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Conflict Managment

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Conflict Management ­HRM624
Lesson 24
Wounds inflicted by the sword heal more easily than those inflicted by the tongue.
Cardinal Richelieu (1585 - 1642) French churchman and statesman.
In this lecture we will study
That power is not merely about the ability to use physical force but works to understand human
That power exists in the personal, environmental, and relationship domains.
The coercive, reward, normative, referent, and expert power are different types of relationship power.
Referent and expert power will be discussed in detail in the next lecture.
Power may be defined as a deliberate or purposive influence. It is a kind of force to modify the behavior of
people, change the environment, or change physical or social conditions. In short, having a force to change
any thing can be defined as power.
Understanding power is essential to the study of interpersonal conflict, However, like interpersonal conflict
itself, our ideas about power have been distorted and made unduly narrow by the invisible veil.
Peacekeeping and feminist theorists coined the term equal power relationship to describe a situation in
which neither partner had a clear power over the other. Peacemaking is a form of conflict resolution which
focuses on establishing equal power that will be robust enough to forestall future conflict, and establishing
some means of agreeing on ethical decisions within a community that has previously had conflict. When
applied in criminal justice matters it is usually called transformative justice.
Power may be divided into two types such as
1. Formal Power
2. Informal Power
According to Peir & Meli (2003) Formal power in organisations is associated with hierarchy. Hierarchy is a
social shared structure, which implies that, in some depend areas, the spread of decision of a level is
explicitly restricted in favor of a higher level. Thus, the distribution of Formal power in a hierarchy is graded
and unequal. Formal power relationships between people of different levels are intrinsically asymmetrical
(not reciprocal).
Informal power is based on personal resources whose distribution is not necessarily related to the
hierarchical structure of the organization. It requires that the target accepts the influence of the agent and
allows the target to develop a feeling of control and empowerment (Goldberg & Campbell, 1997).
Formal power is exercised in a top-down manner. The superiors exert formal power on
Their subordinates while the opposite is not the case. Therefore, it can be expected that a power agent
holding a higher hierarchical position than that of the target will hold more formal power over the target
than peers or subordinates.
Conflict and Power
Power and conflict has complex relationships. Analyzing the differences between
Formal and Informal power can help to unravel some of these complexities.
For most people, the concepts of conflict and power are interconnected. The idea of conflict makes you see
two conflictive parties, each seeking to use powerful means to gain an advantage over the other.
Understanding power is necessary to diagnose interpersonal conflict. However, our understanding of power
is distorted and is taken as `narrow' due to the invisible veil or complexity of human systems.
Conflict Management ­HRM624
Uses of Power
We can easily understand the uses of power through these simple everyday life examples
·  A mother soothes her young infant with a gentle, enfolding embrace.
·  The members of a family whose home and town has been destroyed by an earthquake in Azad
Kashmir; rebuild their lives elsewhere.
·  A superstar athlete endorses a sports drink in a TV commercial.
·  A good teacher explains a difficult concept to a group of students.
·  A man finally is able to quit smoking for good.
·  A political party publishes its political manifesto on a web site or in newspapers.
·  A lawyer, who has been negotiating fruitlessly with opposing counsel to settle a dispute, Later he
files a suit for Rs5 million; a week later, opposing counsel calls with an offer to settle the dispute.
Domains of Power
When we talk about power, we may ask over what domain this deliberate or purposive influence is
exercised. There are three major domains:
1. Environmental domain ­ a person's surroundings
2. Relationship domain ­ a person's relationship to another person
3. Personal domain ­ a person's own interests
Personal and environmental power becomes more important when a disputant considers his or her
alternatives to a negotiated agreement.
Kinds of power in the Relationship Domain
Many types of relationship power are available to disputants and their teams. An effective conflict
diagnostician must think "outside the box" when it comes to considering the impact of power in a conflict.
1. Coercive Power
2. Reward/Exchange Power
3. Referrent Power
4. Normative Power
5. Expert Power
6. Ecological Power
1. Coercive Power
Coercive power is the type of power we are all mostly familiar with: the power to impose negative,
damaging, or unpleasant consequences on someone else. Coercive power includes the power to kill or injure
someone, to damage someone's property, to irritate someone, to create expensive outcomes, and so forth.
