Monday, January 7, 2013


Persuasion, Manipulation and Seduction
Mike Cohen
Persuasion & Argumentation
Michael Cooper
November 27, 2011

    Human communication according to Codoban, “means influencing other minds through language”. We are directly and indirectly influenced by communication from day to day in each of our lives. Every single influence at some point dictates our persona, attitude, personal preferences, even some decisions. Especially in this current society, there are many various vehicles of which use various methods of persuasion, manipulation and seduction, to get their point across and become very affluent in our lives. For this paper we will discover examples of (persuasion, manipulation and seduction) from each of our every day lives. We then will discuss how they relate to human communication, using modern day examples and show how their influences actually affect people.
    In the Merriam Webster Dictionary, there are three definitions of Persuasion; 1. the act or process or an instance of, 2. the condition of being persuaded, 3. an opinion held with complete assurance. In this paper the definition which fits the best with would be the third option. The second we turn on the TV, open a newspaper, check our email, there are people trying to get our attention in every way they can. Once they have our attention, they’ve succeeded. According to Aurel Codoban, Persuasion can be defined as “the process by which a person’s attitudes or behaviors are, without duress, influenced by other people through communication” (Codoban, 2006, p. 151) This quote is a perfect way to see how even five years ago how communication has gradually progressed. Persuasion is more of an attempt at influence with choices, it varies depending upon how it’s used and applied. It’s likely to continue to progress as we all grow older and older technology becomes obsolete and newer technology is created.
    “The postmodern seduction is a phenomena focused on masses, because it is interested
in quantity, just like manipulation, and in its difference from persuasion which is
individualized. In the context of the rise of the masses as a historical subject, conscience,
and thus persuasion, becomes obsolete.”(Codoban, 2006, p. 155) This is a telling sign of the progress or lack of progression of the use of thought in today’s society. In an indirect way in our current day and age, the need of knowing information is slowly being taken away from us. The internet and instant access to any information of any sort makes society lazy. This is a method of manipulation in the means of placing information to be easily accessible for anyone to use. The more thinking and learning society does, the less use and necessity to access websites and search engines. An example of manipulation in modern society is, focusing on a particular topic that is of popular culture or subject such as the Twilight series. This series was based on a book written with the emphasis on young love and fascination with vampires. Various TV shows and movies were as result of trying to catch on to the phenomenon. They manipulated their audience by realizing the books were best selling books and “took that lightning” and wrote it into a film.     
    “Seduction is based on the promise of happiness or pleasure that results from the
naturalization of the sign, from the inversion of the semiotic genesis, which went in the
first movement from nature to culture.” (Codoban, 2006, p.155) Seduction is an act or an attempt to catch and reach their audiences’ attention by conforming to their personal beliefs and preferences. There is no intent of pushing or pulling you one way or the other but to simply attract you based upon your current position or feelings towards a particular product or service. Many times it uses sex appeal, religion, political preference, gender and racial appeal, pretty much anything of which some person has a soft spot or an understanding for that topic. “ However, manipulation is different from persuasion in that it is a technique fueled by methods that would seek to not only influence, but to deceive.  Manipulation, unlike persuasion, conceals its intentions.” (Codoban, 2006, p.155)
    As you can see there are various means of persuasion used by many media outlets and companies looking to get their word and product out to the public. It’s crucial for these companies to aim to reach their demographic, increase and expand into others. For us as the target audience, we must establish our own values and morals so we can decipher what is persuasion, what is manipulation or what is seduction. Sometimes depending upon the situation, we may want to be persuaded, for the current means or point of view on a subject may be a certain direction. Having being a victim or subject of manipulation it places you into a vulnerable position and creates a reason to second guess your views. Lastly being seduced. Everyone at sometime wants to have their imagination run rampant and have what they already support and enjoy be reinforced. As technology and people change, the most common and consistent part of society we will forever see will be the attempt and the art of manipulation, persuasion and seduction.

Codoban, A. (2006). From Persuasion to manipulation and seduction. (a very short
            history of global communication). JSRI, 14, 151-158.
Seiter, J. S., & Gass, R. H. (2004). Perspectives on persuasion, social influence, and
            compliance gaining. Boston: Pearson Custom Publishing.

Cruelty To Animals

Cruelty To Animals     
 Mike Cohen
COM 323 Persuasion and Argumentation
Michael Cooper
December 15, 2012

    “The judge summarily dismissed the egregious case of animal cruelty against Willa, despite strong evidence that the dog was hideously beaten with baseball bats. People standing near the bench heard the judge glibly mumbling, “It’s just a dog . . .” as he moved on to a “more important case,” a liquor store “B & E.” The humane law enforcement agents who prosecuted Willa’s case felt a surge of anger and frustration, seeing their effort go nowhere. The abusers disappeared quickly from the courtroom, still puzzled about why such a “big stink” was made over a dog. At the local humane society, the staff soon got the disappointing news that Willa’s abusers walked away scot-free but found much to celebrate that made them feel good about their work— the dog’s abusers at least had their day in court, a dedicated and highly skilled veterinary staff saved Willa from death, and an employee adopted her. (Arluke 2006, p.1)”

