“Crucial Conversations” By Patterson Essay Sample For College


The book to be reviewed is Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Patterson et al. (2011). It is about the best approach to use when participating in crucial conversations. A model has been developed concerning how best to prepare for high-stake situations, control emotions, and transform anger into robust dialogue. Doing these makes it possible to communicate in any situation and be persuasive. Through a carefully drafted model, the book outlines the best approaches to high-stake conversations, a technique applicable to the workplace to resolve conflicts, and promotes a healthy organizational culture.

Main Points of the Book

The book focuses on how to effectively hold conversations, especially when the environment is full of highly charged emotions. High-stakes communication is bound to lead to disagreements and conflicts of interest, but Patterson et al. (2011) suggest a working model which can help avoid a stalemate situation. The premise on which this book is written is that whenever people are stuck in a given state of affairs, there is a crucial conversation keeping them from realizing their desired results. Patterson et al. (2011) define a crucial dialogue as an engagement between two or more people, which involves high-stakes, thereby resulting in a variation of opinions, leading to high emotions. Therefore, this book offers the techniques to start crucial conversations and handle them well while working towards the anticipated target.

The Model Developed by the Authors

The model of handling crucial conversations developed by the authors includes seven essential steps. The first one is to start with the heart, positive intent, and empathy. It is vital to be in the right state before creating ample space for another person during crucial dialogues (Patterson et al., 2011). Thus, it is important to approach the situation with the right emotions and mindset, avoiding revenge, resentment, and anger. The second and third steps are connected, and they include staying in the dialogue and making it safe. These require ensuring communication lines do not falter for a smooth flow to reach the desired resolution. Patterson et al. (2011) suggest four ways of powerful listening in such conversations as an acronym AMPP. A stands for asking to keep the conversation going, M for mirroring to understand another person’s feelings, P for paraphrasing, and P for priming by giving a hint of what their feelings might be. This technique aims at allowing another person to feel safe in the conversation.

The model’s fourth step is to avoid being controlled by feelings. As mentioned earlier, emotions run strong during crucial conversations; therefore, it is vital to steer clear of reactions. Three actions that Patterson et al. (2011) suggest taking in such a situation include remaining focused on the desired outcome, refusing to get controlled by the emotion, and avoiding the dilemma of either keeping quiet or being reckless with words. Thus, it is important to avoid being trapped in emotions.

The last three steps are crucial and aim to find a balance between the two sides of the dialogue. The fifth phase is to agree on both sides’ mutual purpose, while the sixth is separating facts from opinions. A lack of mutual agreement indicates that the conversation will not be successful. Patterson et al. (2011) emphasize the need to find common ground using the acronym CRIB. It stands for being committed to finding a mutual purpose, recognizing the need for a common goal, inventing a mutual aim, and brainstorming on new strategies towards finding a common solution. Thus, these actions help improve the situation to ensure both sides of the conversation obtain their result.

The Model’s Applicability for Conflict Resolution in the Air Force Work Environment

The air force work environment deals with important decisions, which need to be thoughtful. This feature of the industry makes this model applicable to the workplace. When a technical error occurs, it is blamed on any employee or department, which causes a clash. Resolving this conflict requires listening carefully to each side of the misunderstanding. For example, the STATE acronym can be adopted to resolve conflicts in the air force work environment. At the beginning of the conversation, it is important to share (S) the facts. The next action is to tell (T) the story with any assumptions in mind. The third one is to ask (A) for the other party’s side of the story. The fourth suggestion is to talk tentatively (T), considering that these assumptions are not facts. Lastly, it is essential to encourage (E) testing by welcoming the other person to tell their story even if it may be different (Patterson et al., 2011). This process is particularly important to the Air Force workplace since it can help every worker be accountable for their actions and feel a part of the conversation.

Pros of the Model

One advantage of this model is that it creates a safe environment for all sides of the dialogue. Crucial conversations mostly lead to high emotions, making a person avoid them. However, this model gives everyone a chance to speak freely, thereby ensuring they feel valued. Another pro is that it can be used to resolve conflicts in many settings. In the work environment, careful decision making is paramount to ensure possible solutions are generated from conflicts through such processes as STATE and AMPP. Therefore, this model is beneficial in ensuring effective crucial conversations.

Cons of the Model

Although this model has some benefits, it is not without flaws. The first disadvantage is that it allows for too much consultation, making the decision-making process unnecessarily lengthy. This model aims to ensure that each side of the conversation does not feel threatened but valued. Thus, it takes a long time to listen to the facts and opinions shared by everyone, which may not work during emergencies and crises. The second shortcoming is that it gives a false impression that it is a person’s right to change another individual. People have different perceptions of others, and it is not easy not to judge someone. Therefore, this model generalizes that a conversation has to follow a specific route, which is not true.

Promotion of a Healthy Organizational Culture Using This Model

Using this model could promote a healthy organizational culture in the Air Force. This work environment involves making crucial technical and security decisions, requiring detailed consultations. Applying this model will help avoid emotional impulses, which can lead to poor, costly choices. Patterson et al. (2011) suggest that starting with the wrong mindset contaminates the pursuit of the desired goal. Since there are well-defined targets in the Air Force, this model can help drive this army branch to achieve its preferred results; every member feels valued. Moreover, the Air Force engages in numerous high-stake conversations calling for total sensory acuity. Therefore, this model can help promote a healthy organizational culture in the Air Force.

