Chapter Three

Power and Conflict

Note: Parts of this chapter are adapted from B. Mayer, “The Dynamics of Power in Mediation and Conflict Resolution,” Mediation Quarterly, Summer 1987 (16), pp. 75–86.

Power is the currency of conflict. Whether its exercise is intentional or not, when we are engaged in conflict our power is in play. The choice in conflict is not whether to use power but how to use it and how to respond to the inevitable use of power by others. Power can be used intentionally or unconsciously, collaboratively or coercively, obviously or implicitly, constructively or destructively. When we try to meet our needs in the face of resistance or opposition, we are exercising power. When we try to persuade others to change their behavior ...

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