     Cruelty to animals in our society unfortunately is a topic that is discussed way too often. When you hear the phrase, “ Cruelty to animals” what comes to mind? Do you think of dog abuse poster child, Michael Vick and his dog fighting case? How about the consistent bad mouthing of pit-bulls. How about when you walk in your local mall and you see cute puppies that are stuck in a cage that is barely double the size of them? Each person who has a little bit of connection to animals in someway, should be aware of the various acts of cruelty that animals are victim to. Have you ever visited your local animal rescue, local zoo or aquarium? Is there a certain level of cruelty to animals that is considered acceptable? There are various aspects of the topic of cruelty to animals that is acceptable and unacceptable. These aspects need to be understood, not for the interest or nutrition preferences of another celebrity or athlete going vegetarian or vegan. Especially not to appease the media.  The issue is cruelty to animals and animal welfare and the people who own, train, domesticate, inspire the behavior these animals exhibit. It is how our perspectives on animals that allows for cruelty to happen, and it is our lack of respect interest or care in the topic that allow it to continue every day.  With correct and moral way of thinking, we can not only make choices that will mandate change and that those changes will not only benefit animals, but it will benefit anyone who has any relating part of the welfare of animals.
            Cruelty to animals happens more often than most would actually realize.  It’s not just in the United States, that is a huge problem. Cruelty to animals spans all over the entire world. The magnitude of this problem reaches from each corner of the globe in the communities human kind has developed. Labels, brands and products we blindly know and trust. At the end of every single film that is in our local movie theater, towards the end of the credits will read, “No animals were hurt or abused in the filming of this movie”.  There are certain levels of animal cruelty that must be improved. Humans’ quality of life is definitely at a good level, our pets, the exhibits at zoos’ and aquariums, there must be a way of improving the conditions and decreasing the negative, unnecessary actions to these animals. These injustices can be seen in local pet shops, in local grocery stores, in our medicine cabinets, on the cover of our magazines, on the coat or handbag of a passer-by, from our oceans to the forests, and even in our neighbors home.  What would you do if these animals were able to communicate to you? Or are they already trying to communicate but are we just not paying enough attention to listen? ”I am the voice of the voiceless; Through me the dumb shall speak, Till the deaf world’s ear be made to hear The wrongs of the wordless weak. From street, from cage, and from kennel, From stable and zoo, the wail Of my tortured kin proclaims the sin Of the mighty against the frail. And I am my brother’s keeper, And I will fight his fight, And speak the word for beast and bird, Till the world shall set things right. —Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850– 1919) (Beers 2006, p.59)”

