In social science and politics, power is the capacity of an individual to influence the conduct . Partners in close and satisfying relationships often influence each other at different times in various arenas. Power as One rational choice definition of power is given by Keith Dowding in his book Power. In rational choice theory. A good example of a Power Relationship is like that of the Rat in a Box and the Experimenter. The rat has to behave in the way that the Scientist/Experimenter. power relationships definition, meaning, English dictionary, synonym, see also ' power',air power',atomic power',Black Power', Reverso dictionary, English.
It includes the ability to demote or to withhold other rewards. The desire for valued rewards or the fear of having them withheld that ensures the obedience of those under power. Coercive power tends to be the most obvious but least effective form of power as it builds resentment and resistance from the people who experience it.
Threats and punishment are common tools of coercion. Implying or threatening that someone will be fired, demoted, denied privileges, or given undesirable assignments — these are characteristics of using coercive power. Extensive use of coercive power is rarely appropriate in an organizational setting, and relying on these forms of power alone will result in a very cold, impoverished style of leadership. This is a type of power is commonly seen in fashion industry by coupling with legitimate power, it is referred in the industry specific literature's as "glamorization of structural domination and exploitation.
Guerrero and Peter A. Andersen in "Close encounters: Power is a perception in a sense that some people can have objective power, but still have trouble influencing others.
People who use power cues and act powerfully and proactively tend to be perceived as powerful by others. Some people become influential even though they don't overtly use powerful behavior. Power as a Relational Concept: Power exists in relationships.
The issue here is often how much relative power a person has in comparison to one's partner. Partners in close and satisfying relationships often influence each other at different times in various arenas. Power as Resource Based: Power usually represents a struggle over resources. The more scarce and valued resources are, the more intense and protracted are power struggles.
The scarcity hypothesis indicates that people have the most power when the resources they possess are hard to come by or are in high demand. However, scarce resource leads to power only if it's valued within a relationship. The person with less to lose has greater power in the relationship.
Power (social and political) - Wikipedia
Dependence power indicates that those who are dependent on their relationship or partner are less powerful, especially if they know their partner is uncommitted and might leave them. According to interdependence theory, quality of alternatives refers to the types of relationships and opportunities people could have if they were not in their current relationship. The principle of least interest suggests that if a difference exists in the intensity of positive feelings between partners, the partner who feels the most positive is at a power disadvantage.
There's an inverse relationship between interest in relationship and the degree of relational power. Power as Enabling or Disabling: Power can be enabling or disabling. Research[ citation needed ] has been shown that people are more likely to have an enduring influence on others when they engage in dominant behavior that reflects social skill rather than intimidation. People who communicate through self-confidence and expressive, composed behavior tend to be successful in achieving their goals and maintaining good relationships.Voltage, Current and Power explained
Power can be disabling when it leads to destructive patterns of communication. This can lead to the chilling effect where the less powerful person often hesitates to communicate dissatisfaction, and the demand withdrawal pattern which is when one person makes demands and the other becomes defensive and withdraws mawasha, Both effects have negative consequences for relational satisfaction.
Power as a Prerogative: The prerogative principle states that the partner with more power can make and break the rules. Powerful people can violate norms, break relational rules, and manage interactions without as much penalty as powerless people. These actions may reinforce the powerful person's dependence power. In addition, the more powerful person has the prerogative to manage both verbal and nonverbal interactions.
They can initiate conversations, change topics, interrupt others, initiate touch, and end discussions more easily than less powerful people. See expressions of dominance. Rational choice framework[ edit ] Game theorywith its foundations in the Walrasian theory of rational choiceis increasingly used in various disciplines to help analyze power relationships.
One rational choice definition of power is given by Keith Dowding in his book Power. In rational choice theory, human individuals or groups can be modelled as 'actors' who choose from a 'choice set' of possible actions in order to try to achieve desired outcomes. An actor's 'incentive structure' comprises its beliefs about the costs associated with different actions in the choice set, and the likelihoods that different actions will lead to desired outcomes.
