Building Common Ground
Dale Rice
7-1 Final Project Milestone Three
June 17, 2021

Building Common Ground

How open-ended questions were utilized to elicit information

Open-ended questions are used when the interviewee does not want a yes or no answer. Instead, one wants the respondent to give as many facts as possible so that one can make an informed decision (Jones, 2020). In the transcript provided, the attorney asks open-ended questions to get adequate information surrounding the termination of Kareem. When Kareem meets the ER Rep, the latter asks Kareem to tell what happened at the company. The open-ended question allowed Kareem to give detailed information pertaining to his stay at the company.
When Kareem mentioned that things started changing when Michael saw him praying, the ER Reo asked him, how so? The question wanted a deeper explanation of the change that occurred. The explanation would help justify if the termination was justified or not. The answer to this open-ended question summarized the reaction of the supervisor, manager, and other employees after noticing that Kareem usually leaves his cube to go and pray. The answer also implied that no one tried to talk to Kareem, including Janet and Thomas, who is the supervisor and manager, respectively.
When Janet meets the ER Rep, the Rep asks her to describe Kareem in terms of personality and performance. When the REP says, “What can you tell me about his performance?” he gives Janet an opportunity to give detailed information about the performance of the former employee. The question does not limit Janet to a specific direction, as it would be the case for a close-ended question. Janet’s response enabled the ER Rep to assess Kareem and maybe determine how he may have influenced the termination. The Rep also asks Janet, “what happened next?” and Janet describes the events leading to the termination.
The interviewer also uses open-ended questions to get detailed information from Thomas, who fired Kareem. He asks Thomas to tell about Kareem’s performance. While Thomas sounds arrogant during the interview, the answers he gives helps the interviewer to direct the source of the problem. When talking about Kareem’s performance, the interviewer asks Thomas what he discovered that led to the termination. Thomas describes how Kareem was leaving his workstation, something that the company cannot tolerate, and this led to Kareem’s termination. In this transcript, the open-ended questions elicited useful data that helped the interviewer to decide.

How and why the interviewer summarized key ideas

The interviewer in the transcript provided summarized key ideas when conducting the interview with different stakeholders. There are instances where the interviewer chose to summarize the main concepts to make the communication as effective as possible. When interviewing Kareem, the Rep asks Kareem to tell what happened during his employment at the company. He does not ask detailed questions but a general skeleton that directs Kareem to give answers relevant to the assessment. The interviewer also asks about performance review and his religion. When interviewing Thomas, he also summarized how questions that investigated Thomas’ efforts after allegations of reduced production.
The summarization of ideas was important to ensure he only collects relevant information that will help conclude the matter. Asking too many questions attracts irrelevance, and one may lose focus on the goal (Wong, 2019). Summaries also help in saving time because if the interviewer was as detailed as possible, the process would take the longest time possible. It was easy for the interviewer to build a great mental picture and successful summaries make the interview more meaningful.

Impact vs. Intent

When the transcript is analysed keenly, one can easily tell that the impact of Kareem’s actions was at odds with his intent. During the interview, Kareem admits that he did not inform the company that he was a Muslim who needs to pray five times a day. When asked why he did not inform the company about his religion, Kareem says that he did not want any special treatment. While his intention was to avoid special treatment, his failure to communicate about his faith contributed to his termination from the company. If he communicated earlier, the case would have been possibly different.
When Kareem chose to be loyal to his religion and pray five times a day, he did not intend to be less productive, and little did he know that religion would cause his termination. Kareem was confident that he would sneak to pray and maintain his productivity at the workplace. He never thought of religion as a barrier to performance. Also, he did not use religion so that he can hurt the company or lose his job. He had pure intentions; to maintain his faith and be productive at work. However, his daily prayers made him less productive and eventually led to his termination.

Practices for rebuilding trust

The department should use communication as the first strategy of rebuilding trust. From the transcript, lack of communication was the leading cause of mistrust. The best way to rebuild the trust is to engage employees and initiate conversations that stakeholders may perceive as uncomfortable. Increased communication will prevent managers and supervisors from jumping to conclusions. Instead, people will have time to discuss issues and get solutions before things get out of hand. Communication also creates a conducive environment for everyone to initiate conversations that may build trust.
Individual responsibility towards restoring trust is important. Some employees may not be part of a communication breakdown that led to breaking trust. However, they should play a role in restoring the trust. For example, Kathy may not have contributed directly to the termination, but she should learn to have conversations that prevent colleagues from losing their jobs. Those who contributed to the communication breakdown should own their mistakes and embrace behaviour that promotes healthy relationships and communication. For example, Thomas should inculcate a culture where people communicate openly and address issues using dialogue. Such a culture will make leaders listen to employees and vice versa instead of making uninformed decisions.
The department should promote a culture of repeated win-win situations by promoting a sense of “we” and “ours.” Workplace mistrust results when individuals are involved in deliberate itineraries that serve self-interests. For example, Thomas wants to be recognized as the top-performing manager. The desire for recognition has made him inconsiderate of other employees, and he makes decisions that will serve personal interests (Fisher, 2018). The “we and “ours” culture will cherish and encourage mutually beneficial working relationships with extended communication. The culture makes employees and managers be sensitive and careful not to hurt others because they believe each member is valuable to the organization.
If possible, the department may outsource a professional mediator who will determine the differences in values and perceptions of the affected parties. The mediator should be adept and objective to respect differing opinions and perspectives while targeting to attain a common goal. A skilled mediator can initiate the conflict resolution process, gather enough information, and assessing the situation. The mediator will then make the parties involved aware of the consequences of broken trust. The knowledge of consequences will make the parties more willing to rebuild the trust.
Fisher, R. J. (2018). Social-Psychological Processes in Interactive Conflict Analysis and Reconciliation 1. In Conflict Resolution: dynamics, process, and structure (pp. 81-104). Routledge.
Jones, C. (2020). Qualitative interviewing. In Handbook for research students in the social sciences (pp. 203-214). Routledge.
Wong, S. L. (2019). Conflict Resolution: How to Successfully Manage Conflict. In Leadership in Surgery (pp. 107-118). Springer, Cham.


Building Common Ground

Dale Rice


1 Final Project Milestone Three

June 1


, 2021


Building Common Ground
Dale Rice
7-1 Final Project Milestone Three
June 17, 2021

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