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Power_ The Structure of Conflict


  • pg 1
									Power: The Structure of Conflict

            Chapter 4
              What is Power?
• Power is a fundamental concept in conflict
• Power is seen as
  – Designated (power given by your position)
  – Distributive (either/or power)
  – Integrative (both/and power)
           Designated Power
• Comes from your position, such as being a
  manager, the mother or father of a family, or
  the leader of a team
           Distributive Power
• Comes from your ability to achieve your
  objective “over the resistance of another”
• Focuses on power over or against the other
            Integrative Power
• Power with the other
• Definition focuses on “both/and” – both
  parties have to achieve something in their
                Exercise #1
• Application 4.1, page 104
            Either/Or Power
• Contest of wills when you are in a “power
• The focus for a dispute becomes power – who
  has the right to move the other
• Power becomes the overriding relationship
• Getting more power becomes the overriding
  relationship issue
        Either/Or Power, cont.
• When we solve a dispute based on interests,
  the goals and desires of the parties are the
  key elements
• When power becomes the only personal goal,
  the dispute is harder to resolve
             Both/And Power
• Often the first choice of women in our culture
  – Boys learn to relate to power through games and
    competition more than girls do
  – Girls learn to play with less focus on hierarchy
  – For boys, conflict means competition, which often
    enhances relationships
  – For girls, competition is often painful and
    damages relationships
        Both/And Power, cont.
• The ability to develop relationally depends on
  – mutual empathy,
  – mutual empowerment,
  – responsibility to both oneself and others,
  – and the ability to experience and express emotion,
  – to experience and learn from vulnerability,
  – to participate in the development in the
    development of another,
  – and to enhance each other’s efforts
        Both/And Power, cont.
• Many effective forms of conflict resolution
  depend on a relational approach
• If competition remains the dominant approach,
  constructive conflict resolution is unlikely to
  occur, except temporarily
Application 4.2
           Designated Power
• Giving power to some other group or entity
             Power Denial
• Deny that you communicated something
• Deny that something was communicated
• Deny that you communicated something to
  the other person
• Deny the situation in which it was
• Whenever you communicate with another,
  what you say and do exercises some
  communicative control – you either go along
  with someone else’s definition, struggle over
  the definition, or supply it yourself
     Relational Theory of Power
• Power is a property of the social relationship
  rather than a quality of the individual
• Power is not owned by an individual but is a
  product of the communication relationship in
  which certain qualities become important and
  valuable to others
• Power is always interpersonal
• Power is given from one party to another in a
• Power is based on one’s dependence on
  resources or currencies that another person
  controls, or seems to possess
          Interpersonal Power
• Is the ability to influence a relational partner
  in any context because you control, or at least
  the partner perceives you control, resources
  that the partner needs, values, desires, or
• Includes the ability to resist influence
  attempts of a partner
              Power Currencies
•   R – Resource Control
•   I – Interpersonal Linkages
•   C – Communication Skills
•   E – Expertise
            Resource Control
• Leadership and position, by their very nature,
  place a person in a situation in which others
  are dependent upon him or her, thus bringing
        Interpersonal Linkages
• A set of currencies depend on your
  interpersonal contacts and network of friends
  and supporters
  – Coalition building
  – “Who you know . . .”
         Communication Skills
• Conflict management skills depend on a
  thorough grounding in communication skills
          Expertise Currencies
• When you have a particular skill or knowledge
           Power Currencies
• The most effective conflict participant
  develops several forms of power currencies
  and knows when to activate the different
  forms of power
              Application 4.5
• Think of a particular relationship which there
  is conflict
• List your own power resources
• List the other person’s power resources
• Any that are being overlooked or underused?
         Power Manifestations
• Feminine – safety and power needs are often
  met by becoming smaller and less visible
• Masculine – seeking safety is by becoming the
  feared individual, by becoming bigger and
  more visible
High Power vs. Low Power
              Powerlessness can
            • A goal that people
              strive for
              corrupt also
              Powerlessness can lead
            • May develop altered
              to giving up, aggression,
              views of themselves
              and others
              or violence
              Too much losing does
            • Might corrupt you
              not build character; it
               – Corruption means moral
              builds frustration,
                 rottenness and inability
                 to maintain the integrity
              aggression, or apathy
                 of self
• Each person stops directly interferring with
  the other and actively assists the other in
  getting what he or she wants
• Communication between the two originally in
  conflict serves as a transcendant function
             Balancing Power
• Face to face conversation is starting point for
  enacting the internal desire to balance power
• Page 134
    Power-Dependence Relations
• When two people elevate their dependence
  of each other, both increase their source of
     Power of Calm Persistence
• Substantive change, when power is unequal,
  seldom comes through intense, angry
         Low Power Strategies
• Speak up and present a balanced picture of
  strengths and weaknesses
• Make clear what one’s beliefs, values, and
  priorities are, and keep one’s behavior
  congruent with these
• Stay emotionally connected to significant
  others even when things get intense
• State differences, and allow others to do the
• Focuses the parties on the process of their
  communication with each other

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