Power as a Source of Conflict

Topics: Knowledge, Human rights, Human Pages: 4 (1428 words) Published: March 15, 2011

Power is a measure of an entity's ability to control its environment, including the behavior of other entities. The term authority is often used for power, perceived as legitimate by the social structure. Power can be seen as evil or unjust, but the exercise of power is accepted as important to humans as social beings. In the corporate environment, power is often expressed as upward or downward. With downward power, a superior influences subordinates. When a system experiences upward power, it is the subordinates who influence the decisions of the leader (Greiner & Schein, 1988). Power is broadly defined as "the capacity to bring about change." It takes many forms, comes from many places, and is measured in many ways. WHAT IS CONFLICT?

An open clash between two opposing groups (or individuals); "the harder the conflict the more glorious the triumph" Conflict is actual or perceived opposition of needs, values and interests. A conflict can be internal (within oneself) and external (between two opposing parties). A conflict can also be defined as a struggle to resist or overcome; contest of opposing forces or powers; strife; battle. A state or condition of opposition; antagonism; discord. A painful tension set up by a clash between opposed and contradictory impulses. TYPES OF POWER (AS PER CHANGING MINDS .ORG)

If I own something then I can also use it in any way I like. If I own a chair I can set fire to it, which I couldn't do if I had borrowed it from you. If I own money, I can spend it any way I choose. Access control

Another form of ownership is where you are the gatekeeper to something that is desired. Bouncers at night clubs and company receptionists are gatekeepers to entire organizations. Personal assistants control access to the managers they serve. Librarians control access to knowledge.

Knowledge is power, as they say. If I know something, then I can use it to my advantage....

References: World Wide Web
Peter T. Coleman. "Power and Conflict." Morton Deutsch and Peter T. Coleman, eds., The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice San Francisco: Jossey-Bas Publishers, 2000, pp. 108-130.
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