After reading the assigned chapters for this week, discuss your personal observations and
reactions to the roles and definitions provided. In addition, identify how conflict affects you on a
regular basis in your profession.
Upon reading the assigned chapter for this week’s discussion, Barsky (2007)
solidifies the concept that conflict resolution is a skill set that typifies a diverse group of
occupations. It can be argued that when two or more individuals or groups have a
difference in values, positions or personal interest “social conflicts” will emerge which
may warrant the conflict resolution process (p. 2). Arguably, depending on the nature of
the conflict be it a couple going through a divorce or a student who is failing in class, the
negotiation process would prove to create additional havoc to the conflict resolution
process without a well-defined functional role models for the conflict resolution
professional. The author is to be commended for identifying and defining the key roles
of a conflict resolution professional as warranted by the nature of the conflict. For
example, I always thought that a judge’s role within the legal process was to monitor the
behavior of the lawyer advocates ensuring that their legal arguments are within the
bounds of juris prudence. I had no idea that a judge could serve as an evaluator with
the authority to decide on a “parenting plan” pertaining to child custody versus the
prerogatives of child protective services authorities (p. 8).
The most controversial role in chapter one was the role of the healer. It can be
argued that healing in the secular sense denotes medical practice and procedures that
results in a cure of a specific aliment. However when addressing the conflicts that are
predicated on psychosocial or spiritual matters the question becomes if prayer should
be part of the facilitation process if the healer is a member of the clergy? I concur with
the author’s observation that a mediator is one who controls the mediation process but
has no authority to determine the outcome for the parties Barsky (2007, p. 9). However
when it comes to the healer being a role within the realm of conflict resolution with
regard to spiritual matters, I will argue that God is the true healer. Psalms states “I will
instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye
upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed
with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you” Ps. 32:8-9 (English Standard Version)
implying that Gods word can intervene between two parties and heal all spiritual
Lastly, the conflicts that I incur in my profession are viewed as a valid working
tools that effectively evaluates plans, policy, and procedure in reference to my job
performance. These conflicts are normally resolved by way of a constructive dialoged
between my supervisor and I without mediation.
Barsky, A. (2007). Conflict resolution for the helping professions (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA:
Thomson Brooks/Cole
Vincent –
Your input to this issue shows a careful reading and reflection of the text. There are,
however, a couple of issues that your writing raises for me. The flow is wonderful, but there are
a couple of hiccups in composition . . . “without a well-defined functional role models” does not
require the “a” and “viewed as a valid working tools” also does not require the “a” (Parker, 2014,
n.p.). The examples are well stated and pertinent, and raise important insights. I have to concur
that there is no reason that Clergy would not fall under healers, but then, most clergy would fall
under most of the roles enabling resolution of conflict wouldn’t they? I would have liked to hear
more about the conflicts in your job and what theories you think are employed in resolving them.
Parker, V. (2014), Group Discussion Board Post 1, Conflict Resolution Roles, EDUC746-D01LUO-Fall 2014, dated October 21, 2014.
Conflict is impacted by life experiences, perceptions, beliefs, and even the culture of
a business or career. There are multiple layers to conflict which impacts the strategies
used to resolve it. As I read the chapter, many examples and life experiences were
reflected upon. One of the most profound points in the chapter was made in the
opening. Conflict can result from poor communcation and message interpretation. I
am reminded of situations in which individuals are so focused on their response to an
issue that the intent of the message is lost and unclear. A lack of trust prevents
situations from being resolved as well. This may be the result of the construct of one's
homelife as a child. It may also result from how an individual feels about
himself. This reminds of colleagues who feel that their instructional methods do not
need to change because they have seen great results in the past.
It can also be noted that indivduals bring dysfunctional attitudes in environments
which negatively impact others. For example, the colleague who feels that their
instructional methods do not need to updated or changed, has the ability to influence
his/her grade level mates negatively. It is evident in the overall demeanor and make
up of the individuals on the grade level. They exhibit very little tolerance or
acceptance of new ideas and initiatives. These individuals are always expressing a
negative opinion about the direction of our organization.