            The problem is created by lack of respect for these animals. Some people see them as servants and as weaker or less than equal because of their size and lack of communication. For whatever reason some people get a kick out of hurting or injuring pets. Some other people view their pets and animals in general, as being on the same page as humans. To treat them how you expect to be treated. The idea that they have a heart, many people believe they need to be experiencing the life and benefits of which their owners do.  The problem I will discuss is the unnecessary suffering of animals, what we have done to police the issue, where we see animal cruelty happening, and what it means to society to allow it to continue. Some of these issues seem so out of reach but in reality they are closer and more obtainable than we realize.  By focusing on our actions or our lack of actions about the welfare of these animals, we could ultimately improve the quality of the lives of the animals that are in our community and in our homes.
            The Animal Welfare Act came into existence on August 24th, of 1966.  What it does, is “it authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to regulate transport, sale, and handling of dogs, cats, nonhuman primates, guinea pigs, hamsters, and rabbits intended to be used in research or ’for other purposes.’  It requires licensing and inspection of dog and cat dealers and humane handling at auction sales” (AWIC, 2009).   This law set a standard for animal treatment, unfortunately, the scope of this law provides little protection for a great number of animals who are victims.  In this day and age, to be able to access information regarding any type of breed of dog or cat is available immediately. The internet has created a possible threat to domestic pets. Having the access to be able to purchase a puppy or kitten online through a puppy mill, this takes away the love and affection that the process of picking up a pet creates. This makes it a business and for many business owners to breed and sell as many pets as they could to make profit. The quality of life these puppy mills provide to their pets is completely unacceptable. Most of the animals in these mills, are inbred, they carry falsified documents, do not meet the breed standard, carry preventable genetic defects. This is where most commercial pet shops and websites receive their litters from, and look to sell these pets at a certain price and standard of which they are not. “Under the AWA… Inspection records obtained by the HSUS show that many USDA-licensed breeders get away with repeated violations of the Animal Welfare Act.  These violators are rarely fined and their licenses are rarely suspended. Facilities with long histories of repeated violations for basic care conditions are often allowed to renew their license again and again.” (“American Humane Association,” 2010).
    There are very few states that even care to regulate breeders at a state level, licenses are not required in all states, licenses are cheap for anyone to buy compared to the profit being made, and are those licensed are tracked and controlled very poorly.
            Puppy mills seem to be a debatable conversation brought up quite often in regard to animal welfare. What other questions can we ask ourselves as people, having the responsibility to seek out, of what more can we do/or what actions can we take to protect animals?  A start to how we could prevent from purchasing our future pets at particular stores who receive their animals from puppy mills. A simple search over the internet could save the lives of hundreds of unhealthy puppies. Do research of a reputable breeder and be diligent.
    Sport hunting is another topic that comes up quite often in the conversation of cruelty to animals. When a hunter shoots an animal in an area that is considered protected or preserved, it is not a sport.  There is absolutely no reason an animal should be trapped, caught or shot for reasons other than food consumption.  This sport is unacceptable and should be shut down. 
    “The Animal Crush Prohibition Act of 2010 is a significant piece of legislature that, for only the second time in history(the first being when child pornography was banned in the early 1980′s), a form of “speech” was classified as a prurient obscenity on a federal level in the United States. Some overlook this fact and what it means to animals, moving forward. To us, it is a step in a proper direction toward what truly equates to animals having rights. This was the reason why we fought so hard to pressure lawmakers into placing animal crush video into the same category as child pornography.”(, 2010) Crush videos are perverted, sexual videos where women stomp on small animals for the purpose of arousing certain sick individuals, they should be subject to animal cruelty laws.  Unfortunately, when tried in court, crush videos were deemed legal because they would violate Free Speech laws.  The court reasoned that if crush videos were outlawed, then hunting films would be outlawed as well. 
            In society today, with more new diseases and diagnosis’, more medicine and drugs are being produced. Rather than testing these new medications on humans before making the drug available to the public, most of these companies test them out on animals. Just because these medications and drugs may benefit human beings and possibly save the lives of hundreds and maybe thousands, does not make all testing humane, necessary or justifiable.  It is easy to say, “it’s only a mouse, or it’s only a monkey” that it justifies that testing these innocent animals for the benefit of human beings suffering or dying from disease that it’s acceptable.  If we could present this differently for example, for every animal we use for testing, we breed two more to replace the one we lose for the sake of the human benefit. Especially with the daily breakthroughs and discoveries in medicine and the research field of medicine, the hope is by saving or protecting these animals that we are able to use our discoveries based solely upon research.
    An animal gives us the ability to improve life expectancy and live healthier lives, but it still comes down to the fact that, it is still a life.  This is a topic that puts human beings in a odd situation.  If you ask most people to watch a loved one or relative suffer and possibly lose a battle to a disease, for the sake of saving a mouse or a monkey. We need to ask a question that is pointing in a direction such as, “ is there anyway we could avoid sacrificing these innocent animals for the sake of saving humans from any disease or side effects due to the medication. “ Not all types of animals are qualifiable  subjects for testing simply because they are not biologically comparable to the human body’s chemistry.   It falls into our hands for taking responsibility to test animals on a limited basis. To consider the pro’s and con’s of testing animals and to also consider if what we’re doing is justifiable and if we are treating these innocent animals humanely.
             It is our obligation to the society we live in to change and improve the way we view animals and focus on ways that we can humanely regulate what we have them experience. We spend hundreds of millions of dollars to protect parks and endangered species. If we don’t respect every portion of nature, why should we try so hard to protect it? We can’t have it both ways.  We need to accept more responsibility and make it a credible effort to change our practices and improve our rationalization on the cruelty of animals.
            “Animals cannot campaign for their own liberation, and it requires an unprecedented level of altruism from members of a species who stand to lose from the protection of animals, to fulfill this objective on behalf of them” (Garner 2005, p. 42). The purpose of supporting such a topic is the importance of this concept that affects the public. By us making the efforts to change and to focus on our actions and take responsibility to change some of those actions is key. We are responsible for every action, positive or negative that we exhibit. These various degrees of cruelty towards animals is unacceptable. To be able to be an owner of a pet of which they are not raised properly or healthy, to go fishing or hunting just for sport and to be able to hang a trophy from a mantle, to use animals as subjects for the benefit of knowledge of side effects due to diseases and various medications is completely unacceptable. By realizing these acts, it takes very little effort to decide upon ways that could possibly protect animals from these actions. This indirectly is actually protecting and valuing human life as a result of paying attention to our furry friends. By these animals living with no interference and abuse by us, this is making us better people. To have a heart to adopt animals from an animal shelter, to support campaigns against puppy and kitten mills, to treat these animals as you as humans would like to be treated are very small steps towards supporting the fight against the cruelty to animals.  What this shows us is that all it takes is to be educated and to do your research. Ask yourself some questions. If you don’t have the answers, research them. Animals may not be able to speak the language you speak, but it’s time you start paying attention to the actions you are doing in regards to these living things. They have a heart beat, and have feelings and emotions just as humans do.

Reference Page

American humane association. (2010). Retrieved from

American Humane Association; American Humane Association: Cruelty to Animals Is NOT Free Speech or Entertainment. (2010, May). Pediatrics Week, 198.   Retrieved April 30, 2010, from ProQuest Health and Medical Complete. (Document ID: 2021237421).

