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Kayly Miranda and Alexi Naf

COMM 2110
Collaborative Assignment
Dr. Clark
Collaborative Analysis: The Laura Project
A lack of interpersonal communication skills in ourselves and the people
around us is the prime cause for the arguments and misunderstandings we face
daily. Everyone is guilty of it, but we should take it upon ourselves to improve our
interactions. Though conflict is unavoidable (Beebe 7e, pg. 226), it can be managed.
Kayly and I will be collaborating on an incident that we shared, this will give a
chance to recall important details and apply more than one perspective to our
experience. This analysis will give us the opportunity to reflect on a conflict that
occurred as a result of poor communication. Subsequently, we will discuss our
conflict and include an example of the dialog that was exchanged, why it wasnt
successful, and follow up with a hypothetical dialog that uses the five steps of the
problem solving process and why this exchange wouldve assisted in our
communication.
Managing Conflict through Collaboration:
1. Define the problem- Most conflict stems when each individual has
separate goals in mind (Beebe 7e, pg. 249). For instance, you like your
room to be bright with lights on all the time; however your roommate
is concerned about saving energy and insists you turn of more lights.
This step of the problem solving process is important because without
addressing that a problem exists, it will persist in the relationship. This
step can be constructive because the person you share the conflict
with sees your willingness to collaborate. A hypothetical drawback to
this step is if you dont approach it correctly it can backfire and further
your conflict, confrontational behavior is not appealing to people

Kayly Miranda and Alexi Naf


COMM 2110
Collaborative Assignment
Dr. Clark
willing to communicate collaboratively. All individuals must integrate
respectfully within the group and allow for the environment to be fair
and at ease in an otherwise hostile situation. Establishing rapport
before diving into the problem assists in loosening up the atmosphere
(Beebe 7e, pg. 243).
2. Analyze the problem- This step is important to the whole resolution
of the conflict. Without determining the severity, depth or origin of the
conflict it will be difficult to analyze it successfully. It is also suggested
that recalling the chronological order of events that led up to the
conflict is important for concluding with a solution (Beebe 7e, pg. 249).
Analyzing the problem doesnt always lead to an immediate solution,
you may need to dig deeper, but it is a critical starting point. For
example, you and your friend have spent hours of time that you have
set aside to discuss and resolve a conflict. However, the conversation
does not seem to be going anywhere because neither of you can
pinpoint the details which led up to your current situation. You both
conclude that analyzing accurately is more important than analyzing
quickly.
3. Determine the goals- Determining goals in a conflict is similar to
creating them. Making sure that goals are realistic, measurable, and
pertain to the gravity of the situation is essential for moving forward
and maintaining relevance. For example, Marias goal to get to work on
time conflicted with her brothers goal to pick up his boyfriend. Since
they share a car Maria made a point to notify her brother of the
importance that she has access to the car at a certain time. Since this
conflict stems from two separate goals it is important to acknowledge

Kayly Miranda and Alexi Naf


COMM 2110
Collaborative Assignment
Dr. Clark
what conflicting goals where relevant. Maria argues that the two goals
were her ability to get to work and her brother picking someone up.
But it can also be argued that the two goals consist of Marias access
to the car and her brother having equal access. Determining which
goals are relevant is what this step is all about. Drawbacks to this step
include the reality of ambiguity (Beebe 7e, pg. 108). The fact that the
way an individual sees their goal is diferent to how you see it. This is
where we apply other orientation (Beebe 7e, pg. 251), and broaden
our understanding of peoples opinions and outlooks on the situation.
4. Generate multiple solutions- This is the step to reassure that there
is understanding among you and whoever you shared the conflict with.
To assist in this, an overview of what was discussed before coming to a
final conclusion can be helpful (Beebe 7e, pg. 249). Because this is a
process, the outcome may not always be perfect the first time around.
Additionally, a conclusion is not always a mandatory option, in some
cases you may agree to disagree and go on without ever solving the
problem. For example, Ron and Andy have tried finding a solution to
their conflict with multiple tactics but nothing seems to be working,
even after asking a coworker for her input on the problem nothing
seems to be agreeable. Because this conflict has taken more efort
than it seems to be worth, they drop it and decide to conclude with a
lose-lose situation. However, if the interaction had gone another way,
and they worked out their diferences, they would have to generate
more than one conclusion and decide which one would benefit the both
of them in a satisfying way. The upside to this step of the process is the