Now that I am aware of the different roles an individual may have in conflict, I
have a little more insight in to some of the conflict that arises within my current
organization. For example, the principal or assistant principal have many roles in the
resolution of conflict. They are identified as administrators due to the fact that they
are charged with the implementation of conflict resolutions, but they also can be
viewed as buffers when there is conflict between educators and parents. They are also
penalizers for those who fail to follow the mission and vision of the school when
individuals are placed on Professional Development Plans or PDPs.
In my current role as one the Instructional Coaches, I have multiple roles as it
relates to conflict resolution. This year, an additional coach was added to the staff and
I have found myself serving as the buffer, arbitrator, the healer, and mediator. I work
very diligently to maintain my role as support for the teachers and not come across as
if I am an administrator, expert, or penalizer. It has been challenging because conflict
is inevitable due to the fact that many of the teachers do not feel as if they are
supported by my co-coach. In an effort to be supportive to all parties, it has
been challenging to maintain the balance of support for the teachers and my cocoach. Hopefully, I will be able to employ the strategies learned within this course to
impact how I help resolve conflict.
Sabrina –
Nicely stated! There are a couple of places where you have typos – you may want to type in
Word and check for spelling and grammar before publication. There are a couple of plurality
shifts as well. It would seem you truly reflected on the material as it reflects in your workplace
environment. You referenced several of the roles that Basky (2007) named, and specifically
referred to the application of communication in conflict (p. 2), yet neglected to include the
reference – I had to go looking for it. The application of penalizers (Barsky, 2007, p. 14) as they
apply in your organization was very thought-provoking for me, as it is an area that my institution
endeavors to avoid. Thank you for your input.
Barsky, A. (2007). Conflict resolution for the helping professions. (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA:
Thomson Brooks/Cole.
Grant, S. (2014), Group Discussion Board Post 1, Conflict Resolution Roles, EDUC746-D01LUO-Fall 2014, dated October 23, 2014.
While reading this chapter, I was surprised at the number of participants possible for resolving
conflict. I was unaware of the available resources for overcoming different types of
conflict. Within the psychological realm of conflict resolution theories, I agree with the
personality theorists in that people deal with conflict based on learned responses. As children
develop they observe many different people dealing with conflict, but how their parents deal
with conflict has the most impact on their personal style of conflict resolution. I personally have
to fight the reactive devaluation response to conflict. I have to force myself to look at certain
suggestions neutrally. I like how the text pulls in the business administration and law aspects of
conflict resolution. I was not as familiar with these as some of the others and was
enlightened. Being in an educational system, I was able to relate most to the information related
to this area. “Universities and similar institutions are supposed to promote excellence,
independent thought, and academic freedom, while constrained by limited resources,
departmental politics, and convoluted bureaucracies: a perfect combination if you want to foster
conflict” (Barsky, 2007, p. 24). I agree wholeheartedly that educational systems are able to
contribute to conflict resolution theories, but they are provided with the least amount of
resources. I agree with Barsky in that many theories of conflict resolution are a mixture of all
the different disciplines.
Often when talking to parents conflict can arise. I attempt to contact parents often, but there are
times that my phone calls are not happily received. Sometimes when I contact parents to ask for
help with a discipline problem, they are angry with me, for pointing out their child’s pitfalls. We
are taught to approach problems in the “Oreo method”. Start off good, and then state the
problem, then end the conversation with something else good. Also, when dealing with students,
conflict will arise. When students make poor decisions, they need to be corrected. Frequently,
they want to argue their decision by explaining the reasoning behind it. Lastly, conflict occurs
between teachers and administrators. The administrators will make decisions and teachers will
not agree with the outcome.
Barsky, A. E. (2007). Conflict resolution for the helping professions (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA:
Meaghan –
You are certainly correct in affirming the plethora of roles in conflict resolution listed in
the Barsky (2007) text. While I think I knew most of them, I know I could not have listed them.
I even made a chart of roles and theories to aid my understanding. In my situation, we don’t deal
with parents, for our students are adults, but I know how defensive parents can (and should) be!
Parents should be a child’s first advocates. Even the advocate, though, must recognize when the
interested party has made an error. It is hard, as a parent, to have someone else direct our
attention there. Parental anger (Goad, 2014) can overcome the reasoning power of adults. Anger
is a big issue in conflict because of that.
