Applied Use Program: Problem Solving & Conflict Resolution


Course Description

Disagreements and conflicts are inherent in the business world. Today’s business leaders must have the skills to resolve conflicts that occur both internally within the workplace and externally with clients, professional counter-parts and competitors.

We explore the general causes of conflicts with a particular focus on how different communication styles can cause and contribute to professional disagreements. A person’s style of communication matters as much as his/her ability to use English. Thus, we will explore different communication styles for business. We will also discuss commercial cultural norms, including situations when direct communications are advised and when softer, more diplomatic approaches are recommended for most business situations.

Many conflicts arise from misunderstandings in the communication process so we can offer techniques for improved and effective listening. During the course, we teach various strategies for improved listening as a means for mitigating and resolving conflicts.

Business professionals are often required to have difficult professional conversations. These include managers counseling under-performing team members, discipline matters, performance reviews, compensation and client counseling. We offer students strategies for how to engage in these challenging communications effectively. The speed and convenience of emails has a means of communication often leads to misunderstanding and conflict. We discuss best practices for the use of emails in the workplace to avoid conflict.

Throughout the course, we use real world case examples for illustration and discussion of best practices and techniques for conflict resolution. At the end of the course, students will have:

1) an understanding of how poor or ineffective communication causes conflicts;
2) skills for more effective communication strategies;
3) strategies and techniques for resolving conflicts when they occur.