Take Home Final Exam

Take Home Final Exam

Instructions:  Please answer five questions according to the options listed below.  For each response, do your best to: (a) clearly and coherently synthesize concepts and examples covered in class and readings; (b) offer your own unique insights in a way that demonstrates your understanding of the course materials; and (c) produce a well-written document that is sound organizationally, grammatically and stylistically. As a guideline, each answer should be approximately 3 pages (typed and double-spaced).   As an upper limit, please do not exceed 15 total pages.

You will submit your document electronically via Canvas under “Assignments/Final Exam.”  Following the guidelines of academic integrity, please do your own original work.  Please note that your work will be reviewed by an academic plagiarism detector on Canvas.

As you prepare your answers, keep in mind that the overall objective of this exam is twofold: (1) to give you an opportunity to reflect on the materials covered in the course for your own synthesized and cumulative learning; and (2) to demonstrate your unique understanding and insights about interpersonal skills in a written format that you can refer back to and use in your ongoing improvement as a communicator.


Question One

Consider the following situation.  You are the chair (designated leader) of a committee comprised of 4 members, including yourself. The committee makes important decisions on departmental policies. You have identified the communication styles of each of the other 3 members, and the group includes a person who is highly Instrumental, a person who is highly Expressive, and a person who is highly Reflective.  Your own style is Instrumental-Expressive.  As chair of the committee, it is your responsibility to get the best work out of each individual, to create an effective team environment, and to facilitate the dynamics of the group so that people will work well together as a collaborative unit during meetings.

How will you apply your understanding of communication styles to facilitate the group’s dynamics in a way that promotes a positive group climate/culture, collaboration, and effective decisions during meetings?  In your answer, consider each of the 4 main communication styles represented in the group, and also consider the co-created relational dynamics that are likely to occur amongst and between the various styles.


 This question has two parts.  First, how/why is emotional intelligence important to interpersonal competence in a business environment (such as in a leadership role or as an employee)?  Reflecting on the competencies of emotional intelligence covered in class (e.g., hijacking, rumination, etc), explain the importance and impact of one’s level of emotional intelligence in the workplace.

Second, describe how you can improve your own emotional intelligence in order to enhance your interpersonal competence.  In your answer, be sure to use specific competencies of emotional intelligence.  Also, direct your answer toward at least one specific professional context, such as: (a) how you will become a better leader or manager by addressing these three areas; (b) how you will become a better team member (such as in a task force or a committee at work); (c) how you will become a better employee or subordinate under the supervision of a boss, and/or; (d) how you will become a better co-worker when working in a department with other employees.

Question Three

Discuss the connection between a person’s emotional intelligence and how he/she deals with life space violations.  In other words, explain how one’s level of emotional intelligence affects his/her tendencies when dealing with life space violations, and how these tendencies shape the co-created outcomes he/she experiences in difficult conversations.  In your answer, use specific concepts related to emotional intelligence as covered in class to describe how effective one will tend to be when communicating about life space violations.  Identify the competencies related to emotional intelligence that will help or hinder one’s effectiveness during difficult conversations about life space violations, and explain why a higher level of emotional intelligence can enhance the outcomes experienced during difficult conversations.


Question Four

What are the keys to effectiveness when having a “difficult conversation” with someone about a life space violation and/or conflict?  Using the frameworks we have covered in class, as well as the chapters from People Skills on assertion skills, conflict management, listening skills and collaborative problem-solving, explain the four most important “lessons” you have learned about how to effectively deal with life space violations/conflicts.  In your answer, clearly identify four unique insights you will carry forward, and explain how these insights will help you communicate effectively when you are attempting to manage the dynamics of life space violations/conflicts with another person.  Be sure to incorporate ideas and frameworks from our class discussions, as well as relevant chapters from the book, in a way that reflects your own unique understanding of how to communicate effectively during a “difficult conversation” involving a conflict situation.


