I need to write a assignment on power plays in communication.  It needs to be about how someone used a power play on me and then how I used a power play on someone else.  This is for...

I need to write a assignment on power plays in communication.  It needs to be about how someone used a power play on me and then how I used a power play on someone else.  This is for Communication 120.

Asked on by cooterk

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In the field of communication, the term “power play” can be used to refer to a type of interpersonal communication in which one partner in the communication attempts to exert power over the other partner or partners.  In normal communication each partner is simply trying to understand and be understood by the other partner.  They have no ulterior motives for their communications and are being transparent about their intentions.  Power plays, by contrast, occur when one partner is trying to, in essence, push the other partner around.  Since we cannot know about your personal circumstances, we cannot know how you have had a power play used on you or how you have used a power play on another.  All we can do is to discuss power plays with you and point out instances in which you might have been on one end or the other of a power play.

Power plays can often happen in romantic relationships.  People will try to manipulate their significant others rather than communicating with them openly and honestly.  For example, let us imagine that a young man and woman are in a relationship and the man wants to go out with his friends instead of spending the evening with his girlfriend.  He might feel guilty about this desire and might use a power play to try to push his girlfriend into letting him go.  He might even try to get her to feel that she has been acting wrongly in their relationship so that she (instead of he) will feel guilt.  He might say something like “I really dislike how you are always bugging me to spend more time with you.”  He really doesn’t think she does this, but if he can make her feel like she is selfish and demanding, he can manipulate her into feeling that she needs to let him go out with his friends. 

Power plays can also happen between parents and children.  Parents might try to shame children into doing something rather than communicating with them about what they want done and why they want it.  Children will often try to make their parents feel guilty and tyrannical.  In both cases, the person who is engaging in the power play is afraid that they cannot get what they want by reasoning and engaging in authentic communication.  Instead, they engage in power plays in an attempt to bully the other into doing what they want.

Depending on what class you are taking, you may be able to discuss both physical and psychological power plays.  Psychological power plays are like those discussed above.  Physical power plays are different.  They can involve things like looming over the person you are trying to influence (like a parent getting in a child’s face).  They can involve using your voice to intimidate the other person.  These are also ways in which people can try to exert power over others in interpersonal communications.

Try to think about your relations with others.  Try to think about cases in which any of the things mentioned above might have happened to you or in which you might have done some of these things.

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cooterk's profile pic

cooterk | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

Could you come up with a power play that was used on me say by a former boyfriend and then where I did the same thing to another boyfriend

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