Jan & Ken: Managing Conflict in Relationships

Topics: Nonverbal communication, Emotion, Communication Pages: 8 (1687 words) Published: October 14, 2014


Jan & Ken: Managing Conflict in Relationships
Unit 9 Assignment
Marie Holloway
Kaplan University

Author Note:
This research is being submitted on March 11, 2014 for Mark Lambertson’s CM206 Interpersonal Communications course.

Q #1: Using the chapters on language and emotions to help frame your answer, suggest two ways that Ken could open this conversation more productively, beyond clearly expressing his emotions and using “I” language.

Ken could have used language that promotes cooperation and mutual respect. ”Jan, we’ve been friends for a long time and I’d like to discuss a situation before it interferes with our relationship.” or “ Jan, there’s a problem in our friendship that we need to address.” By aiming for the win-win approach he can begin the conversation in a better frame of mind (Wood, 2013, P242). Also, by striving to take each person into consideration, Jan would have seen both parties equally and not felt she had to defend herself so abruptly. Therefore, honoring both partners and the relationship would have benefitted the opening statement (Wood, 2013, P.242).

Q #2: How do you perceive Jan’s effort to convince Ken to forgive her? Based on what you have learned in this chapter, suggest two ways she might more effectively seek Ken’s forgiveness.
I see Jan being able to convince Ken that her intentions are sincere by first being committed to everyone’s satisfaction and applying the win-win approach (Wood, 2013, P. 230). “ I’m sorry Ken, what can I do to fix this?” Secondly, by using a softer tone and better voice response (Wood, 2013, P.232). Had she combined the two at the time she replied to Ken, she would have been more effective. “ Oh Ken, I did not realize what I was doing would end up hurting you, I never meant to hurt you! Can you ever forgive me?”

Q #3: What are two nonverbal cues used by Jan. What are two nonverbal cues used by Ken? In what ways did the nonverbal cues used by both Ken and Jan impact the message? What are the verbal messages used by each? What, contradictions occurred between the nonverbal cues and the verbal message and how did the contradictions impact the interaction?

Both Ken and Jan used body language and increase/decrease of volume as nonverbal cues (Wood, 2013, P. 121). Jan bobbed her head, pointed her fingers toward him and when she was frustrated and defensive she raised her voice. Ken emphasized each point by the sudden stop of hand gestures and in at least two separate instances, lowered his voice with frustration. These gestures are considered Kinesics (Wood, 2013, P. 126). By using these specific cues both Ken and Jan were setting the tone of the conflict and causing it to reflect badly (Wood, 2013, P. 232). Ken used a psychological exit response (Wood, 2013, P. 231) as a verbal message when he stated, “ Maybe neither one of us can trust the other, maybe we shouldn’t tell each other anything…” And he implied she couldn’t be trusted further. Jan’s most obvious verbal message implied her friendship with Shannon was as important as her relationship with Ken by giving a passive, loyalty response that involved both friends (Woods, 2013, P. 232). These verbal messages Ken and Jan used contradicted the original intention, which was how they both cared about the other within the relationship. It caused both of them to pull away from each other in a defensive frame of mind that not only defeated the purpose but also had a devastating effect on the relationship.

Q #4: Reviewing the nonverbal and verbal cues identified in the last question, what are the roles that these play in the conflict? Do these cues lead to a more positive outcome or negative? How can nonverbal and verbal cues be used to lead to a more productive conflict resolution?

Perception and interpretation (Wood, 2013, P. 76) played the most important role during this conflict because it engaged both parties to successfully use non-effective communication. The...


References: Cengage Learning. (Producer). (2011). Jan and Ken [Web Video]. Retrieved from http://alturl.com/522qq
Wood, J
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