Barsky, A. E. (2007). Conflict resolution for the helping professions (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA:
Goad, M. (2014), Group Discussion Board Post 1, Conflict Resolution Roles, EDUC746-D01LUO-Fall 2014, dated October 22, 2014.
Conflict, as a verb, means to engage in battle, or to buffet with adversity. It can also
mean “to come into collision” as regards feelings, interests, or opinions (“Conflict”, 2014, n.p.).
The Oxford English Dictionary, for all its wordiness, cannot really define the feeling of conflict
as a positive or a negative, for it is neither. Rather, the verb conflict, is an action. I would posit
that it is not the action, but the reaction that matters in conflict. Barsky (2007) seems to present
this same thought when he reminds us that “the manner in which we deal with conflict
determines whether it is constructive or destructive” (p. 3).
In the reading, I found eleven roles and at least twenty varying theories in dealing with
conflict. It is critical, therefore, that as leaders in education, we understand our roles, and the
theories that work best for us in various forms of conflict. This I espouse because not every
theory is going to fit every person, every situation, nor every conflict. There are times when
conflicts will resolve naturally, without intervention, and there are times when they will not.
Sometimes, a mediator can aid parties in finding resolution, sometimes an arbiter, and
sometimes, a judge is needed. Frequently, as educational leaders, students will come for advice
or consultation because of student conflicts with peers or other teachers. Sometimes we are party
to the conflict ourselves, as none of us is immune from the troubles of life. Job reminds us “Yet
man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7, KJV). Job also gives us the answer
to all our trouble: “. . . seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause” (Job 5:8, KJV).
In a public University setting, sometimes guiding the students must be a more prosaic
matter. In my class recently, there a student had plagiarized several paragraphs directly from
two sources. The University Code of Conduct has a very convoluted method of dealing with
Academic Misconduct, including plagiarism. The student, who admitted her wrongdoing and
provided no excuses for her response to the pressures of her life, was set upon by the academia
of the University. The Provost, the Dean, the Department Chair, even the student ombudsman
were arrayed against her and ready to expel her from the University. Having heard her tearful
confession and seen her response to the situation, I prevailed upon them for grace.
The situation remains unresolved, and the student remains in my classroom and is
working very hard to learn as much as she can while she is there. The isolating horror of facing
a panel of academic leadership, I believe, required a dose of grace. For the school, the matter
was simple – she plagiarized, throw her out of school. System theory reminds us, however, that
“relationship between individuals or groups is not simply the sum of the parts” (Barsky, 2007, p.
20). We must evaluate the whole of a situation before determining or guiding resolution.
Barsky, A. (2007). Conflict resolution for the helping professions. (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA:
Thomson Brooks/Cole.
In this week’s reading, there were so many terms and roles, that I found it useful to make a chart
defining them. As I did so, and then reviewed them, I marveled at how many are encompassed
in that most wonderful of jobs, motherhood. Of course, they also apply to my occupation as an
Adjunct Professor at Shawnee State University. The reading made me pause and consider my
role in conflict as an academic leader.
In Luke 22:24, we are reminded that “And there was also strife among them, which of them
should be counted the greatest” (KJV). Conflict is nothing new. In Genesis 4:7, the Lord tells
Cain, “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the
door. . .” (KJV). Doing well and being recognized for it seems to be the key points here. In my
experience, most of the conflict seems to be from a desire to achieve greater recognition with
less work. It would seem, therefore, that my goal as a leader in education is to reduce conflict to
enjoin the students in the path of edification.
Recently, in my classroom, I had to deal with a conflict with a student who had broken the rules
– a case of academic misconduct. Our school has guidelines for student conduct and methods to
follow when those guidelines are breached. The Code of Conduct is so poorly written a meeting
had to be held to determine the needed steps. In this conflict, the student and I were the
interested parties, and the Provost should have been the mediator. However, the student’s
behavior was so egregious that she had no advocate. Even our student ombudsman was failing
her. Since I felt is critical that she have an advocate, I found myself aiding her in the process,
providing her my administrative expertise so that she would not be overwhelmed by a process
none of us really understood.

After reading the assigned chapters for this week, discuss your