COMM1500 Chapter 8: Managing Conflict & Power
Chapter 8 + lecture notes
Terms in this set (45)
Occurs when people perceive they have incompatible goals, scarce resources, or interference in achieving their objectives.
Your patterned response used in conflict
-Tactics are the moves used to carry out their general approach
-Styles describe the big picture, while tactics describe specific actions
**Having a strong style can be a disadvantage because people can predict what you will do.
Elaborate on how conflict begins with PERCEPTION
People perceive incompatible goals
-Perceptual errors shape how conflict unfolds
Elaborate on how conflict begins with CLASHES IN GOALS/BEHAVIORS
-Some conflicts resolve around incompatible goals
Elaborate on conflict as a PROCESS
A process that unfolds over time -- its course is determined by communication choices we make (influences everything our partner says/does)
-Stages involving decisions affecting conflict's direction and consequences
-Not a "one-time-only" event because how you handle a conflict may have consequences for future interactions/relationships.
Elaborate on how conflict is DYNAMIC
-Unfolds over a series of exchanged messages -- it is every-changing and unpredictable
-Focus shifts as conflict progresses
When "combatants" hurl insults and accusations at one another that have little to do with the original disagreement.
Conflicts in relationships (3 issues)
1. Irritating partner behaviors
2. Disagreements regarding relationships rules
3. Personality clashes
*Partners often develop constant patterns of communication for handling conflict
** "Your conflicts with loved ones are guaranteed to be intense and emotionally draining experiences"
Types of Conflict Styles (5)
Competitive (Characteristics of the Conflict-Style & When Good/Bad to Use)
-"I win, you lose"
-competition: an open and clear discussion of the goal clash that exists and the pursuit of one's own goals without regard for others' goals.
-motivated in part by negative thoughts and beliefs, along with a desire to control, willingness to hurt others in order to gain.
-Risk: ESCALATION: a dramatic rise in emotional intensity and increasingly negative and aggressive communication.
GOOD, when: -quick decision is necessary
-unpopular but necessary course of action
-Show you care (solution-oriented)
BAD, when: -You need commitment (worst way to get commitment from others, especially if applying for a team-oriented organization)
-Don't have power to back up your threats
Collaborative (Characteristics of Conflict-Style and when it's Good/Bad to Use)
-Treating conflict as a "mutual problem-solving challenge"
-1st, "attack problems, not people" (talk about it separately from the person); 2nd, focus on common interests and long-term goals; 3rd, create options before arriving at decision
-Highly cooperative/Highly assertive
-Win/win approach: by confronting the fight and working for an integrative solution
-Requires excellent communication skills: good listening, positive feedback, supportive climate
-Valued in organizations where teamwork is essential
-Good at slowing down emotions to solve problems
-Example tactics: Descriptive statements, Qualifying statements, Think-outside-the-box statements (not everything is in black/white)
GOOD, when: -when time and energy is available
-When relationship is important
BAD, when: -manipulative
-or if used too often (may annoy others, especially if an "in between" approach wasn't requested)
-issues are not open for collaboration
-used to avoid own responsibility
Compromising (Characteristics of Conflict-Style and when it's Good/Bad to use)
-Intermediate Assertive & Cooperation
-Expedient mutually acceptable solution
-Less depth and time-consuming than collaborative
-Give up more than competing, less than collaborative
GOOD, when: -some solution is better than stalemate
-2 parties have equal power
-Cooperating is important, but there's time pressure
BAD, when: -you really can't make concessions
-when trading/bargaining means you give up principles, long-term objectives
-creative solution is necessary
Avoidant (Characteristics of Conflict-Style and when it's Good/Bad to use)
-Low assertive/Low cooperative
-Ignoring the conflict
-Removing yourself physically and psychologically from a conflict
-Not instigating a conflict when you're upset
*Risk: 1. Cumulative Annoyance: When repressed irritation grows as the mental list of grievances we have against our partner builds, eventually leading to "explosion" of emotion.