Coercive power often carries the greatest potential for immediate influence, particularly when the threat of
harm is severe. However, coercive power also damages the ability of the disputant wielding the power to use
other, more positive sources of influence later.
Hence, an over-reliance on coercive power actually disempowers the user, by denying him/her the ability to
exercise any other types of power. Such a phenomenon has occurred in the Middle East. The process of
engineering a lasting peace between the Israel and the Palestinian people has been seriously compromised
by the use of coercive power by both sides, with the Israeli government relying on institutional military and
police power and selected Palestinian groups using terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians.
2. Reward / Exchange Power
Reward/exchange power is the flip side of coercive power. Reward/exchange power is the ability to
influence people by offering them something they value. Thus, a father offering his daughter money or a
special treat in exchange for a good grade is exercising reward/exchange power. So, disputant who offers to
dismiss a law suit in exchange for a favorable settlement.
Conflict Management ­HRM624
Coercive a reward/exchange power go hand in hand. Often, disputants in a conflict engineer situations that
carry the threat of coercion, only to offer to withdraw the threat as a reward for a favorable outcome (as
with the disputant who offers to dismiss his or her lawsuit).
When reward/exchange power is wielded as threat withdrawal, it often creates the same problems that
coercive power does. Offering a child a bribe for cleaning room, for example, tends to work a few times,
but typically more and more money has to be offered to produce the same behavior.
Reward/exchange power is very effective when there is a rational basis for concluding that the amount and
type of reward is a just and fair exchange for items given up by the person being rewarded.
3. Referent Power
Referent power is the power, held by attractive, charismatic people, to persuade and influence others. It is
the power that drives the giant industry of celebrity product endorsement. For example, the hundreds of
millions of dollars paid to sports stars such as Tiger Woods, and rock stars such as Briteny spears to appear
with products as diverse as soft drinks, mutual funds are a testament to the immense power of personal
Of course, not everyone possesses referent power, and, of those who do, their appeal is not to every
audience. Thus, referent power must be used with some judiciousness. Also, referent power used in an
illegitimate manner not only fails to persuade but also can undermine the power of the referent.
4. Normative Power
Normative power is the power of moral rectitude. Being on the "right" side of a moral issue gives the user
the ability to convince others to serve the norm.
For example, if I am your supervisor and you come to me, arguing that an employee of the opposite gender,
of equal qualification and performance, is getting paid more than you, my commitment to gender equity is
likely to convince me to increase your salary.
Normatively powerful people tend to acquire a certain degree of referent power by virtue of their noble or
heroic positions with individuals or communities.
There are two sources of normative power, individual and group norms. If you try to convince someone to
comply with your wishes based on that person's individual moral stance on an issue, you are using an
individual-norm source of normative power.
But, to wield normative power it is not essential that the other disputant share the norm you are depending
on, only that a large and influential group of people do so.
Limits of Normative Power
There are two important limitations on the use of normative power.
First, an appeal to prevailing norms taken to an individual disputant who does not hold to them will fail if
the other disputant can rationalize that the norm is inapplicable. The Affirmative Action can be an example.
Second, obviously, the use of normative power will not be effective against an individual who holds to a
contrary norm, if he or she has a significant support group. Indeed, in such circumstances, the use of
normative power will only consolidate and harden the contrary group.