In conclusion, approaching high-stake situations call for a high level of preparedness. However, with the seven-step model provided in the book by Patterson et al. (2011), it is possible to participate in crucial conversations with moderation to achieve the anticipated goal. The Air Force employers make essential decisions, which need to be carefully arrived at. Although this model has some disadvantages, adopting it will promote a healthy organizational culture and ease conflict resolution.


Patterson, K., Grenny, J., McMillan, R., & Switzler, A. (2011). Crucial conversations: Tools for talking when stakes are high (2nd ed.). McGraw Hill.

Racial Disparities In Death Penalty Sentencing


The institution of the death penalty is one of the most acutely discussed both from the perspectives of criminal law practice and compliance with the principles of constitutional and international law. In the USA, the complexity and contradictory nature of the state doctrine regarding the ethnic problem are complemented by the decentralization of the federal system. The issue of ensuring the principle of equality, which is fundamental for modern jurisprudence, requires assessing various aspects, including the topics of gender, economic status, health, or age. However, one of the fundamental imperatives for the entire legal system is the prohibition of racial and national discrimination. In this regard, the assessment of the problem of racial disparities and their correlations with the principles of death penalty sentencing is of high importance not only from a legal but also from a social perspective. To analyze the current trends and potential bias, real statistics need to be utilized. Racial disparities in death penalty sentencing are an acute and controversial topic that sometimes leads to criticism and public discontent caused by the existing trends to protect the personal rights and freedoms of ethnic minorities.

Literature Review

To explain the phenomenon of racial disparities in relation to the practice of criminal punishment, some researchers resort to specific concepts and models. For instance, according to Spohn (2015), while discussing ethnic issues raised in death penalty sentencing, three theories can be applied – the critical race theory, the conflict theory, and the attribution theory. The author describes the critical race theory in the context of legislative initiatives and notes that it regards a justice system built on sociodemographic characteristics, including race, as a hierarchical one (Spohn, 2015). The conflict theory, as the researcher states, is based on the assessment of values and competing norms among the population, which are coordinated to maintain stability (Spohn, 2015). Finally, according to Spohn (2015), the attribution theory that does not focus on macro-level processes “posits that race-linked perceptions and stereotypes shape decisions” (p. 53). This concept highlights that the decision-making process in the criminal system allows for the division of society along racial lines, which, in turn, proves the existence of disparities and potential bias.

While considering the history of the formation of laws and bills against racial stereotypes and persecution, one should pay attention to the amended legislation. Steiker and Steiker (2015) draw attention to the situation in the mid-20th century and note that bias against racial minorities was a pervasive aspect of the criminal justice system. The lack of legal practices and norms led to the fact that stereotypes influenced the imposition of death sentences due to well-formed social opinions. However, over time, the situation changed, and the official statistics confirm this. According to the data that reflect the number of people of different races sentenced to death in different years, as a percentage, towards the end of the 20th century, the situation stabilized (“DPIC analysis,” 2020). At the same time, the 1990s were a period of emerging political, economic, and social attitudes. In the United States, this difficult time was associated with a significant increase in the number of death sentences (636 sentenced prisoners in 1980 and 2393 in 1990) (“DPIC analysis,” 2020, para. 11). Nevertheless, in terms of racial differences, in those years, the percentage of prisoners did not change significantly.

An increase in the number of death penalties at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries was not reflected in the differences in the number of sentences from the perspective of racial disparities. For instance, according to the official data, over the past 20 years, the ratio of white and black death-row prisoners has remained approximately identical. According to the statistics, the proportion of black and white prisoners was 46.2% and 42.7% in 2000, respectively, 43.9% and 41.7% in 2010, respectively, and 42.2% and 41.6% in 2019, respectively (“DPIC analysis,” 2020, para. 11). In addition, there is a downward trend in the overall number of death sentences in the two racial groups examined, but the opposite is true for Latino prisoners. In 2000, the share of this population sentenced to death was 9%, in 2010 – 11.9%, in 2019 – 13.4% (“DPIC analysis,” 2020, para. 11). Thus, one cannot state unequivocally that the downward trend in the number of death sentences from a racial perspective is positive.

The assessment of the cases from American criminal practice confirms the ambiguity of the problem under consideration. Lee et al. (2015) analyze death sentences handed down to criminals from two racial groups and notes that, regardless of the number of white victims, the maximum penalty was applied to racial minorities more often. In this case, there is social bias, and statistics prove that racial discrimination exists in the criminal justice system. Espinoza and Willis-Esqueda (2015), in turn, note that public attitudes towards such a phenomenon as the death penalty are more favorable due to existing racial prejudices. In other words, long-standing views of ethnic inequality reinforce the beliefs of the racial majority that the death penalty should be retained as a mandatory phenomenon in the judicial system. This approach proves the existence of the problem of racial disparities and explains the need to study this topic in view of disagreements and supporters’ and opponents’ criticism.