Arluke, Arnold. Just a Dog : Understanding Animal Cruelty and Ourselves.
Philadelphia, PA, USA: Temple University Press, 2006. p 1.
Copyright © 2006. Temple University Press. All rights reserved.

Beers, Diane L.. For the Prevention of Cruelty : The History and Legacy of Animal Rights Activism in the United States.
Athens, OH, USA: Ohio University Press, 2006. p 59.
Copyright © 2006. Ohio University Press. All rights reserved.

Garner, R. (2005). The Political theory of animal rights. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press.
What does the animal crush prohibition act mean to animals?. (2011, May 25). Retrieved from

The Law of the Land

The Law of the Land
Mike Cohen
COM325: Communication & Conflict
Angela Winfrey
January 17, 2012

    The Law of the land is term used in many different parts of life. Some would use it figuratively in regards to the physical land around us. When used by someone regarding the United States or any other country, it constitutes as all of the laws that are enforced within that particular region or country. In this case, The Law of the land is regarding ethics and administrative professional. The Law of the land is defined as: “If it’s not legal, it’s probably not ethical either.” To analyze this quote, it’s simply stating if you’re doing something that seems to be wrong morally or ethically, it’s probably wrong illegally as well.  Same goes for the latter, if you’re doing something illegally it probably doesn’t constitute as being moral or ethical either.  Many different situations come up while at the workplace, especially when paired up with your boss. Some may be normal and routine, others may seem difficult. In the following passages, we will explore a few different scenarios and go about it in the best of our abilities.
    Case 1: The Boss’ Expense Report. Your boss conveniently loses his expense report for his last trip. On his way into a meeting, he drops a blank report on your desk and asks you to fill in the blanks, saying, “Make it add up to $300 or so.” What will you do? In a situation like this which is could be a career ending situation, I’d search in my previous files to see if we have any expense report similar to one of the same amount of money. I would try to make it as realistic and accurate as possible. For the reasons of looking good in the eyes of my boss, looking good in the eyes of his boss and saving my job and definitely my reputation.
Case #2—Lunch Reservations.  Ever since you took the job last year, your boss has asked you to schedule a weekly lunch date with his mistress. You don’t like doing it, but you’ve made the reservations anyway. Last month you met his wife at a business luncheon. Now that she has met you, whenever she calls and he is out, she asks, “Can you tell me where he is?” You can’t stand being an accomplice. What will you do? This situation is easier than most may think. No matter what this is none of your business. Sure it’s unethical but it’s a personal matter that has nothing to do with your job description. I promise if you reread your employee handbook it says nothing about saving a boss’ marriage or being a family mediator.
    Case #3—Dinner a la Corporate Card. A very attractive manager from another department asks you out to dinner. You are surprised when you arrive at a restaurant with average prices of $50 a plate. But you enjoy the meal and the conversation—especially since work doesn’t even come up. Dessert and after-dinner coffee are added to the bill. The big surprise comes when your date pays for everything with the company’s credit card. What will you do? See if they’d pay for valet parking as well? This is a situation of which it’s a personal moral situation. It should weigh more on her conscious to see what she/he did with the use of the company credit card. Working in the restaurant industry, I’ve seen numerous times of which a customer would use a company card while dining with his family.
Case #4—The Confidential Report. It is afternoon and you have just received a very bulky interoffice mail package. As you begin sorting the contents, you discover a cover letter addressed to someone else and a folder stamped “Confidential” in big, red letters. As you begin to put it back in the mail bag, half the contents of the folder slip out and fall all over your desk. Since it is “Confidential,” you try not to look, but you can’t help yourself. You discover your company is involved in the scandal of the century. What will you do? This is a situation that I wouldn’t wish on the worst of my enemies. Sure I am an employee of this company and there may be some situations of which I could be implicated but in this situation I would directly bring it to the attention of a high position employee. I do not want to get involved with any legal side of this. I don’t get paid enough and don’t have a law degree to begin to understand.
Case #5—Party Marty. Marty is another administrative assistant who works in your office. Over the last two years the two of you have become great friends. The only thing you don’t like about Marty is her cavalier attitude toward “sampling” company property, like packages of ballpoint pens and reams of paper for her home computer. You have never said anything before, but now she has gone too far. Yesterday she announced that she had “borrowed” the keys to a condo at the corporate retreat. “No one will be there this weekend,” she says, “so I’m throwing a party! Wanna come?” You know Marty’s boss has no idea his keys are missing and you’re uncomfortable participating in such an incriminating activity. What will you do? I would politely not accept the invitation. Personally I’ve always taken a policy of not mixing business with pleasure. I respect my co-workers but would rather keep the two separated.
    Situations such as the previous come up more often than most would realize. Sure these situations were presented to us for us to analyze, but the actual situation of being involved in an uncomfortable situation is one most can never prepare for. If you have good morals and go by the ethics you’ve built and developed over the years of being in the workplace, you’re ahead of most of the pack. It’s never a good idea to be involved with sketchy situations, but you must act professionally and in the best interest of your own personal standards.