Question Five

Discuss the connection between the following two frameworks covered in class and our readings: (1) defensive-supportive communication climates; and (2) communication roadblocks (Chapter 2).  Your task is to: (1) select three of the specific roadblocks that you personally have a tendency to use; (2) explain how/why your use of each of these roadblocks can create a defensive communication climate; and (3) describe what you can to improve your communication in the case of each roadblock in order to create a more supportive communication climate.  Be sure to discuss three different roadblocks from Chapter 2, the specific ways they might create a defensive communication climate when you use them, and how you can make improvements in each case to create a more supportive communication climate (i.e., “rather than doing this, I can do that”).

Question Six

In this question, you will use two of the following principles in combination to explain how they work together to affect relational patterns/outcomes, and to describe how you can improve the quality of your relationships by using these two principles together.  Choose two of the following principles discussed in class: (1) interpretive framing; (2) meta-messages; (3) social exchange; (4) co-creation; and (5) contextuality (including self-monitoring).   You are free to select any two of the five principles

 Putting these two principles together, how can they be used to explain what is happening in your relationships (i.e., how do they fit together to help you understand relational dynamics)?  And with this understanding, how can you positively influence the outcomes you experience in your relationships by applying both of these principles in combination?  You can think about this question in terms of a specific relationship you have, or in terms of your relationships with others in general.

So, for instance, how might your interpretive framing of events in your relationship(s) affect social exchange dynamics, and how can you change your interpretive framing in ways that will improve the social exchange dynamics you experience?  Or, for instance, how can the way meta-messages are delivered and/or interpreted affect social exchange dynamics, and how can you improve social exchange outcomes through your use of meta-messages?  Or, for instance, how can your level of self-monitoring affect the co-created patterns in your relationship(s), and how might you use your understanding of self-monitoring to improve co-created outcomes?  Or, for instance, how can the exchange of rewards and costs in your relationship(s) co-create the outcomes you experience, and how can you use your understanding of social exchange to  improve the reward-cost ratio and/or equitable reciprocity?  In your answer, do your best to combine specific aspects of the two principles to demonstrate how the principles can work together to explain and help you improve your relational outcomes.


Question Seven

Discuss the connection between the following two frameworks covered in class and our book: (1) humanistic communication (humanism) and (2) the “3 essentials for effective communication” in Chapter 15.  You can answer this in one of two ways.  First, if a person is lacking in any or all of the “3 essentials,” how will this affect his/her tendencies in humanistic communication?  OR second, if a person actively demonstrates any or all of the “3 essentials,” how will this affect his/her tendencies in humanistic communication?  Choose one of these two ways to describe how humanistic communication and the “3 essentials” are connected.

In your answer, be sure to use the specific aspects of humanism we covered in class, as well as specific aspects of the “3 essentials” from Chapter 15.  Whichever way you choose to answer the questions (the first or second as described above), be sure to show how the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of a person’s level of humanistic communication is affected depending upon the extent to which he/she demonstrates the “3 essentials.”

Question Eight

There are two parts to this question.  First, explain why effective listening skills are important during a “difficult conversation” about a life space violation. In other words, in what specific ways does effective listening promote constructive communication when people are having a difficult conversation?  Second, what are the keys to practicing effective listening during a difficult conversation?  In other words, what are most important guidelines for demonstrating effective listening during a difficult conversation, either as the person sending an assertion message (such as when the other person “pushes back”), or as the person on the receiving end of an assertion message, or both?  In your answer, be sure to use the materials on listening skills from the book.

Question Nine

Examine the co-created nature of relationships between toxic abusers and toxic victims using the framework of humanism.  Explain the de-humanizing patterns formed between the toxic abuser and the toxic victim that characterize their interactions and shape the quality of their relationship.  In your answer, explain how the profile characteristics of a toxic abuser can be de-humanizing to the victim, and explain how the profile characteristics of the toxic victim perpetuate the de-humanizing patterns in the relationship.



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