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University of Toronto Scarborough
Concurrent Teacher Education
Colette Granger

February 13 – class 6: Power dynamics in conflict resolution – looking at bullying How does power work in the bullying situation? Who holds the power? Can the dynamics of power change? Can teachers be victims of bullying? What role does the individual teacher have in this work? What is the role of the school as a whole? Can institutions be bullies? Reading: Exploring the dynamics of power in conflict resolution (Koch); and Bystanding: The forgotten causal factor in violence (Twemlow & Sacco); Case 19 (Portelli). Film: Eye of the storm. Due: Assignment from discussion café 1 READINGS: Exploring the Dynamics of Power in Conflicts Resolution – Susan J. Koch  Importance of power is to know who has it, who does not, and how it affects conflict resolution processes o Important for conflict resolution educators, negotiators, and mediators Actions to reduce the potential negative effects of power on the conflict resolution process 1) Understanding the Power in Conflict  power is often equated with coercion, injustice and force  power is usually negative and often involves one individual’s dominating another  Hocker and Wilmot (1991)  power with others  This view allows an opportunity for growth o Power is present in all interactions o Power is neither positive nor negative; it just is o Power is the product of interpersonal relationships, not of the individuals involved in them o People attempt to balance power, either productively or destructively. o Productive power balancing can occur by expanding the sources of power. o A relative balance of power is necessary for productive conflict management  Power is not only causing damage, but ability to influence the decisions of others – in ways that are positive for both parties (win-win approach) 2) Source of Power  often only the ore obvious sources of power (money, physically larger, special expertise) are recognized but every individual involved in a conflict has power  conflict resolution educators should be able to recognize all the sources of power and holders of power in a given conflict situation  a source of power becomes “real” power only if others in the same conflict view that source as valuable  power is a product of social relationships. Pwer cannot exist unless someone places a value on a particular attribute  Classified Sources of Power: o Formal authority: formal position  Ex. public office, role of parents, administrative position in a school o Expertise or information-based power: expertise in a particular area or from possessing information that others do not have o Power dynamics in conflict resolution- looking at bullying Exploring the dynamics of power in conflict resolution Power is often equated with coercion, injustice and force Can have the ability to influence the decisions of others It is not an attribute that people possess, but instead cannot exist unless someone places a value on a specific thing Product of social relationships In a conflict it is important to identify the all the sources of power Relative balance of power is necessary for productive conflict resolutions Without the recognition of power balance- progress towards a solution is difficult People with higher power become corrupt, isolates and self centered People who feel powerless become apathetic,
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