Power is a force to bring or induce change in anything. It is generally considered negative and in damaging
terms. But it has several positive dimensions. Power to influence others is the main domain under which
conflict is usually resolved. In other words, the domain of relationship remains the main interest regarding
conflict resolutions. However, other domains of power can greatly influence the process of conflict
Table of Contents:
  1. INTRODUCTION TO CONFLICT:Dispute, Legal Dispute, Call the police
  2. DISPUTE RESOLUTION 1:Positive affect in Negotiation, Alternative Dispute Resolution
  3. DISPUTE RESOLUTION II:Adjudication, Litigation, Mediation-Arbitration
  4. PRECONCEPTIONS ABOUT CONFLICT I:Pedagogical development, Pressures against Innovation
  5. PRECONCEPTIONS ABOUT CONFLICT II:Cultural beliefs about interpersonal conflict, Why strategies of change fail
  6. CONFLICT DIAGNOSIS:Who Needs to Know About Conflict Diagnosis?, Steps in Conflict Diagnosis
  7. RECURRENT THEMES IN CONFLICT DIAGNOSIS I:The Seven Steps of Social Behavior, Seven steps to diagnose conflict
  9. DESCRIBING THE CONFLICT I:Description of Conflict, Identifying Interpersonal Conflict
  10. DESCRIBING THE CONFLICT II:Step 1 for Conflict Diagnosis, interpersonal or intrapersonal
  11. SOURCES AND CAUSES OF CONFLICT I:Main Sources of Conflict, Discussing major sources of conflict
  13. INTEREST ANALYSIS I:Analyzing your interests, Analyzing the other disputant’s interests
  14. INTEREST ANALYSIS II:What are interests?, Tips for Interest Trees
  15. INTEREST ANALYSIS II:Principles and values, Basic Human Needs
  16. ASSESSING THE CHARACTER OF THE CONFLICT I, Premises of Deutsch’s Theory
  17. ASSESSING THE CHARACTER OF THE CONFLICT II:Techniques to transform competitive conflict into cooperative
  18. TRUST AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE I:What is Mistrust,Trust and business,Three levels of trust
  19. TRUST AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE II:Advantages of high trust level, Building of trust
  20. ASSESSING IMPEDIMENTS TO RESOLVE THE CONFLICT I:Motivation to seek vengeance, Mistrust
  21. ASSESSING THE IMPEDIMENTS TO RESOLVING THE CONFLICT II:Disempowered Disputant, Unpleasant Disputant
  22. ASSESSING THE NEGOTIATING STYLE I:Dual Concern Model, Dominating or competition style
  23. ASSESSING THE NEGOTIATING STYLE:Dual Concern Model, Tactics Used In Integrating
  24. ASSESSING POWER AMONG DISPUTANTS:Conflict and Power, Kinds of power in the Relationship Domain
  25. ASSESSING POWER AMONG DISPUTANTS II:Sources of Relationship Power, Context and Power
  26. POWER, CONFLICT, AND BATNA III:Role of Third Party in BATNA, Dealing with Power Imbalance
  27. STEREOTYPES, DIVERSITY, AND CONFLICT I:Stereotyping, Stereotyping in Interpersonal Conflict
  28. STEREOTYPES, DIVERSITY, AND CONFLICT:Categories of Diversity Issues, Seven Mental Processes to Prove Stereotypes
  29. STEREOTYPES, DIVERSITY AND CONFLICT III:Individual Difference and Social Category, Cultural differences in values
  30. MEDIATION I:When is mediation required, Processes Related to Mediation, Product of Mediation
  31. MEDIATION II:Important distinguishing factors, More Advantages and Disadvantages of Pure Mediation
  32. ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF MEDIATION I:Efficiency Consideration, Conflict Management and Prevention
  33. ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF MEDIATION II:Quality of Consent, Effects on the parties to mediation
  34. PROCESS OF MEDIATION:Stages of Mediation, Facilitative tactics in mediation
  35. LAW AND ETHICS OF MEDIATION I:Characteristics of mediation, Confidentiality
  36. LAW AND ETHICS OF MEDIATION II:Role of ethics in mediation, 8 Dimensions of Ethics in Mediation
  37. ARBITRATION I:Ways to Resolve Conflict, Advantages of Arbitration, Disadvantages of Arbitration
  38. ARBITRATION II:Varieties of Arbitration, Process of Arbitration, Contents of Arbitration Act
  39. NON BINDING EVALUATION:Disadvantage, Varieties of Non-binding Evaluation
  40. NON BINDING EVALUATION II:Varieties of Non-binding Evaluation, Advantages and disadvantages of Non-binding Evaluation
  41. MIXED AND MULTIMODAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION:Six System Design Principles, Extensions of Dispute Systems Design
  42. POWER TOOLS AND MAGIC KEYS I:Introduction, Necessity of conflict diagnosis, Using conflict diagnosis
  43. POWER TOOLS AND MAGIC KEYS II:Proposed Contents of a Clients’ Interview, Impediments to use facilitative mediation
  44. PANCHAYAT, LOCAL GOVERNMENT SYSTEM, AND ADR, Definitions of Panchayat, Definition of Jirga
  45. SUMMARY AND MESSAGE OF THE COURSE:Definitions of conflict, Negotiation, Meditation, Adjudication