Reference Page

Cahn, D.D., & Abigail, R.A. (2007). Managing conflict through communication (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Resolving Conflicts

Resolving Conflicts
Michael Cohen
COM325 - Communication & Conflict
Angela Winfrey
February 4, 2012

    Resolving conflicts could possibly be the most important tool any individual could every acquire during their lifetime. With the fact of there being millions of people in this world, the likelihood for each and everyone of those people agreeing on any topic of conversation or project, is pretty much impossible. Each and every person in this world is different in so many ways. Their morals, values, personalities, traditions, culture all play a very intricate part of their point of views as well as their opinions in any situation. One of the most essential concepts to learn, is the idea that conflict is a way of life. There are many conflicts that arise in everyday life, they each fall into certain categories and topics. In the following passage we will explore each of these conflicts and follow the practices of what to do in each of those situations.
    The first topic we will explore is: Why does conflict occur? “ It occurs because there are deep divisions in our society that carry over into our interpersonal relationships. There are cultural divides between ethnic, racial and religious groups (Cahn, pg 2).” Those are just naming a few divides in our culture that create differing opinions on various topics. Having these divides, you must create a way to unite. The most common way of uniting people regardless of their background is communication. Some people involved in conflicts would rather use the practice of ignoring the person or the situation. This is how conflicts escalate. This is not the solution to resolving conflict. Ignoring your personal reservations, focusing on topics that may not interest you, putting aside your schedule - are ways of using communication to resolving conflict. Focusing on why conflict occurs and applying it to everyday life or varying circumstances, is a great way to understand where other people and point of views originate from.
    For instance in a professional setting such as my current position at a local restaurant, there are two levels of employees that have differing views on particular situations that occur. There are managers and chefs whom are salary based employees, as well as servers and bussers that are hourly based employees. This causes conflict in the basic way that the restaurant is run. There are policies and rules that the managers want us to go by, in terms of having a certain amount of staff to take care of our guests and providing a certain quality of service. The managers and chefs earn a salary no matter how busy or how slow the restaurant is, it’s way easier for them to follow those policies and rules. Being an employee where the majority of my income comes from the quality of service and the amount of tips that I earn, I personally would like to have as many tables as I possibly can, which may go against those policies and rules. From the perspective of the managers, this may create a lack of attention on some of my tables depending upon how busy I may be. Understanding their point of view as well as abiding by the rules, this takes away conflict from occurring from my standpoint. Being able to have this comprehension on why conflicts occur, this creates a favorable and successful working relationship between the managers and myself.
    Personally I would make sure I would ask myself the question, “What is the conflict here?” Then after assessing the situation, I would see how I could resolve this conflict. Applying conflict management, would be the best way to start in figuring a way to come to a conclusion. This would be a great start to getting past a conflict and to a resolution.
    Another topic to explore is conflict management. Conflict management is defined as, “ The communication behavior a person employs based on his or her analysis of a conflict situation (Cahn, pg 8).” This is how we have various ways of dealing with conflict. Conflict resolution is also involved in the concept of Conflict management. Conflict resolution “ refers to only one alternative in which parties solve a problem and expect that it will not arise again (Cahn, pg 8).” This is a key part of conflict management. A good use of conflict management happens when there is good communication from all involved parties. “Skills are not innate; they are learned. We develop them through experience (Cahn, pg 9).” This is a great quote to live by. No one is born a genius. Everyone handles things differently. It all comes down to how well we perceive situations and accept them. The more experience you have with various conflicts, will determine how you deal with conflict. “Conflict has an emotional cost that remains after the battle is over. Win or lose, the scars may be with you for the rest of your life. Some people spend their lives focusing on the promotion they “lost,” the business they “lost,” the divorce they “lost,” the project they “lost.” This tunnel vision keeps them locked in the grip of their own anger (Levine, pg 34).”
    In my own personal experience, I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. I grew up in a very ethnic neighborhood with racism surrounding my family and myself. I learned first hand how the color of one’s skin, the languages they communicate with, or one’s religious practices; play into various every day life situations. I grew up with people I enjoyed playing sports and hanging out with, no matter what ethnicity they were. This was something through my entire life I have brought with me. In every city I have lived, I’ve always been able to get along with anyone and been able to avoid conflicts as best as I could. There is no possibility of being right about every topic, but to be able to see the other person’s perspective makes that argument or discussion, a whole lot easier to have.
    Establishing a open, healthy line of communication in any instance is the first step to managing your conflict. Being open and up front with anyone, keeping “your door open” lines your situation up for success. Lack of communication could be the demise of any possibility of compromise and resolution.
