The conflict style that is often accompanied by threats is the competing conflict style. This is a conflict approach where the needs of an individual are greatly advocated for at the expense of the needs of others in a conflict (Chua & Gudykunst, 1987). Here, little regard is put on the needs of other people and therefore, the future relationship between the conflicting parties is given very little importance. Competing style always result to responses that tend to increase the level of threat and therefore, the future relationship is usually strained.
Power plays a very critical role in making threats. Power helps in amplifying the threats and making them more meaningful to the target person. When person offering threats is powerful, the person to whom the threats are directed always finds the threats very real and able to bring changes to his or her life. Threats are therefore more amplified when they are accompanied by power and less amplified and somewhat meaningless when they lack power (Lusch, 1976).
Of course there are situations where threats are appropriate in a conflict. Threats are normally appropriate whenever the conflicting parties seem not to be ready to come to an agreement and instead, every party is pulling to their sides (Gross & Guerrero, 2000). The mediator can offer threats to any of the party just to make them tone down and accept to come to terms and discuss the way forward towards resolving the conflict that might be existing. Such threats may include treats to place sanctions on one of the parties if that party does not tone down to enable discussion towards an agreement with the other conflicting party. In such as situation, threats are very vital.
Threats in a conflict increase the chances of severing the relationship between conflicting parties especially when the threats in a conflict are being offered by one of the conflicting parties. According to Limberg (2008), a threat in a conflict usually makes it very difficult for conflicting parties to come to an agreement and therefore, threats continues straining the relationship of the two parties. In fact, threats make two conflicting parties o become too hostile towards each other.
It is always very difficult to change a threat situation to a problem solving one in a conflict. However, I managed to change a threat situation one day when my two of my course mates wanted to fight over a debt. These two people had done some business together for a period of one month but one of them was trying to shortchange the other by keeping the profits for himself. Lucky enough, there was a written agreement between the two before the business began and this would have meant bad for the short changer had the issue reached the administration. Secondly, the business of selling sausages was not allowed in the campus. Therefore, this could also have led to suspension of the two. I brought them to a sitting and made them to see the risk and they decided to solve the problem amicably instead of fighting.
Chua E. G & Gudykunst W. B. (1987). Conflict resolution styles in low-and high-context cultures. Communication Research Reports.
Gross M. A. & Guerrero L. K. (2000). Managing conflict appropriately and effectively: An application of the competence model to Rahim's organizational conflict styles. International journal of conflict management, 11(3), 200-226.
Limberg H. (2008). Threats in conict talk: Impoliteness and manipulation. Impoliteness in language: Studies on its interplay with power in theory and practice, 21, 155.
Lusch R. F. (1976). Sources of power: their impact on intrachannel conflict. Journal of Marketing Research, 382-390.
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