the disadvantage of not being able to do in-class group assignments. Just hearing about how to manage conflict is a far cry from gaining hands on conflict management experience under the tutelage of a teacher. However, if you’re willing to live with this limitation and if you’re interested in contemplating conflict management skills, this is a good course for you.
Date published: 2012-06-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Better than expected I cannot say enough about this course. Although it was my first I was more than satisfied. The cadence kept my attention and the segway's were right on. I have recommended this to others.
Date published: 2012-04-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly Recommended Prof Dues gave a thorough analysis of the area of conflict management. The course material linked a lot of research and practice together. The historical overviews were also helpful and insightful. I felt much of the course related to my personal and business life and I took away a lot of techniques that I will use. During the course I actually used some of the techniques successfully in a dispute I'm currently involved in. His presentation style was excellent and the role plays worked well in creating variety to the lectures, as well as illustrating a particular point. Overall, for the novice like me, an excellent and worthwhile course that I will watch again.
Date published: 2012-04-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Difficult to rate this course The usefulness of this course is relative to one’s knowledge, experience, maturity, and whatever precious wisdom one may have acquired, and its usefulness is also relative to the conflicts to which one might seek to apply the course. The course contains a lot of potentially useful insights, principles, and suggestions, and if one were to take those and learn to adapt them and use them wisely, one might well better manage those conflicts amenable to them. My problems with the course may only be mine, in relation to how I think and to what I know; but perhaps they’re worth mentioning, so I’ll do so. In no particular order, I’ll start with the practice of attributing to modern sources ideas that go back hundreds and in some cases even thousands of years. Making up new names for ideas does not in itself create new ideas, and attributing discovery of an idea to a modern source, when the idea is well known in multiple ancient sources, raises awkward questions. It was also odd, at least tome, that the course made makes no reference to conflict management and resolution in the histories of neither law nor diplomacy, when both have long contained much or most of what is presented as recent insights or discoveries, as well as to attribute to the behavioral sciences that which has long been part of ethics, philosophy, and theology. As I listened to the course, I found it raised perhaps as many questions as it sought to answer, and it often seemed to do so through casuistry, though I use the word not in its pejorative sense, but to mean reasoning employed to resolve moral problems by applying theoretical rules to particular instances, and by extracting or extending theoretical rules from (novel) particular instances. I say this because the examples usually lacked the information necessary to determine whether a given example was suitable for its argument. I felt that in order to follow many lines of reasoning, it was necessary for me to ignore the information missing from an example, or from one of the many seemingly arbitrary lists of categories, and that when this problem began with definitions, that the definitions may have constructed to serve their employment, a situation that may be tautological or totalistic. But as I said at the outset, what bothered me may be of no consequence to other people. The presentation was good and clear and well-structured, and made for pleasant listening, and I did certainly find much that could be helpful in situations amenable to this approach. Ultimately, I’m glad I bought it at a sale price of $50, and I say this in both meanings of those words.
Date published: 2012-03-08
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