In this setting we can differentiate between: This framework can be used to model a wide range of social interactions where actors have the ability to exert power over others. For example, a 'powerful' actor can take options away from another's choice set; can change the relative costs of actions; can change the likelihood that a given action will lead to a given outcome; or might simply change the other's beliefs about its incentive structure. As with other models of power, this framework is neutral as to the use of 'coercion'.
Cultural hegemony[ edit ] In the Marxist tradition, the Italian writer Antonio Gramsci elaborated the role of ideology in creating a cultural hegemonywhich becomes a means of bolstering the power of capitalism and of the nation-state. The back end, the beast, represented the more classic, material image of power, power through coercion, through brute force, be it physical or economic.
But the capitalist hegemony, he argued, depended even more strongly on the front end, the human face, which projected power through 'consent'. In Russia, this power was lacking, allowing for a revolution. However, in Western Europe, specifically in Italycapitalism had succeeded in exercising consensual power, convincing the working classes that their interests were the same as those of capitalists.
In this way revolution had been avoided. While Gramsci stresses the significance of ideology in power structures, Marxist-feminist writers such as Michele Barrett stress the role of ideologies in extolling the virtues of family life.
The classic argument to illustrate this point of view is the use of women as a ' reserve army of labour '. In wartime it is accepted that women perform masculine tasks, while after the war the roles are easily reversed.
Therefore, according to Barrett, the destruction of capitalist economic relations is necessary but not sufficient for the liberation of women. He shows that power over an individual can be amplified by the presence of a group. If the group conforms to the leader's commands, the leader's power over an individual is greatly enhanced while if the group does not conform the leader's power over an individual is nil. Foucault[ edit ] For Michel Foucaultthe real power will always rely on the ignorance of its agents.
No single human, group nor single actor runs the dispositif machine or apparatus but power is dispersed through the apparatus as efficiently and silently as possible, ensuring its agents to do whatever is necessary.
Raphael offers a very precise definition of authority. Authority is, therefore, a kind of right to do something. But Raphael explains the term right in the following manner. Here the word right carries a lot of significance and that is why he elaborates it.
Power and Authority: Definition, Nature and Theory
In his opinion the right has two meanings. An authority or a man has right implies that he may do something or he is permitted to do something. It may be that the person has been licensed to do the job or take an action. Here the term right is used in the sense of freedom. According to Raphael right has another meaning. This meaning proposes that right means to receive something.
Right also means the claim to something. Let us explain it. An individual can claim to have something from another person or source. When right is used in this sense we call it right of recipience. Hence we find that authority is used in both senses. An individual can do something and when he is challenged by others he will meet the challenge by saying that he has the authority to do the work.
He receives this authority either from the established law or from the consent of the people. This consent may be unanimous in character or majority opinion. Here authority is cloaked by legitimacy. The readers, I am sure, have acquired preliminary ideas about two vital concepts— power and authority. It is now high time to go through the relationship between them. Power, in its broadest sense, is the ability to achieve desired results.
Power also means the ability to do something. These are the common interpretations of power. But this ability may not be legitimate. So it is held that power is not legitimate, the authority is always legitimate. Behind every act or decision of the authority there shall be approval of law. Law and constitution always stand behind an authority. A person having power may demand obligation from other persons. But if they refuse to act accordingly the holder of power legally or constitutionally cannot force him to show obligation.
Behind power there lies coercion or application of coercive measures or physical force. But people show obligation to the authority on the ground that it is legally entitled to claim obligation. In explaining authority we have seen that the holder of authority is empowered to do something or claim something. It means that authority, whatever may its nature be, is always based on law or legitimacy.
So it is said that the authority is not only legal but authorities claim is based on right. In other words, authority has full freedom to demand something.
We can say that authority has freedom. But this conception is not applicable to power. This relation between power and authority has been stated by Leslie Lipson in the following words. Authority is government that all accept as valid. Its exercise is, therefore, sectioned by those who approve the particular act or agent and is tolerated by those who disapprove.
