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Power: The Structure of Conflict

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1 Power: The Structure of Conflict
Chapter 4

2 What is Power? Power is a fundamental concept in conflict theory
Power is seen as Designated (power given by your position) Distributive (either/or power) Integrative (both/and power)

3 Designated Power Comes from your position, such as being a manager, the mother or father of a family, or the leader of a team

4 Distributive Power Comes from your ability to achieve your objective “over the resistance of another” Focuses on power over or against the other party

5 Integrative Power Power with the other
Definition focuses on “both/and” – both parties have to achieve something in their relationship

6 Exercise #1 Application 4.1, page 104

7 Either/Or Power Contest of wills when you are in a “power struggle”
The focus for a dispute becomes power – who has the right to move the other Power becomes the overriding relationship concern Getting more power becomes the overriding relationship issue

8 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

9 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

10 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

11 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

12 Application 4.2

13 Designated Power Giving power to some other group or entity

14 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 communicated

15 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

16 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 conflict

17 Power is based on one’s dependence on resources or currencies that another person controls, or seems to possess

18 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 fears Includes the ability to resist influence attempts of a partner

19 Power Currencies R – Resource Control I – Interpersonal Linkages
C – Communication Skills E – Expertise

20 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 power

21 Interpersonal Linkages
A set of currencies depend on your interpersonal contacts and network of friends and supporters Coalition building “Who you know . . .”

22 Communication Skills Conflict management skills depend on a thorough grounding in communication skills

23 Expertise Currencies When you have a particular skill or knowledge

24 Power Currencies The most effective conflict participant develops several forms of power currencies and knows when to activate the different forms of power

25 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?

26 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

27 High Power vs. Low Power A goal that people strive for
May develop altered views of themselves and others Might corrupt you Corruption means moral rottenness and inability to maintain the integrity of self Powerlessness can corrupt also Powerlessness can lead to giving up, aggression, or violence Too much losing does not build character; it builds frustration, aggression, or apathy

28 Collaboration 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

29 Balancing Power Face to face conversation is starting point for enacting the internal desire to balance power Page 134

30 Power-Dependence Relations
When two people elevate their dependence of each other, both increase their source of power

31 Power of Calm Persistence
Substantive change, when power is unequal, seldom comes through intense, angry confrontation

32 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 same

33 Metacommunication Focuses the parties on the process of their communication with each other


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