2. Pseudo-conflict: Perception that a conflict exists when in face it doesn't.
GOOD, when: -the timing is wrong for a fight
-you need more information
-the system does not reward conflict
-people don't want to invest the energy
-issue is trivial (doesn't matter)
-low power but want to block the other
BAD, when: -Issues are important (to you, or the interacting person)
-Issues won't go away without someone being proactive in making them disappear
Common forms of Avoidance: Sniping, Skirting, Gunnysacking [[See another card for definition]]
Type of avoidance: when a person avoids a conflict by changing the topic or joking about it; "skirting around" the issue
Type of avoidance: communication in a negative fashion and then abandoning the encounter by physically leaving the scene or refusing to interact further
Type of avoidance: Saving grievances until one's limit is reached, then dumping them on someone all at once.
Accommodation (Characteristics of Conflict-style and when Good/Bad to use)
-When one person abandons his/her own goals/intentions to make the other person happy
-Low assertive/High cooperative
-Doing what the other person wants
GOOD, when: -You don't care about the issue
-No wish to block the other person
BAD, when: -you do it so frequently that you eventually harbor resentment toward the opposing party
-Habitually used to gain acceptance
-Others wish to collaborate with you
Reactive (Separate type of Conflict-Style)
Characterized by accusations of mistrust, yelling, crying, becoming verbally/physically abusive
-non-strategic & related to a "lack of respect"
-Change conflict communications type based on the demands of situations
-Adaptable: adapts to the communication and the situation (ex- "I can be competitive with you, then accommodate another time, then perhaps collaborate with another group")
-Deals well with ambiguity (critical)
-Often think about larger picture before they speak
-Highly competent communicators
Sequences of Conflict Styles (4)
If primary conflict-style doesn't work, what is your back up?
1. Avoidant --> Competitive
(Avoidant people sometimes don't have the skills for other styles)
2. Collaborative --> Avoidant
(If can't collaborate, won't bother anymore -- "I can't")
3. Competitive --> Compromise
(If can't win, will try to think of a compromised solution)
4. Accommodative --> Compromise
(If can't accommodate to situation (person won't let them give too much) then, will GIVE)
Avoidant Tactics (11) [3 sub-categories]
1. Direct Denial: deny presence of conflict
2. Implicit Denial: imply denial providing rationale for denial
3. Evasive remarks: Failure to acknowledge or deny the presence of a conflict following a statement or inquiry about conflict (ex- "I could see how others may hate that, but I don't know."
4. Gunny-sacking: avoiding until explode on someone
B) Topic Management
5. Topic Shift: changing subject before conversed fully
6. Topic Avoidance: Explicitly terminate issue discussion OR don't bring up topic to begin with
C) Noncommittal Remarks
7. Noncommittal Statements: Can neither confirm nor dent presence of conflict
8. Noncommittal Questions: Questions that don't commit a person, are unfocused, and are conflict-irrelevant
9. Abstract remarks: generalizations that aren't evasive
10. Procedural remarks: statements that supplant discussion of conflict (ex- "You're not speaking loudly enough.")
D) Irreverent Remarks
11. Friendly Joking
Competitive Tactics (8) [1 sub-category]
A. Confrontative Remarks
1. Personal Criticism: Directly criticizing characteristics/behaviors of partner
2. Rejection: Imply personal antagonism toward partner and/or disagreement
3. Hostile Imperatives: Demands, Arguments, other prescriptive statements that implicitly blame partner and seek change in behaviors
4. Hostile Jokes: Joking, teasing, sarcasm at expense of partner w/ hostile intonation
5. Hostile Questions: Directive/leading questions blaming the partner
6. Presumptive Remarks: Statements attributing thoughts, feelings, motivations to partner that the partner doesn't acknowledge.
7. Denial of Responsibility: Statements minimizing/denying personal responsibilities
8. Contempt/Disgust: Communicated by use of terms such as "fed up" or "sickened"
Collaborative Tactics (7) [3 Sub-categories]
A. Analytic Remarks
1. Descriptive Statements: Non-evaluative statements about observable events (ex- "I criticized you yesterday for getting angry with the kids.")
2. Qualifying Statements: Statements explicitly qualifying nature/extent of issue ("Comm. is a problem when you're tired.")
3. Soliciting Disclosure: Non-hostile questions about events related to conflict that can't be observed ("What were you thinking when you said...")