The relationship between the two can be explained still from another angle. Raphael observes that authority can exist without power. This may be illustrated in the following way. A man may be invested with authority of an office in accordance with law or formal rules. Naturally he can take any decision. But he fails to exercise his authority on the ground that majority men do not support or recognise him. This may be due to the popular mass upsurge.
On the other hand, power can exist without authority. This frequently happens in many countries. The military rulers demand obligation from citizens though he has not that authority. But people, out of tear, obey the order of the person who holds and exercises power. This is a very common feature of many Third World states. Needless to say that Weber uses the term legitimacy in the light of greater and wider perspective.
There are three types of authority. The first is traditional authority. Second is charismatic authority and the third is legal-rational authority. This classification, though not fool proof one, is still recognised and accepted by majority people. The above mentioned types of authority are explained below: The first type of authority is called traditional authority because authority is based on customs and traditions which are long established.
That is, people of a community show respect to a particular authority on the ground that their forefathers did the same and naturally they cannot violate the tradition. In earlier epochs authority existed and received obedience from the citizens. The authority, in this way is sanctioned by the tradition. An aspect of the traditional authority is that there is no legal sanction behind such authority.
Simple customs, traditions and conventions have made the authority legitimate. The records of the activities of the traditional authority are to be found in the pages of history. Weber says that in ancient time and even in middle Ages in many political systems the traditional authority existed. There was also traditional authority in tribal societies of all countries. This was due to the fact that political system in its present form did not develop in the tribal societies. But this did not adversely affect the functioning or management of tribal societies or political systems of earlier epochs.
In hereditary social and political systems the traditional authority exists. In many countries of Africa or West Asia there are hereditary systems or dynastic rulers. The son or daughter of a ruler becomes ruler. The rulers of the hereditary system have built up the tradition and that tradition continues. The governing system of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Morocco provide the examples of traditional authority and hereditary system.
In some industrialised countries the hereditary systems still prevail.
These states are Britain, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands. Britain has no written constitution, but there is a constitutional system or framework based on tradition, customs, convention etc. The British parliament also obeys these customs and conventions. In some countries, customs, conventions and written laws and constitution all are mixed together. People obey the authority or show allegiance mainly due to the charisma possessed by the authority.
An individual creates tremendous impact upon the mind of the people by dint of his personality or charisma. Not all individuals or men holding power possess such type of personality or charisma. If we open the pages of history we shall find that few leaders such as Hitler, Mussolini, Nepoleon, Ayatoallah Khomeini, and Fidel Castro possessed he charismatic power. The charisma is so powerful that people do not go into the legal aspects of the power.
With the help of charisma the authority exercises power and people accept it.
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Charismatic authority is not always supported by law. Charisma is a special quality or gift of God.
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Sometimes charisma and legality are to be find a single person. For example, de Gaulle of France, Margaret Thatcher of Britain had exceptional qualities to influence people. Nehru of India had the same qualities.
But all these persons came to power through legal and constitutional means. Not in reality it is not always clear who is simply a charismatic authority and legal or constitutional authority.
This is specially correct if we consider the regimes of Hitler and Mussolini. Hitler, Mussolini and even to some extent de Gaulle forcefully seized political power and they remained in power with the help of charisma. In almost all the modern states this type of authority is generally found.
It is legal because the formal authority is supported by existing laws of the constitution. It is rational on the ground that the posts and positions are clearly defined by law. Power and duty are also clearly stated Rational-legal authority is the explicit form of a right to give orders and to have been obeyed. The core idea of the legal-rational authority is the holder of the authority has the right to issue orders or to take decisions and also the authority sanctioned by law to implement them.
Everything is cloaked with legality. An important aspect of legal-rational authority is—it cannot do anything or take any decision on its own accord. Whatever the authority wants to do it must have legal sanction. Legal-rational authority can be called a type of limited form of government. John Locke contemplated such type of government. Later on legal- rational authority laid the foundation of liberal form of government.
The government cannot whimsically interfere with the freedom of citizens. The central theme of the legal-rational authority is law and rationality is the vital points. There is no place of whims and the rationality in such authority.