Still reading through Managing with Power, and this line caught my attention:
Conflict is a form of deterrence. [...] Deterrence involves letting other people know that if they don't do what we want, the consequences will not be pleasant—and since many people dislike conflict, being willing to do battle, vigorously, with others over something we want provides a strong incentive for them to go along.
That felt so unseemly when I first read it—but with a touch of something else. What was it? Recognition, I think. There are people at work and otherwise who are able to get what they want fairly often because you have this "not another fight with this guy" thought when you know you have to pitch against them. They get handed wins via forfeits.
There's some threshold of disagreeableness that works (whatever "works" might mean, for good or ill). Too much, and someone puts you in a corner. Too little, and you're an easy target.