B. Conciliatory Remarks
4. Acceptance of Responsibility: Attributing conflict responsibility to self or both parties
5. Acknowledgement of severity: knowing gravity/importance of issue/need to solve
C. Creative Remarks
6. Thinking outside the Box: Comments generating new solutions
7. Brainstorming: Encouraging statements to get participants to generate quantity of ideas w/o judgments
Compromising Tactics (7) [3 sub-categories]
A. Analytic Remarks
1. Descriptive Statements: Non-evaluative statements about observable events ("I get mad when...")
2. Soliciting Disclosure: Non-hostile questioning about events that can't be observed ("Why are you mad?"
3. Disclosive Statements: Non-evaluative statements about events related to conflict which partner can't observe ("I had a frustrating day yesterday.")
B. Negotiating Remarks
4. Concessions: Statements expressing willingness to change, show flexibility
5. Meeting Halfway: Express a willingness to give something if other person gives equally
6. Compromise: Willingness to cooperate. Strategies that create partial satisfaction.
7. Temporary Solutions: Emphasize "here and now," rather than permanent fixes.
Accommodating Tactics (6) [2 sub-categories]
A. Analytic Remarks
1. Soliciting Disclosure: Non-hostile questions about events that can't be observed
2. Soliciting Criticism: Non-hostile questions soliciting criticism of oneself ("Does it bother you when I stay up so late?"
3. Descriptive Statements: Non-evaluative statements about observable events related to conflict
B. Conciliatory Remarks
4. Concessions: Statements expressing willingness to change
5. Supportive remarks: Statements referring understand, support, positive regards for the partner
6. Playing down differences: Statements alleviating conflict minimizing it; similarities for other person's sake
The ability to which one can influence/control people/events (interpersonal power-relationship)
Characteristics of Power (4)
(1) Present in all MEANINGFUL social interactions:
-Symmetrical Relationships: power is balanced
-Complementary Relationships: power is imbalanced
*typically unaware of power until people violate our expectation for power balance in relationship
(2) Ethical/Unethical: -In healthy relationships, power is complementary -- One person may have more control over resources and more influence on decision-making, but uses that power to benefit both people and the relationships
-Unethical use if person in power recklessly wields his/her power
(3) Not innate: -Power is granted by individuals/groups who allow another person to exert influence over them.
(4) Goes hand-in-hand (influences) conflict:
-Power struggles exist when you "strip away" what someone said/did during conflict
-People struggle to see whose goals prevail; rarely lead to mutually beneficial solutions.
Power Currency (Definition)
A Resource/Skill valued by others, giving influence over others who value/need it (vice-versa if another individual has resources you view valuable -- you will grant power over him/her).
Types of Power Currencies (5)
Acronym to remember: P.R.I.C.E.
(1) Personal: Personal characteristics others fine desirable (i.e.- beauty, humor)
(2)Resource Control: materialistic needs, stem from formal position
(3)Interpersonal Linkages: Position in larger system -- who are you connected to? (social network)
(4)Communication skills: Intimacy currency, conversation, group project, effective, competent
(5)Expertise: Special skills/knowledge, talents (specialty).
[Power in Relationships] Dyadic Power Theory
-->Examines content of interactions (What people say, do you use threats?...)
Dominant/Sub behavior in submissive relationships assumes: power is integral part of the relationship; relative perceive power
What does the Dyadic Power Theory assume?
1. Power is integral in an relationship
2. People make judgments about how much power they have in relation to partner
3. Perception of power increase the likelihood of using dominant behavior as a way to control interaction
4. According to Dunbar, people with moderate power, show a higher likelihood of using controlling communication (People with high power are less likely to display it bc they know their wishes/desires will be listened to)
-Partners who perceive relative power diff. as high, will use fewer control attempts because they don't need to since believe their desires will be listened to
5. DOMINANCE refers to interaction patterns in which one actor's assertion of control is met by acquiescence from another (use of control strategies CURVILINEARLY)
What is Power exerted through?
Insults, threats, deception, violence, more arguments, absolute statements ("I am completely in the right")
-Composed/relaxed facial expressions & more eye gaze, especially while speaking
-Confident and poised posture, purposeful body movement, greater body relaxation/open posture, less smiling/fewer hesitations
-Occurs when individuals stop discussing relationship issues out of fear of their partner's negative reactions
- a lot in work: competitors and compromisers have this reaction most
-low power individuals are unlikely to express grievances if they fear that retaliation, violence, termination of relationship will result
i.e.- a battered wide may not openly disagree with husband or subordinate may lie to superior in fear of reprisal --> creates a situation where others tend to lie to you.
