OTPIC Officially Retired

As of December 2, 2005, the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict (OTPIC) has been officially retired, and is no longer open to new registrations.

The successor to OTPIC is a course called Dealing Constructively with Intractable Conflicts (DCIC). The new curriculum is built around one of our major projects, Beyond Intractability, and offers a much more extensive and informative set of learning materials than that available through OTPIC.

Power Faces

Paul Wehr


The use of threat (and actual force) can be minimized in conflict if participants remember that it is only one of three forms of social power, and not always the most influential one.  Kenneth Boulding (1989) speaks of power as having three faces; threat, exchange, and integration (ranging from love to mere tolerance). Threat has the most intensifying influence in conflict."If you do something bad to me, I will do something as bad or worse to you." Even nonviolent force is threatening; it is intended to make you do something involuntarily.  Contrastingly, exchange occurs when conflictants indicate that, "If you do something nice for me, I will reciprocate." Then, threat is replaced with trade. A power contest characterized by threat and force gives way to, say, negotiation. Further still from threat action is integrative power; "I will treat you nicely simply because you are a fellow human" or whatever.

Supporting literature: Kenneth Boulding , Three Faces of Power Beverly Hills CA: Sage, 1989.


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