    I remember there was one instance of conflict when I was in third grade. I cannot recall her name but let’s name her Mrs. E. Mrs. E was my favorite teacher out of all the teachers I ever had up until that point, during my time attending my elementary school. I had been given the duty of handing out the attendance sheet to each teacher in the school. I would love going to the classrooms of all my old teachers. We’d exchange hugs and sometimes the teacher would bring up a memory involving myself. I had come to the classroom of Mrs. E. Keep in mind during elementary school, I had a very bad stuttering problem. I was very self conscious of it and it was a very sensitive subject to me. Mrs. E was teaching her class, I had knocked on the door and walked in. She greeted me with a big hug and sat down in her seat. I handed the sheet to her and began to walk out. She for some reason brought up an instance of when I got stuck reading from a book in her class. She imitated me and made her class laugh at the re-enactment. I was obviously embarrassed and angry but I decided to turn around and walk out. I was very upset and told my parents about what happened. It was an early experience and I definitely didn’t understand the concept of conflict management, but looking back it fits as a good example. I could’ve reacted a certain way, but I didn’t. I handled it as maturely as a fourth grade kid could have at that point in life. I ended up looking to set up a meeting with Mrs. E and my parents. I told her how she made me feel, and she ended up apologizing. It didn’t fix the problem but it was the only solution, we decided to take without having her lose her job.
    Climate in a communication situation is another example of conflict topic. A conflict climate is defined as “the psychological atmosphere impacting a conflict, to these opposing concepts; imbalance of power versus equity, competition versus cooperation, distrust versus trust and defensive versus supportive behavior (Cahn, pg 103).” Climate is a term used referring to the physical appearance or characteristics of the surrounding environment. When you walk into a room of people, you notice the different faces, the different clothes, the different voices, their mannerisms, the temperature of the room, smell of the food from the kitchen - these all constitute as examples of climate. Conflict management is difficult to provide favorable results when it undergoes a harmful conflict climate. This refers to any type of negative feeling such as: dishonesty, defensiveness, and competition. These types of feelings create a negative environment for any contesting parties involved. On the latter, a nurturing conflict climate is much more favorable and much easier to negotiate when the feelings of: cooperation, trust, collaboration and openness are present.
    In a professional setting such as my own at the restaurant I work at, conflict climate is an issue that is present more often than not. Depending on the shift and the manager on duty, the climate varies. Some managers are more passive and some are more aggressive. Some make decisions based upon “the book”, some make their decisions based upon the current situation and just simply use their common sense. The servers know the different managerial styles of each and for the most part favor the same people. With the managerial styles come different personalities and moods. For an example, one of the managers is recently divorced. She doesn’t have many friends or many social encounters out of work. She likes to complain about her situation and insinuate how she’s feeling at any opportunity. Anyone working with her during a shift, knows how negative she can get and quite frankly, it brings down the moral of the staff. There are some times when she’s in such a mood, people would rather go home early than work an entire shift with her, knowing how she gets. Knowing how she gets, I like to keep a positive, friendly and comedic approach with her. To create a positive mood or a looser situation in any situation regarding her. It seems as as the shift progresses she loosens up and comes more friendly and approachable.
    If I was in her position as a manager of a restaurant, I would portray positivity and conformity to my staff. I would do everything in my power, to not let any out of work or personal circumstance affect the shift that I would be running. I acknowledge the fact that I am a person that my employees look to in any circumstance. To be approachable no matter what, is a very important characteristic for me to have, in order for my staff to follow and work as hard as possible.
    Conflict, anger, and aggression are a part of life, and a major part of stress. How can one productively express negative thoughts and feelings that may provoke disagreement or hostility? What are useful ways of making challenging requests, disagreeing, and expressing feelings of anger? How does one deal with anger and aggression from others? Although conflict, anger, and aggression are often not pleasant, they can have healthy consequences. They can provide needed energy and motivation to change. They can sensitize one to problems that may be hidden. Conflict, anger, and aggression are destructive when they are irrational (as with prejudice, bigotry, and homophobia). They can contribute to physical pathology if not realistically dealt with; indeed the chronic overexpression of anger can be just as personally destructive as holding anger in (Stewart, pg 215).” Stress and anger are very important topics regarding conflict. There are so many aspects of life that can cause stress. Finances, relationships, careers, health, are a couple of examples to name a few. Stress is defined as “A biochemical reaction within the body because of the way in which we interpret and respond to external pressures, which may be positive or negative (Cahn, pg 121).” Stress causes conflict. There are different types of stress. Eustress is a stress that helps push and encourage us to put more effort into important activities. Another type of stress is Hypostress. Hypostress is when you are bored by your current situations. Hyperstress occurs quite often and is when too much is on our plate and we’re unable to manage the stress. Lastly is Distress. Which is when you feel like you have no control over the stressful situation and where it’s coming from isn’t understood. The best approach to stress management is called,
    ABC approach. A= stressor, B=beliefs or thoughts, C consequences to the stressor. This methodology is how to assess your stressful mindset, diagnose and hopefully reduce the stress into being manageable. The stressor (A) is the event that triggers the stress. It would be an ideal situation if there was a way to completely prevent any event from creating stress in our lives. There are two ways of doing that: the first,  is by changing something in the environment. You do this by turning off your cellphone during class or by deleting the number of that lingering, annoying ex-girlfriend or boyfriend. The second is by changing the environment entirely. You change the environment by physically moving out of the current situation you’re in, to a different, fresh brand new environment and situation. The beliefs(B) we take the lemons and turn them into lemonade. You take the current situation and start looking into other positive, constructive alternatives to your original situation. Lastly consequences (C), typically consist of the result of how you either change, or your situation remains the same. There are specific consequences for either direction such as positivity, starting over, or being openminded. Or becoming upset, suffering major anxiety and possibly falling into a depression.
