The first five steps of Systematic Problem-Solving

  1. Before you begin this project, review Chapter 8: Conflict Management Skills. Pay special attention to the section titled “Conflict Management Skills” (pp. 228-238) and read the Chapter 8 Reading: “Systematic Problem-Solving.”
  2. Select an interpersonal conflict you are or have been involved in. This should be a conflict that could be productively managed through a collaboration style.
  3. Be prepared to manage this conflict productively by applying the steps explained in the section of Chapter 8 titled, “Use a Problem-Solving Structure” (p. 236) and the Chapter 8 Reading “Systematic Problem-Solving.”

Briefly outline your purpose for writing the paper and the topics you will cover in your paper.

Managing Conflict Through Collaboration:
Define and explain the first five steps of Systematic Problem-Solving. Write at least one well-developed paragraph for each step of the process. Write this in your own words, but cite references to show where you learned the ideas.

  • Include characteristics, strengths, and potential drawbacks.
  • Integrate concepts and vocabulary from the text. Paraphrase the ideas in your own words, but include the citation to indicate the pages where you found the information.
  • As you explain each step, explain the involvement that is needed from BOTH parties.
  • Demonstrate how much you have learned about the principles of conflict management through collaboration.

Background of the conflict:
Briefly describe the conflict situation. You may wish to discuss the relationship, context, history, and any other factors that influence your interaction. Identify the TYPE of conflict (pseudo, simple, ego, or combination). Limit this section to one or two paragraphs.

Comparative Dialogues:
Write out two dialogues, illustrating your original attempt to solve the problem and then your informed attempt to solve the problem using Systematic Problem-Solving. At the beginning of this section, explain the purpose of the dialogues to the reader.

  • Dialogue A (without using Systematic Problem-Solving): Write out a dialogue of the conflict as it occurred without using Systematic Problem-Solving.
  • Dialogue B (using Systematic Problem-Solving): Revise the dialogue, to show how the conflict played out (or might have played out) differently if you apply the first five steps of Systematic Problem-Solving. Remember that Collaboration cannot be done by one person. Each person should equally participate in each step of the dialogue.
  • Label each Step: Write the dialogue (or probable dialogue) for each stage of Systematic Problem-Solving.
  • Reflection: After each step, write a few comments about the strengths or weaknesses of your interactions in this step…why they worked or not.

Write an insightful analysis of the dialogues. This section should include 2-3 paragraphs. Integrate concepts and vocabulary from the text or reading. Paraphrase or quote from the text or reading and include citations.

  • Compare the outcomes of the two dialogues. Explain the differences and support with concepts from the text.
  • Compare the conflict styles used in the two dialogues. What style was used in the first dialogue? What style was used in the second dialogue? What did you learn about each style? Support with concepts from the text.
  • What challenges did you encounter as you tried to apply the first five steps of Systematic Problem-Solving? How did you handle these challenges and how might you handle them in future conflicts.

Include a brief summary of your paper. Reflect on your experience and include a realistic explanation of how you can apply the Systematic Problem-Solving in your own life. Support with concepts from the text or reading.


Cite all sources of information using APA style. (If you need more information about APA formatting, see Purdue Owl’s APA Style Pages (Links to an external site.).)

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