Techniques for domination

Every now and then a couple of persons can dominate a meeting using various methods of manipulation.

A Norwegian professor of social psychology, Berit Ås, has identified five techniques for domination that are used by men to assert themselves in relation to female colleagues, but these discriminatory practises can be directed against anyone, regardless of their gender:

  • invisibilise: silence or marginalise opponents by ignoring them
  • ridicule: using a striking but irrelevant likeness or other manipulative technique to make a person or their argument seem fatuous and unimportant. Another method is to comment on someone’s appearance in public
  • withhold information: for example, pass on information to an inner circle without telling all those concerned. In may cases this is not done deliberately
  • punishment either way: putting people in a situation in which they will be belittled and penalised whichever alternative they choose
  • blaming and shaming: getting people to be ashamed of themselves or suggesting that they are to blame for something that has happened to them. Often combined with ridicule and punishment either way

Simply identifying and naming the occurrence of one of these techniques for domination in a round may be enough to put an end to discrimination and re-establish the principle of Equal consideration in the group.

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Posted in Method Bank, Methods