Power can be defined as the comparative ability of different individuals to pressure each other, and it has an essential role in advocacy. Aiding professionals usually work for the disadvantaged in the community and for them to advance their apprehensions; the activity of helping these professionals requires one to know how to influence the balance of power that exists between groups and individuals involved in a conflict. Professionals conversant with the structural theories and systems can make use of these theories to aid their power analysis and analysis of influences that individuals impose on others. This paper analyzes these means of analyzing power based on ten power sources, which include associations, expertise, resources possession, procedure control, sanctions, legitimacy, nuisance, habit, personal attributes, and morality. The paper will correctly put its focus on two of these powers; resource power and good power. In specific terms, these powers are; expert power, associational power, resource power, procedural power, legitimate power, sanction power, nuisance power, mechanical power, moral power, and personal power.
Resource power is the kind of energy that results from control of assets that are valuable, such as materials, money, or any other services and goods. The inverse version of this power is when an individual can live without these needed resources or make others do without them. Generally, this kind of power is useful in solving conflicts through the exchange of goods or resources or through refusing to exchange these resources. In many cases, clients are usually at a disadvantage when they rely on resource power. However, if a conflict occurs at a social agency, then it is generally at an advantageous situation since it can access more resources in terms of professionals and money. Advocates can be of help to clients if they guide them on ways of securing assets from, for example, sources like social assistance benefits funds for legal aids, among others. Additionally, professionals such as lawyers, educators, and other professionals might be of help if they offer to donate their time to the clients. Another way clients can be helped to solve conflicts is to avail technology or enhance their access to technology. In most cases, it is people with money who have more access to technology than other individuals. Advocates, for example, can achieve this by promoting better access to equipment and education in libraries, schools, and other institutions. Advocates can also campaign for and improve higher levels of literacy. Advocates can also enhance advocate power by promoting or assisting with other exchange of resources. Some individuals might not have money for exchange but might have other resources. Advocates can make it possible for clients to exchange goods they have for those they do not have and need.
This is another form of power that results from appeals to values that are widely held like charity, family, privacy, freedom, democracy, and fairness. Advocates can finesse this kind of power by using language that puts their cause in a better, positive light. Moral power forces individuals to make decisions on the bases of interests and values other than positions. However, positional bargaining usually results with each claiming moral superiority. Based on this kind of power, advocates can help clients solve conflicts by assisting them to focus on shared values. Putting the values of another in a bad light is unethical and goes against respect for diverse groups and individuals. Victim mentality is one way most people plead to gain support and sympathy. However, this technique can be damaging, ultimately. This is because when people consider themselves victims, they never take any responsibility for bettering themselves. They become depended on mistrust and fear, and they are unable to recognize effective CR techniques. These people might need the help of advocates who can do so by validating their worries, but at the same time, help them gain more self- efficacy, and confidence. By assisting clients to achieve these goals, the advocate helps victims take responsibility for their lives and better themselves by moving on with their lives. Advocates can also help such victims gain good power by giving them support and encouragement to act in ethical ways, like solving issues in ways that are non- violent.
These powers can be extremely beneficial in helping individuals solve conflicts morally and with resources that they can afford. Utilizing these powers can be a constructive way of resolving disputes.
Barsky, A. E. (2007). Conflict resolution for the helping professions (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.
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