Kayly Miranda and Alexi Naf


COMM 2110
Collaborative Assignment
Dr. Clark
opportunity for each person involved to contribute their ideas of what
will assist in solving the problem. An equal chance for the individuals to
reflect on what they believe is right will create a sense of fairness.
5. Develop a solution to help each person save face- Everyone has
a sense of self that they achieve to maintain. The concept of saving
face precisely illustrates the idea of saving ones feeling and how they
feel about themselves after the conclusion to the conflict (Beebe 7e,
pg. 250). The solution that is agreed upon should allow for mutual
understanding and a contented departure. For example, when the
conflict has been resolved, there should be no room from left-over
hostility and each party should be content if not pleased with the
results. In other words, each person should experience closure after all
is said and done. Some strengths to this step in the process are the
fact that using it will likely end successfully and making amends will
relieve much of the stress that is caused.
Background of the conflict:
The particular conflict that we are going to discuss involve Kayly and Alexi
(The authors), and an additional friend to whom we are close with who will go by the
name of Laura. One night, Laura invited us to gather at a local eatery for a friendly
dinner. Kayly and Laura where at the restaurant prior to Alexis arrival, when Alexi
did show up she brought along another friend who is male (This detail will be
important later). Amid the chatting and eating we observed that Laura had
withdrew from the interactions, remained distant and generally unwilling to be
involved with the rest of us. Later on after asking Laura about why she had been
acting this way, it came to our attention that her expectation was to have a girls

Kayly Miranda and Alexi Naf


COMM 2110
Collaborative Assignment
Dr. Clark
night. This was a good explanation for Lauras behavior, but Kayly and Alexi found
it unfair that something they werent even aware of had put tension between them
and their friend. On the other hand, Laura thought it was unfair that her ideas were
not put into consideration.
The following dialogue does not utilize the five steps of the problem
solving process.
Dialogue 1- (Taking place after discussing our misunderstanding of Lauras
expectations versus the authors)
A: I thought we were all friends, what is the problem?
L: Well, I was hoping it was going to be a girls night.
K: How can you expect us to know that? We are not mind readers.
A: You cant be so upset considering we had no clue.
L: I told you I wanted to talk to you, you guys should understand.
K: If you want something you have to say it.
Dialogue 2: Using the five steps of the problem solving process.
K: Laura, please explain why you were upset about the fact that Alexis
boyfriend tagged along tonight. (Define the problem)
L: Well, I was hoping it was going to be a girls night. (Define the problem)
This step can be successful because it addresses the problem firmly but
takes her feelings into account. She should understand that we are considering her
feelings while also integrating steps for a solution.

Kayly Miranda and Alexi Naf


COMM 2110
Collaborative Assignment
Dr. Clark
A: I am sorry that we didnt realize. Was this important to you? (Analyzing
the problem)
L: I just assumed that you guys would understand my intentions when I said
I wanted to talk with you.
This will help us pinpoint the source of the conflict which will ultimately lead
to generating solutions that apply to that specific problem.

K: We were under the impression that we were just out for a good time, not
for a purpose. Its clear that you had other goals in mind. (Determine the goals)
L: Thats true; I didnt realize that my intentions were unclear. How can we
avoid this in the future?
Here, we can figure out which goal is mutual among the group. This is where
the potential of misunderstand can be incorporated because everybody has a
different idea of what the goal is or isnt and whether or not its an important one.
A: I would suggest planning something that is important to you sooner than
it was planned tonight. That way I can plan for only that! (Develop multiple
solutions)
K: Well, most of all it would be helpful to communicate your expectations
outright. We dont want to disappoint you, so if we know exactly what you expect of
us we can succeed! (Develop multiple solutions)

Kayly Miranda and Alexi Naf


COMM 2110
Collaborative Assignment
Dr. Clark
Input from each member of the group will help create more than one solution
to consider. In our situation we have 3 people to collaborate among, so our potential
of brainstorming valuable solutions has an advantage.

L: I will keep that in mind.


