University of Technology Sydney

52901 Navigating Workplace Conflict

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2023 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Communication
Credit points: 2 cp
Result type: Grade and marks


This subject is only offered until the end of 2023. It will not be available for enrolment in 2024 and beyond.


Today’s communication professionals benefit from having the knowledge to understand different kinds of conflicts that arise in organisational settings and the skills to handle them productively and capably. Drawing on theories of communication, students learn to identify the nature of common workplace conflicts, such as those based on roles and structures versus those of an interpersonal nature. Scenario-based learning then affords students an opportunity to apply strategies to transform workplace conflict from disruption to opportunity.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

a. Articulate why teams are important within an organisation
b. Identify how and why conflict emerges within a team
c. Analyse how to co-exist with conflict
d. Evaluate different forms of conflict resolution

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject engages with the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs), which are tailored to the Graduate Attributes set for all graduates of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences:

  • Employ appropriate research and inquiry skills to independently gather, organise and analyse information across diverse platforms (2.1)
  • Act as reflexive critical thinkers and innovative creative practitioners who evaluate their own and others' work (2.2)
  • Demonstrate a strong awareness, knowledge of, and sensitivity to, diversity, equity and global contexts (3.1)
  • Exemplify effective and appropriate communication in different communication industry contexts (6.1)

Teaching and learning strategies

Learning in this online subject is iterative, building an understanding of workplace conflict through engagement with online modules, literature, scenarios and possible strategies/methods for addressing conflict in a variety of workplace settings. Student learning is consolidated through online exercises and discussions, building their understanding and skills to improve their experience in professional organisational contexts.

Students engage in regular online discussions with their peers and learn from senior practitioners through recorded insight sessions. Online discussion forums may include questions, images, and suggested shared readings. Early opportunities to check comprehension and receive automatic feedback are embedded in the subject site. Two live, face-to-face online sessions give students further opportunities to have questions answered.

Content (topics)

Areas or topics to be addressed by students in this subject include:

  • Organisations and teams
  • Team roles and team communication
  • Challenges of working in teams including competition, cooperation, collaboration, and conflict
  • Causes, definitions, and types of conflict
  • Conflict management
  • Conflict resolution strategies including mediation, negotiation, arbitration, self-managed dispute resolution


Assessment task 1: Conceptual understanding and application


a, b, c and d

Weight: 100%


Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Accuracy of knowledge and understanding of concepts and theories around organisational structure and working in teams 20 a, b, c 2.2
Depth of analysis of different types of workplace conflict 20 b, c, d 2.1
Evaluation of conflict resolution techniques and workplace conflict management 20 b, c, d 6.1
Scope of illustration of the benefits and challenges of working in a team with workplace conflicts 20 a, c 6.1
Depth of analysis of scenarios and appropriateness of suggested potential solutions to resolve conflict 20 b, c, d 3.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes


Each module is considered an independent learning module which students do online. Each module should take approximately 2 hours to complete and includes readings, videos, discussion sections and polls. Some modules include interviews with experts, and many contain case studies.

There is a reference list for each module.