Question One: Put yourself in the place of Melanie (the boss) at the end of the Navigating Difficult Conversations video. State how you would begin the conversation with Matt (the employee).  Why did you start begin your conversation this way?  How do you believe Matt would respond?

 Before starting the conversation, I would choose a place in which Matt will not feel threatened or instantly be put on the defensive which is why I would not have him sitting in front of my desk.  I would begin the conversation by asking open-ended questions in the hopes of getting him to speak about his strengths and weaknesses (Grenny et al., 2021). A collaborative effort would not only make Matt look at things in a different light but for this conversation to end positively Matt will need to feel like he has a say in the process. When the conversation concludes I believe Matt will respond positively if he feels like he was listened to and his efforts are appreciated.

Question TwoDescribe distributive bargaining. Put yourself in the place of Melanie or Matt (state which person you selected in your post).  How would you use distributive bargaining to influence the other person’s viewpoint?  Hint: influence the other person’s beliefs on what is possible and gain knowledge about the other person’s position.

Distributive bargaining describes a competitive bargaining plan whereby one party has to lose while the other wins. In this occurrence, it is impossible for both parties to win concurrently. Such a negotiation strategy is utilized to distribute fixed components such as assets, resources, and money. Several negotiating tactics that occur in distributive scenarios include intimidation, reluctance, claiming restricted authority, and bluffing (Lewicki et al., 2020). Compromise is involved, and there is an acknowledgment that not all negotiations result in a win-win outcome.

If I were to be in Matt’s position, distributive bargaining would be a key tactic to win a favorable outcome. I would utilize distributive bargaining to impact Melanie’s viewpoint in two ways. One way would be expressing the strongholds that may be considered a competitive advantage over other parties. In order to stand firm and avoid being placed on probation, I would acknowledge that I have weaknesses and vulnerabilities and express the willingness to solve them. As a result, implementing transparency in the conversation ensures that I create a safe environment for myself and the involved party to engage in the conversation. In addition, my cooperation would aid in encouraging Melanie to resonate with me and get them to open up about their position.

Question Three: How does Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses use distributive bargaining? Hint: How does Jethro influence the Moses’ beliefs on what is possible and how does Jethro gain knowledge about the Moses’ responsibilities/position?

In Exodus Chapter 18 we read about the interaction between Jethro and Moses (King James Bible, 1769/2017).  Since Moses was in charge of the Israelites as they navigated from Egypt to Canaan, he was expected to resolve any disputes which developed between the Israelites, but solving all those complaints proved time-consuming. When Jethro visited Moses and saw him constantly surrounded by the people he utilized distributive negotiation and advised Moses to appoint trustworthy individuals to act as judges. The appointed men would assist in handling minor cases and Moses would only have to resolve major disputes.

Jethro was not suggesting Moses not resolve any disputes but rather reminding Moses that his role was to teach the people God’s will and show them the proper ways of living. By following Jethro’s suggestion not only would Moses be able to spend more time teaching the people the ways of the Lord but those with disputes would be able to have their cases heard in a timelier fashion.  Jethro played a major role in influencing Moses’ beliefs on the power of distributive bargaining and this shows that it is possible to allocate duties and get things done without always being directly involved in every aspect of the situation.


An, C. H., West, A. D., Sandage, S. J., & Bell, C. A. (2019). Relational spirituality, mature alterity, and spiritual service among ministry leaders: An empirical study. Pastoral Psychology68(2), 127-143.

Grenny, J., Patterson, K., McMillan, R., Switzler, A., & Gregory, E. (2021). Crucial conversations. McGraw Hill.

Lewicki, R. J., Barry, B., & Saunders, D. M. (2020). Essentials of negotiation. McGraw-Hill Education.

King James Bible. (2017). King James Bible Online. Links to an external site.(Original work published 1769)

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