K: Which solution is one that we can collectively agree upon? (Develop a
situation to help each person save face)
A: I agree with Kaylys suggestion about clarifying your goals so that we are
all on the same page. It sound the most fair because we will have expectations to
live up to and you can trust in us to uphold those expectations. (Develop a
situation to help each person save face)
L: I can work on that. (Develop a situation to help each person save face)
A: We can work on it too.
Although a solution might not come as easily as this, incorporating each
member as part of the solution will help the other member feel at ease too.
Concluding with the final solution mutually helps imply a sense of agreement.

Analysis:
Outcomes for dialogue one: the outcomes for dialogue one concluded with
the three of us feeling upset about the situation because nothing was resolved. We
had ended the conversation by pointing fingers at each other rather than
attempting to apologize for the misunderstanding. We turned a simple conflict that

Kayly Miranda and Alexi Naf


COMM 2110
Collaborative Assignment
Dr. Clark
started with miscommunication and turned it into an ego conflict that resulted in
trying to blame one another (Beebe e7 Pg. 228).
Outcomes for dialogue two: all three members agreed on a solution and
grasped an understanding of each other's viewpoint of the situation. This outcome
was much more satisfying than the first one because we were able to fully define
what the problem was (the fact that Laura thought it would be just girls), we were
able to pinpoint a specific goal that did not put blame on anyone and that everyone
was collectively content with. Because nobody was forced to take blame, each
person was able to save face and their perception of themselves.
The outcomes where diferent because this time everyone was pleased with
the solution to the problem and everyone shared responsibility. In addition to the
skills used to solve the conflict, the style in which it was solved changed greatly
between the two dialogues. As mentioned earlier, the conflict was originally a
simple one that consists of diferent goals among us: Laura wanted to use the time
to discuss serious events, while we planned on a less serious, more relaxing dinner.
However when the three of us started to put blame on one another it became a
personal attack on our self-esteem and turned it into an ego conflict. When we each
tried to take control by blaming each other, we were using competition to manage
the conflict. Our goal developed into establishing who was right and who was
wrong; who was the winner and who was the loser. In the second dialog we were
using both compromising and collaboration to manage the conflict. By working
together we came up with a solution to prevent the same thing from happening
again in the future. Although it did not necessarily solve the current situation, we

Kayly Miranda and Alexi Naf


COMM 2110
Collaborative Assignment
Dr. Clark
were able to agree to do our part and consider each-others thoughts and feelings
next time there was a misunderstanding.
Challenges:
When working through the conflict the main challenge we encountered was
separating our emotions from what the real conflict was. Instead of trying to
pinpoint where the misunderstanding took place, we became defensive and started
being confrontational about the unclear goals. We resorted to evaluative
communication when Kayly said "you can expect us to read your mind" and "you
can't be upset" (Beebe 7e Pg. 178). When applying the five step process it was
difficult for us to put our emotions aside and collaborate to define what we wanted
the final goal to be.
The hardest part of applying the five step process was realizing that the
problem at hand was simply a miscommunication in goals and not a personal attack
on one another. We needed to separate our emotions, avoid defensiveness, and
allow Laura to express her feelings. We had to be more empathetic towards Laura
and listen and imagine how we would feel if we were addressed the way she was.
We also should not have resorted to gunny-sacking (Beebe 7e Pg. 243) and
allness (Beebe 7e Pg. 167). statements; though we do feel that Laura reacts in the
way that she did often, she does not really act this way every single time we are
together. It also wasn't appropriate for us to bring up a past situation that didn't
pertain to the current one. In the second dialog we avoided using these attacks,
which helped us all feel more comfortable to express ourselves and free to speak
our minds.

Kayly Miranda and Alexi Naf


COMM 2110
Collaborative Assignment
Dr. Clark
Application and Conclusion:
Now that the three of us are familiar with the problem solving process, we
can more easily apply it to our own lives. The next time that we agree to get
together, we know to ask beforehand if we can bring additional friends and to clarify
the goal of the gathering. In addition, Laura can feel comfortable making her needs
know without the fear of being judged. Our reflection of terms and tactics that we
have learned in class was helpful in evaluating our situation and furthered our
knowledge of communication.
Works Cited
Beebe, S., Beebe S., & Redmond, M. (2014). Interpersonal Communication: Relating to Others
(7th ed.). Boston: Pearson Publishers.