Communication & Conflict Essay

1577 Words Jul 26th, 2012 7 Pages
CM310:Communication & Conflict Final Project

Communication & Conflict Final Project

The Nature of Power in Conflict:

Power can be defined in many ways. Most simply, it is the ability to get what you want.
Power is a fundamental concept in any conflict. The nature of that power can depend upon how the power is distributed, how it is viewed, and how it is used. There can be power struggles between those that feel very powerful and those that feel that they have little to no power. The different individual perceptions of power within a conflict can affect communication.
Power can be distributed in three distinct ways: distributive, designated, and integrated (Wilmot and Hocker, 2007).
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In conflict we often make the mistake of using our power to focus on the relationship or on the issue/ outcome we desire. The result is that we often attain one at the expense of the other. Our power may enable us to achieve our goal but damage or destroy the relationship. Alternatively, we may sustain the relationship at the expense of our needs or desired outcome. The ideal may be maintaining a healthy relationship while at the same time achieving our goal, but this requires a subtle and complex use of different kinds of power or perhaps not using the power at our disposal. This requires wisdom, self control and self discipline as well as skilled interpersonal behavior.

Nor can effective use of power be reduced to wise control of our personal powers, though that may be a good start. Social power, including our own, is concentrated, channelled, and distributed by the culture and structure of our families, communities, organizations, countries, etc. Personal power is limited or extended by such cultures and structures.

We have to contend, in the exercise of our personal power, with the influences of such power-channels in our environments and how they add to, limit or distort our exercise of power - e.g. hierarchies, coalitions,