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Resources To Prevent & Deal With Workplace Conflict With Customers and Colleagues
Conflict Prevention In The Workplace - Using Cooperative Communication - The Book
Providing you with resources to prevent, manage & resolve conflict in the workplace. Our website is a free resource to support individuals, managers and companies increase job satisfaction, reduce, stress, save time, and increase productivity. 
Institute For Cooperative Communication, 252 Cathcart St., Winnipeg, Mb. Canada, R3R 0S2
Phone: (204) 888-9290 Fax: (204) 888-2056
All Site Material is © Robert Bacal, 1998 Reproduction without permission in any form is forbidden 


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Conflict Prevention In The Workplace - Using Cooperative Communication

Conflict Prevention In The Workplace is part of our Keypoint series--short books of under 100 pages that focus on a particular workplace issue. It's premise is that we can gain far more from preventing conflict in the workplace than by waiting until we need to manage conflict once it occurs. 

By learning about and using cooperative communication techniques, other individual strategies, and team conflict reduction strategies, teams and workgroups can reduce the level of unnecessary destructive conflict while dealing more effectively with conflict that can be harnessed to produce positive results. 

Who Will Benefit? 

Everyone can benefit from using conflict prevention techniques, but they are essential for teams of any kind, or individuals who find themselves often involved in time-consuming frustrating conflict situations.  

Price $31.95. 

To order, go to order form link

What's Inside - Table of Contents (subject to slight change) 

Preface (READ NOW) 

Conflict In Organizations - An Overview (READ NOW) 

The Inevitability of Conflict 
Good Organizational Conflict 
Ugly Conflict 
Contributors to Ugly Conflict In The Workplace 

Cooperative VS Conflict Provoking Communication 

Cooperative Vs. Conflict-Provoking Communication 
The Essential Difference: Cooperative Communication 
The Psychology Beneath Cooperation & Confrontation...16 
What Angers People Or Primes The Conflict Pump 

  • Lack of Listening/Understanding
  • ďLess ThanĒ Communication
  • Communicating Mistrust
  • Violations of Conversation Rules
  • Blatant Generalizations
  • Power/Status-Based Communication
  • Other Sources
A Brief Conflict-Provoking Communication Self-Assessment 

Specific Conflict-Provoking Behaviours 

Conflict-Provoking Behaviours 

  • Person Centred Comments & Criticism
  • Past Centred Comments
  • Guilt-Induction Attempts
  • Blaming Comments
  • Inappropriate Reassurance and Positive Thinking
  • Unsolicited Advice/Commands
  • Lengthy Attempts At Persuasion
  • Defensiveness-Causing Questions
  • Extended Attempts To Win
  • Mistrust Statements
  • Overstatements and Over-generalizations
  • Infallibility Comments (and qualification comments)
  • Histrionic Behaviour (Overdramatization)
  • Use Of Hot Phrases and Words
  • Words or phrases that suggest disinterest
  • Phrases that blame or imply blame or suggest ignorance
  • Absolute words
  • Phrases that suggest helplessness (brush-offs)
  • Phrases that have a threatening undertone
  • Phrases that challenge or dare
  • Use of Code Words and Innuendo
  • Passive-Aggressive Behaviour
Replacing Conflict Provoking Communication With Cooperative Communication 

(summary-presents more cooperative oriented language and behaviour that can be used to replace conflict provoking behaviour. Concludes with a handy replacement chart that can be used as an on the job reference.) 

General Cooperative Communication Strategies 
Active Or Reflective Listening 
Empathy Responses 
Assertive Behaviour 

  • I. Steps In The Responsiveness Process
  • II. The Responsive Team Memberís Creed
  • Keypoints: Responsiveness Checklist
Organization, Team, and Management Involvement In Conflict Prevention 

Effective Teams 
Establishing Guidelines, Norms, and Processes 
How Do You Make Rules & Guidelines A Reality? 
The Role of Those In Formal Authority 

Also, sections on electronic communication, how to handle people who insist on behaving badly and a question and answer section. 


After almost a decade teaching people how to defuse hostile, angry people, it occurred to me that defusing angry or difficult people is only half the story. Getting along with people in the workplace -- with bosses, customers and co-workers, isnít just about dealing with conflict when it occurs, but about learning how to prevent destructive conflict from happening in the first place. 

Defusing hostile, manipulative people is important, since there will be situations where, unprovoked, people will treat you badly no matter what you do. Iíve now come to the conclusion that a good amount of workplace conflict simply isnít necessary. It is created because people (and that means all of us) do and say things that are likely to cause conflict. Usually we donít do so intentionally. We do so because we arenít aware of how our own behaviour; the ways we communicate, actually contribute to creating problems for ourselves and for those around us. 

While we arenít always aware of how we create interpersonal problems, we all know enough about language and communication to know what helps us work well with others, and what contributes to rocky relationships. Itís just that we donít use more cooperative approaches consistently. Sometimes we forget, or are frustrated and annoyed, or have a bad day. Then we slip up, and create conflict that isnít necessary. 

The good news is that all of us can learn new ways of communicating, and ďrememberĒ to use what we already know without a great deal of study and effort. We donít have to start from scratch. What we need to do is uncover and make use of what we already know, and learn to use those skills consistently and effectively. 

Thatís where this ďKeypoint SeriesĒ book is going to help. Our goal is to help you use what you already know about getting along with people, and introduce some communication issues you may not have considered. We set out the elements of communication that tend to create workplace conflict, and we provide you with specific, concrete and practical ways to replace those conflict causing elements with more cooperative ways of communicating. 

Making Use of This Book 

Communication is a funny thing. It is something we do without thinking or reflecting about what we are doing. While learning how to communicate more cooperatively and reduce conflict isnít rocket science, it does take consistent effort. Thatís because we have to rearrange our communication habits, many of which we have been using for decades, and in some cases since early childhood. You have to work at it. 

The first step in reducing conflict and conflict causing communication is to identify the ways that you contribute to conflict situations. To help you do this, early on in the book, we ask you to complete a brief self-assessment checklist. This will help you increase your awareness regarding ineffective communication patterns that you use, particularly in emotionally charged situations. 

After you have done that, proceed through the text of the book. While you are reading, think about how you could change your communication behaviours. Sometimes it is useful to think of a specific, recent conflict communication and recall what you said, then think specifically about how you could have used more effective language.  

Consider setting some conflict reduction techniques on a daily basis. For example, set yourself a goal of eliminating blaming statements from your communication, for a day, or a week. At the end of the time period, evaluate your progress. Did you succeed? In what situations did you not succeed? 

Contacting Us: 

We are always interested in success stories. If you want to share successes, ideas, or how you have applied the work in this book, you can contact us via the Internet at or by mail at the address below. 

In addition, as we develop similar material to this book, we will be posting information on our internet web site, in addition to other helpful tips and articles, available free of charge. 

Our web site can be reached at: 

We are also available for seminar delivery, speaking engagements, etc., on cooperative communication, conflict prevention, etc. Give us a call at the phone number listed below. 

Robert Bacal 
Institute For Cooperative Communication 
252 Cathcart St. 
Winnipeg, Mb. Canada 
R3R 0S2 

(204) 888-9290 





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