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Teserovitch 1

Keira Teserovitch

Professor Mia Hubbard

COM 2206 - 118

1 May 2019

Writing Assignment #3

Adler describes conflict as “an expressed struggle between at least two

interdependent parties who perceive incompatible goals, scarce resources, and

interference from the other party in achieving their goals”(Adler, et al. 369). Many

people experience conflict every day, but do not know how to properly deal with it. The

are five different ways to deal with conflict: avoidance, accomodation, competition,

compromise, and collaboration. In each situation, there is a conflict management

strategy that will be the most beneficial in that relationship.

In the provided interaction, the receptionist was using the competition conflict

management strategy. The competition conflict management strategy is “a win-lose

approach to conflict that involves high concern for self and low concern for others”(Adler

et al. 374). The receptionist did not show any concern for the customer, all she revealed

to the customer was that they were very busy and the prescription would be done when

it is done. The receptionist also started to get defensive and began to blame the

customer for the day and time at which she filled the prescription.

The defensive climate behavior that the receptionist used in this interaction was

evaluation. According to Adler, “an evaluative message judges the other person, usually

in a negative way”(Adler et al. 350). The receptionist used evaluation when she stated

that there was no way she could give the customer a time estimate and that she
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shouldn’t have tried to fill a prescription during their busiest time of day. The receptionist

was very defensive in this interaction. All of her responses to the customer were very

blunt and not empathetic. She put the needs of herself before the needs of her


The supportive behavior that would be best employed in this situation would be

problem orientation. When using problem orientation, “communicators focus on finding

a solution that satisfies both their own needs and those of the others involved”(Adler et

al. 351). If the receptionist used problem orientation, the customer would likely feel less

threatened and would be more at ease in this interaction. Some ways that the

receptionist could do this would be to ask one of the pharmacists how long the

customer’s prescription is going to take. The customer’s question would be answered

and no one would become defensive.

A better way that the receptionist could have gone about this interaction is as


Me: “Hello. I have been waiting to pick up my prescription for over an hour. I was told

my prescription would be filled in less than 20 minutes. Can you please let me know

when my prescription will be ready?”

Front Desk Receptionist: “As you can see, we are very busy and there are a lot of

prescriptions that need to be filled. However, once a pharmacist frees up I can ask how

long your prescription may take.”

Me: “Thank you. That would be very helpful because I need to let my work know when I

will be returning.”
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Front Desk Receptionist: “We completely understand and I will try to find out as soon

as possible for you.”

Some language choices that the receptionist could have used would be “I” and “We”

language. “I” language is less defensive than blaming the customer would be. Also,

“We” language “signals inclusion, immediacy, cohesiveness, and commitment”(Adler et

al. 161), which would help the customer feel heard. Some nonverbal channels that the

receptionist could have used to create a more supportive climate would be to smile and

have good eye contact with the customer. This shows the customer that the receptionist

is happy to help her and that she cares about her needs.

The receptionist’s position in this matter would be difficult. The receptionist is

obviously stressed because they are behind in filling prescriptions at the moment. When

someone is stressed it is very easy to get mad or frustrated with others even when you

don’t have a very good reason to be. It would be very important for the receptionist to

remain calm and try to help everyone the best that she can. Just keeping smile on her

face and following through with what she says she will do for the customers will help

everyone’s stress. The difference from the receptionist in the example being defensive

to the rewritten interaction where she is open and willing to help changes the entire

mood of both the customer and the receptionist. If the customer is happy, the

receptionist is more likely to be happy.

Just by doing these little things in a conversation, the result of the interaction will

be drastically different. Showing a little compassion and understanding for others

instead of getting defensive changes the mood of the entire interaction. Conflict is an
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inevitability of life. But, if it is handled correctly and the problem gets diminished,

everyone will end up happy.

Works Cited

Adler, Ronald B., et al. Interplay: The Process of Interpersonal Communication. Oxford

University Press, 2018.