PB458      Half Unit
Dialogue: Conflict & Negotiation

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Alex Gillespie CON.4.16


This course is available on the MSc in Behavioural Science, MSc in Organisational and Social Psychology, MSc in Psychology of Economic Life, MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology and MSc in Social and Public Communication. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

Dialogue is central to interpersonal conflicts, corporate negotiations, and societal debates. While dialogue is popularly construed in terms of reaching consensus, the reality entails rhetoric, manipulation and deception. This course takes the view that conflict is necessary, and it examines how dialogue can make a clash of difference productive and creative.

Topics covered will be: theory and science of dialogue; misunderstandings (when you see it, it is gone); negotiation and bargaining (creating wins, and win-wins); conflict mediation (when negotiation didn’t work); the dark arts and their detection (persuasion, framing, deception); the defenses and their detection (denial, dismissing, rationalizing); reading verbal and non-verbal cues (listening beyond the words); creativity & dialogue (the emergence of something new); crisis dialogue & speaking up (power and dissent); digital dialogues (silos and measuring the ‘quality’ of dialogue).

The course will provide practical hands-on experience. In workshops students will gain experience intervening in dialogue, analyzing dialogue (transcripts, videos), and trying out cutting edge methods for the automated analysis of dialogue.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the LT.

500 word essay or report plan outlining the approach to the summative assessment.

Indicative reading

Burris, E. R. (2012). The risks and rewards of speaking up: managerial responses to employee voice. Academy of Management Journal, 55(4), 851–875.Deutsch, M., Coleman, P. T., & Marcus, E. C. (2011). The handbook of conflict resolution: theory and practice. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.

Gillespie, A., & Corti, K. (2016). The body that speaks: recombining bodies and speech sources in unscripted face-to-face communication. Frontiers in Psychology, 1300.

Gillespie, A., & Richardson, B. (2011). Exchanging social positions: enhancing perspective taking within a cooperative problem solving task. European Journal of Social Psychology, 41, 608–616.

Harmon, D. J. (2019). When the fed speaks: arguments, emotions, and the microfoundations of institutions. Administrative Science Quarterly, in press.

Hawlina, H., Gillespie, A., & Zittoun, T. (in press). Difficult differences: a socio-cultural analysis of how diversity can enable and inhibit creativity. The Journal of Creative Behavior, https://doi.org/10.1002/jocb.182

Ireland, M. E., Slatcher, R. B., Eastwick, P. W., Scissors, L. E., Finkel, E. J., & Pennebaker, J. W. (2011). Language style matching predicts relationship initiation and stability. Psychological Science, 22(1), 39–44.

Marková, I. (2016). The dialogical mind: common sense and ethics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Pennebaker, J. W. (2011). The secret life of pronouns. London, UK: Bloomsbury Press.

Taylor, M., & Kent, M. L. (2014). Dialogic engagement: Clarifying foundational concepts. Journal of Public Relations Research, 26(5), 384–398.

Rubin, J. Z., & Brown, B. R. (2013). The social psychology of bargaining and negotiation. London, UK: Academic Press.

Vrij, A., Hartwig, M., & Granhag, P. A. (2019). Reading lies: nonverbal communication and deception. Annual Review of Psychology, 70(1), 295–317.

Yarkoni, T. (2010). Personality in 100,000 words: A large-scale analysis of personality and word use among bloggers. Journal of Research in Personality, 44(3), 363–373.


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the period between LT and ST.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Psychological and Behavioural Science

Total students 2020/21: 61

Average class size 2020/21: 15

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills