What Does Adversarial Communication Mean?


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Shane Richardson Profile
Adversarial communication is basically when people discuss ideas and one person's idea is eventually pushed through. This can be quite a hostile process as normally there are two ideas on the table, with both participants very keen on their idea. It is nearly a case of who can best bully the other person into eventually giving in by trying to point out flaws in their idea.

There are certainly both advantages and disadvantages to adversarial communication.

  • It is a quick way of pushing through a point or idea
  • It can expose weaknesses in proposed views or ideas
  • It can be used to get your own way

  • It can lead to an aggressive and hostile form of communication
  • It can lower the morale of the person who feels they are being forced to agree
  • If nobody backs down then it can take forever to sort anything
Adversarial communication is used in business to try and get things done as quick as possible. It is a little like a dictatorship pretending to be a democracy, as it usually ends up with the person in charge having their view approved.

It is sometimes a necessary way to communicate but should only be used when really needed as it can severely affect relationships and the morale of some staff members.

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