[Power in Relationships] Relational Theory of Power
-->Examines the form interactions take
Power is a property of the social relationship, rather than the quality individual. Power Dynamic is fluid, qualities important in communication.
[Relational Control Theory] Exerting Dominance and Control (+type of message)
1. Exerting Dominance and control: a one-up message (argument)-- "Give me your money"
2. Exerting Deference/Acceptance: a one-down message (compliance)-- "okay"
3. Exerting Neutrality: a one-across message
(A: Will you do the groceries? B: Okay, Okay...have you seen that advertisement?)
[Relational Control Theory] TRANSACT (+type of messages)
A pair of utterances
(1)SYMMETRICAL: one-up and one-down
a) Competitive Symmetry: Two people repeatedly use 1-up moves
b) Submissive Symmetry: Two people repeatedly use 1-down moves **Popular in early relationships
(A:Where do you think we should go?
B: Wherever you want.)
c) Neutral Symmetry (typical daily interaction): Two people exchange 1-across messages
(A: I liked that movie.
B: Yeah, it was pretty good.)
(2) COMPLEMENTARY: 1-up & 1-down, 1-up & 1-across, 1-down & 1-across
[Relative Control Theory] TOPIC TRANSITION (+ message)
-A one-up and one-down message is paired with one-across message
A: Hey, let's talk about chores soon (1-A)
B: Before I forget, Julie called and wants you to call her back ASAP (1-A)
A: We need to talk about the chores now. (1-U)
B: Fine, but before I forget, Julie called, said it was important, and wants you to call her back ASAP (1-A)
Relational Control Theory FINDINGS
1. wives 1-up > husbands 1-up: both husband and wife have less relational satisfaction
2. husband 1-ups > wife 1-ups: correlates with husbands involvement in marriage; doesn't predict wife's satisfaction/involvement
3. distressed marriages: -we see a lot of competitive symmetry
-when husband dominates, spousal abuse is 3x more likely than if woman dominated, and 8x more likely than egalitarian marriages
-A spouse who one-ups frequently believes he/she knows spouse best and vice-versa, when in reality those couples know each other least.
Short-term Conflict Resolutions (5)
1. Separation: Sudden withdrawal of one person from the encounter -- characteristic of approaching conflict through avoidance (ex- getting up and leaving)
-Can be positive: temporary sep. may give both partners time to "cool off"
2. Domination: Occurs when one person gets his/her way by influencing the other to engage in accommodation and abandon goals (win-lose situations)
3. Compromise: Both parties change goals to make them compatible --> often, both people abandon part of original desires and neither feel happy about it.
4. Integrative Agreement: 2 sides preserve and attain goals by developing a creative solution to a problem
-both must be committed to individual goals, but flexible in how they're attained (win-win situation)
5. Structural Improvements: People agreeing to change basic rules/understandings that govern relationships to prevent further conflict
-Conflict becomes "vehicle" for reshaping the relationship in Positive ways (rebalancing power/redefining expectations about relationship roles)
Series of unresolved disputes all having to do with the same issue
-can result in highly problematic exchanges: Escalation, Demand-withdrawal pattern (like talking to a wall), Avoidance
Unable to stop because of:
-Fundamental Attribution Theory
-Arousal: under conditions of extreme arousal you follow old scrips (conflict avoidant people get so anxious under conflict that they just repeat verbal habits
-Difficult to do new things when you're scared/mad
Fundamental Attribution Theory
Attribute problems to the other person and attribute attempts to solve problems to yourself
-Part of effectively managing conflict is accepting that some conflicts are impossible to resolve, no matter how much fixing is put into it.
Individuals selectively remember information that supports themselves and contradicts partner's -- view own comm. more positively and stifles likelihood of collaborating -- studies show during conflict people don't perspective-take and ignore long-term results
-Sudden death statements: declare relationship is over because of sudden rage, even if there was no potential of breaking up before conflict
-Dirty secrets: hidden messages kept hidden to protect partner's feelings
*can destroy relationships