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PSPGEN021 Contribute to conflict management

Task 1 Conflict resolution written questions


Read the following case study and answer the following questions.


Sarah and Michelle work at Piccadilly Primary School. They are both in administration and work in the front office. Sarah has been working for the school for four years and Michelle has only worked there for the last four months. 


Up until now, Michelle has been given less work and responsibilities and Sarah has had to do a lot more to ensure everything gets done. Sarah is becoming more and more frustrated and is now feeling overwhelmed. She believes that Michelle has been there long enough to take on more responsibilities. Michelle never uses one of the software programs available and always gets Sarah to complete the work that requires the use of the software and often avoids talking to customers with limited English skills.


Sarah is beginning to take her frustrations out on Michelle and begins to use sarcasm when she communicates with her and keeps rolling her eyes at Michelle whenever Michelle refuses to do something. Michelle is responding back by giving Sarah the ‘silent treatment’ and ignoring her. 


Sarah would like to become Office Manager one day and decides this conflict needs to be resolved before it escalates to the next level. She is coming home stressed and is beginning to get anxious going to work. 


She decides to approach Michelle and aims for a win-win resolution to this conflict.


1)     List three (3) things that may indicate there is potential for conflict. 

2)     Analyse the ‘stage’ that the conflict is in. What is the name of this ‘stage’? This answer requires at least 100 -200 words. (Refer to resource ‘Stages of Conflict’)

3)     Imagine that you are Sarah and that you do not want this conflict to escalate. List and describe two techniques you could use to ‘diffuse’ the situation. Refer to resource (‘Conflict and what to do with it’)

4)     If you were Sarah, and in this situation, how would you feel? What would you do?



5)     After listening to Michelle’s point of view, Sarah discovers that Michelle is quite insecure about her job and feels she has not been trained properly, especially in regards to the Software program. She is also uncomfortable speaking to parents with limited English skills because she feels embarrassed that she has to ask them to repeat what they are saying all the time.


List two (2) specific non-verbal communication techniques that Sarah can use to show Michelle that she is actively listening to her point of view.

List two things Sarah could say to Michelle to describe how she feels about the situation? Use the assertive techniques found in the Education Specialist student resource page 83)

  1. Eg. Make eye contact to show I’m listening
  1. Eg. When you do not serve customers that have limited English skills, I feel stressed as I have to serve them all. I would appreciate it if you could help out and serve all customers that need assistance.








6)     List and describe one communication barrier that may have allowed this situation to arise.

7)     List and describe one appropriate communication technique Sarah and Michelle could use to aim for a ‘win-win’ resolution. Refer to resource (‘Conflict and what to do with it’)

8)     Describe why we should consider social and cultural differences when communicating with others. Refer to resource (‘Communication across cultures’)









Sarah and Michelle have agreed to compromise and have decided that Michelle will require further training. Sarah has decided to ask for extra time to help Michelle learn the software program but she will need to be paid more or given time off in lieu.

9)     Who would they need to speak to in order to proceed with the agreed strategy/solution?

10)  Describe what the office manager could do to monitor (check) the progress of the agreed strategies/solution and check if the employees are managing the conflict?

Sarah and Michelle feel a lot better about the situation however, there are still a couple of things they cannot agree to. 

11)  If Sarah and Michelle cannot reach an agreement on the above matter, list and describe a further strategy they could use in order to have this conflict resolved?


12)  This situation is a typical ‘trigger’ for conflict in the workplace. List two other triggers that may cause workplace conflict.

Eg. Unfair workload


13)  Outline a ‘typical’ process that schools could follow when dealing with conflict at work.



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