    Regarding stress in my personal life, my introduction to the ABC approach occurred a couple years ago. I was finishing my chemotherapy treatment for my Leukemia diagnosis and I decided I wanted to go back to college. I was forced to take a mandatory medical leave to be treated for two and half years of chemotherapy. Every move that I made was overseen by my hematologist/oncologist. I had to receive permission from him for my return to college. He said I could as long as I stayed out of a cold environment. A long story short, I decided to pick up every thing I owned and moved to San Diego. Not having any friends, family - not knowing a single soul. I viewed this drastic move as a the stressor in my life. Every where I went in my hometown, I was reminded of my diagnosis and a bunch of painful memories. The belief part took a couple years after to realize. Celebrating six-years cancer free this past January, my belief of taking my survivorship and my label of being a cancer survivor, I’ve decided to create a non-profit organization dedicated to young adult cancer patients and survivors. The consequences part I could only say would be positive. I view life as being much more precious and valuable than every before. Every person, every second, every minute I cherish, that would be the best consequence you could ask for stemming from a cancer diagnosis.
    With anger, it comes hand in hand with stress. The more stress you have the more chances you have to become violent. “Repressing anger within oneself is not healthy because it only remains hidden until something happens to cause it to express itself in behavior. Often this expression is overblown and/or unfairly displaced on someone, or something, other than the actual cause of the anger. Physical and emotional problems can also result when anger is not acknowledged and held inside (Dunne, pg 6).” Anger is defined as, “ A strong feeling of displeasure, a synonym for antagonism and rage (Cahn, pg 140).” Anger is a temporary sensation that is caused by conflict. It usually starts out in the verbal abusive stage and depending upon how its treated or approached, it could turn into physically abusive.
    A personal experience with anger. I remember years ago when I was dating my first girlfriend, we had got into an argument. I was very immature and wasn’t able to contain my anger or my emotions. I remember yelling and screaming and saying whatever came to my mind without thinking. Then the fight escalated to the point of me throwing a punch into my door and getting my fist stuck in the door. I actually had bruised my knuckle and needed to have a splint on my hand. Was the last time I ever have gotten into a fist fight with anything or anyone. I just realized it is definitely not worth it, getting that mad or angry over anything. Regarding anger, I’ve become much more passive as I’ve grown up. I take less important things, less seriously. I take more important things, more seriously. Having a good list of your priorities in your mind, is a good way to gauge whether something is important to get angry about or even to stress about. Anything you don’t have control over, don’t bother stressing - it just isn’t worth the toll it could take on your health.
    The last concept topic is forgiveness. Forgiveness is defined as, “A cognitive process that consists of letting go of feelings of revenge and desires to retaliate (Cahn, pg 176).”  This is an essential method of coming to conclusions regarding stress and anger. “For forgiveness to be fully functional, it needs to operate both publicly and privately, both as a ritual speech-act and as a manifestation of affective reattunement. Publicly, it needs to operate as a ritual and not as a transaction, because forgiveness, unlike a transaction, can neither require nor demand reciprocity (Allers, pg 3).” I believe many more people and countries in this world should adopt a policy of forgiveness. Regarding any personal situation between individuals as well as countries and organizations. There is too much violence due to grudges held over the course of years for some people and centuries over various countries and regions.
    On a personal reference regarding forgiveness, I had one instance that stands out during my experience with cancer. When I was diagnosed at the at of eighteen, I had a really tight group of friends who were very supportive of me. Many of them visited me at the hospital. Some brought cards, balloons, hugs, high-fives, just well wishes. My close friend at the time, Mike didn’t show up at all. Each and every time I would see my other friends, I would ask where was Mike? They always told me how hard he took it and he wasn’t able to go to hospitals. At the time, I couldn’t comprehend why he wouldn’t want to see me. All of my other friends were there but him. I was hurt and at the time very close-minded to why he wouldn’t come. I was mad at him for a couple months. At one point I realized how hard it must’ve been for someone to see their friend in that position. I never had to visit a friend of mine who was dying, so I guess I never would understand how he felt unless I was in his position. So I forgave him. From that point on, forgiveness has not existed in my mind because I don’t hold any grudges towards anyone. If you’re important enough to stay in my life, then I care about you and if you ever made me angry, I’d get over it. If you aren’t important to me, then I frankly don’t care. Life is too short to hold grudges.
    Focusing on these conflict topics it really goes to show how important it is to utilize all of them in order to resolve conflicts. There are many contributing factors to conflicts and many more ways of resolution. Since everyone is different each person may have a different way of handling conflicts and the methods of conflict resolution differently than others. After exploring all these different methods of conflict resolution, it finally puts a title on methods you might have used in the past. For those who have been successful at conflict resolution, as well as those people who need help with conflict resolution, it doesn’t hurt going over the methods as well as usage of each. Hopefully in each of your daily lives, conflict is a bit easier to deal with after reading this paper.