Criticism of the Existing Criminal Procedure Practice

In a modern democratic society, the fight against racial discrimination is one of the important aspects due to the trend towards equality and personal freedom. Lee et al. (2015) provide examples from the 19th century and argue that the ideological doctrines and movements characteristic of that era, such as the Ku Klux Klan, can be considered terrorists. However, even in today’s liberal society, issues of inequality and racial discrimination arise. Moreover, these issues manifest themselves in such a highly regulated and controlled industry as federal legislation. If official regulators and policymakers allow for the application of individual views and judgments to a guilty verdict, this system needs revising. With regard to the death penalty, when a person’s life is at stake, no stereotypes or personal reasoning can be objective. Therefore, addressing racial disparities within the framework of this system is of high importance as a logical step towards the formation of a democratic society.

Suggestions for Improving the Policy

Since the existence of racial disparities in relation to the system of criminal punishment and, in particular, death penalty sentencing is statistically confirmed, addressing this issue should be part of the federal policy. The work to mitigate social prejudices is to begin in the legal framework to create a clear vision among the population that the government has an interest in resolving ambiguities and controversial opinions. In this regard, one of the tools to improve the existing criminal procedural law in relation to cases involving racial issues is engaging additional and independent commissions to analyze specific cases. The social background and personal interests of people involved in death penalty debates cannot be utilized as a justification for making such tough decisions. Therefore, additional discussions of controversial cases and the engagement of independent expert commissions are valuable interventions that can help overcome the barrier of racial inequality in sentencing.

Personal View on the Topic

Criminal prosecution in conditions of racial disparities creates challenges for both the majority and the minority. If such a severe conviction as the death penalty is imposed on an African American, this is the reason for an additional discussion and analysis. At the same time, the white population is also at a disadvantage. Capital punishment applied to a citizen of a dominant ethnic group can be perceived as an attempt to balance existing disparities, thereby being an equally dangerous form of bias. Thus, legal proceedings should take place in the framework of justice that is based solely on the legal assessment of a crime, without taking into account any additional factors that may be regarded as prejudices.


Today, fighting against any form of discrimination is a common trend, but racial disparities manifest themselves from different negative perspectives, and one of them is biased towards death penalty sentencing. The criticism of this phenomenon in academic literature confirms that the issue requires addressing at the highest possible level. Despite the downward trend in the number of executions, the proportion of racial minorities sentenced to capital punishment remains high. As a potential improvement to the existing policy, the involvement of independent expert commissions is necessary to assess disputed cases only in the legal field.


DPIC analysis: Racial disparities persisted in U.S. death sentences and executions in 2019. (2020). Death Penalty Information Center.

Espinoza, R. K., & Willis-Esqueda, C. (2015). The influence of mitigation evidence, ethnicity, and SES on death penalty decisions by European American and Latino venire persons. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 21(2), 288-299. Web.

Lee, J. G., Paternoster, R., & Rowan, Z. (2015). Death penalty and race. The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Nationalism, 1-5.

Spohn, C. (2015). Race, crime, and punishment in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Crime and Justice, 44(1), 49-97. Web.

Steiker, C. S., & Steiker, J. M. (2015). The American death penalty and the (in) visibility of race. The University of Chicago Law Review, 82(1), 243-294.

The Role Of Stem-cell Tissue In Neurodevelopment

Stem-cell Developments

The attention towards the usage of stem cells in scientific studies is a subject of many controversies in the past decade. However, while some opponents of these experiments point out ethical issues related to the origin of this tissue, it is also essential to understand what these studies signify. Before I explain their potential uses, I would like to explain what role do stem cells play in neurodevelopment. In the adult body, neural stem cells regenerate ~700 neurons every day (Ottoboni et al., 2017). The ability of stem cells to morph and adapt to other tissues of an organism will make them a crucial part of the treatment of many illnesses.

Future Perspectives

Stem-cell tissues have a clear potential to cure severe diseases which nowadays are considered untreatable. Ottoboni et al. (2017) state that the “depletion of the stem cell pool” and “defect in cell-cell contact” are the primary reasons for multiple sclerosis, which is the natural effect of aging (p. 10). Studies of human neural stem cells will allow researchers to avoid putting patients who suffer from conditions such as Parkinson’s disease in danger by subjecting them to experimental treatments (Parr et al., 2017). As illnesses that affect the CNS are not yet fully understood and treatable, it is essential for scientists to continue their work on stem-cell tissue research to eradicate these illnesses.


Kwon, S. G., Kwon, Y. W., Lee, T. W., Park, G. T., & Kim, J. H. (2018). Recent advances in stem cell therapeutics and tissue engineering strategies. Biomaterials Research, 22(1).

Ottoboni, L., Merlini, A., & Martino, G. (2017). Neural stem cell plasticity: Advantages in therapy for the injured central nervous system. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, 5.

Parr, C. J. C., Yamanaka, S., & Saito, H. (2017). An update on stem cell biology and engineering for brain development. Molecular Psychiatry, 22(6), 808–819.

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