Reference Page
1. Allers, Christopher R. (Editor); Smit, Marieke (Editor). Forgiveness in Perspective.
Amsterdam, , NLD: Editions Rodopi, 2010. p 3.

2. Cahn, D.D., & Abigail, R.A. (2007). Managing conflict through communication (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

3. Dunne, Gerry. Anger and Conflict Management : Personal Handbook.
Fawnskin, CA, USA: Personhood Press, 2003. p 6.

4. Levine, Stewart. Getting to Resolution : Turning Conflict into Collaboration  (2nd Edition).
Williston, VT, USA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2009. p 34.

5. Smith, Jonathan C.. Stress Management : A Comprehensive Handbook of Techniques and Strategies.
New York, NY, USA: Springer Publishing Company, 2002. p 215.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Week 3 Assignment

            One of the hardest parts of having any supervisory or managerial authority is to let a person go. No matter what the reason it is a difficult situation. When you know that this position is important to that individual for them to pay bills or if they have a family to help support that family, it’s definitely a feeling no person enjoys. However in a situation such as this, you have to do what works best for the company. If there is an employee that is creating an unhealthy work environment, then you have to make sure that this situation is corrected. In my opinion there are a few ways to deal with a situation like this.
            With it being noted that this employee is a confrontational type of person. There of course needs to be a certain level of caution when approaching someone like this. The first step I would make would be to approach this employee about their performance. I would get some proof to show them their performance compared with other anonymous employees as well as the level or standard of work of which the company expects. This gives the employee a chance to see their production and if they care enough, to improve and become a better more efficient employee. The other way of delivering such news to such an employee would be to give the employee “three strikes”. Give the employee an opportunity to change and improve the parts of their job that are not meeting the standards. Give them an ultimatum with a certain amount of time for a deadline, and that hopefully would light the fire under them. Another tactic would be making an announcement among your employees stating that you are looking to hire new staff, for those who do not step their performance up. For the most part an announcement like this one, is one that would improve performance among anyone slacking and improve performance among those who are already solid employees. The last tactic which may prove the most efficient would be active listening. Maybe ask this employee if there’s a reason their performance is a certain level. Maybe ask if there’s a way to make the job easier and the environment more friendly and inviting for them. Regardless there will be reactions that you must anticipate:
Now with these options for approaching the employee, you also have to anticipate their reactions. Depending upon this person’s demeanor, if they’re violent or unstable, it would probably be smart to have security on hand and nearby. They may be emotionally unstable depending upon your approach, which makes things complicated especially if you’re sympathetic. They may be dramatic and start name calling, cursing and acting the opposite of professional. I think all of these possible reactions all stem from the approach.
The more direct and conforming you are, the better chance things will go smoothly. If you are assertive and abrasive, expect the same reaction in return. When it comes down to it, no matter how unruly and satisfactory this person’s work performance may be, they still are human beings and must be treated well.

Monday, December 3, 2012


Internet. Quite possibly the most influential invention, media tool since the creation of the printing press. The internet is a non tangible concept that exists in the land of mobile devices as well as computers and ever growing cloud companies. Every single business in the world has some sort of connection to the internet. Most companies and individuals use one or all of the previous stated media tools, and all of those media tools are not possible without the existence of the internet. For those companies and individuals who do not use social media or these media tools in some way, are either completely out of “modern times” or their business (if it still exists) is struggling. Of course there are individuals and companies who do not use internet based tools and they probably are doing alright, but that is their decision, and to use the limited tools that are not based off the internet, they are a step or two behind. The Internet has taken over the lives of everyone who uses it. You are able to access any information in the entire world, if you need it. Anyone of any age with knowledge of using a computer or mobile device, is the audience of the internet. The possibilities of new opportunities is simply endless. The market continuously grows in every aspect of the internet. The future of the world, is based upon the internet. To establish yourself, your voice or your brand today, is by far more easier than ever before. It’s very exciting to see the possibilities. I for one, plan on taking advantage of all of them.


YouTube. YouTube is an interesting media tool. It combines users who look to share videos of an interest that they have and would like to share, or for some users to film videos regarding anything you could ever think of and become the next hilarious or next disturbing video for the pop culture to share among their peers. It’s caught the type of hype as when someone is looking to search or research a question they “Google” it. Same goes with YouTube. Anything that is shock worthy or funny and something that people feel that should be shared and shown to a large group of people, people would “Put it on YouTube”. YouTube has a very large demographic. People of any age, and any interest. Public companies use YouTube, to feature products or services. Entertainment companies use it as a cheaper way to advertise movies and musical talents. For someone like myself, an aspiring motivational speaker, it could be a great platform for my career. I simply post videos of my speeches, or interviews, and post them to YouTube, in hopes that people with my interest, share the same interest. If you have a mobile device, you could view and post videos from anywhere you are. It creates an enormous stage, and gives opportunities to some people who don’t have the contacts or know the “right people”. Some people who are talented and creative enough sometimes become “YouTube sensations” and from that point on they earn many benefits from having a large amount of followers. In this day and age, it matters even more how many friends and followers you have, this means you are establishing a brand within a very large community.