Power and Conflict in Organizations

Power and Conflict in Organizations

Power and Conflict in Organizations

Power and Conflict in Organizations

Excerpt

Each of the two parts of this volume includes an introductory chapter—"Power in Perspective," by Abraham Kaplan, and "Two Principles of Conflict," by Kenneth E. Boulding. The purpose which remains for this chapter is to offer a rationale for treating these topics together. Their combination is more than accidental or superficial; it is implied by definition and apparent from observation of organizational life.

Power and the related concepts of control and influence have to do with change. Though not all the authors of the following chapters would define power in the same conceptual language, they would all agree to this statement and to the more explicit assertion of Dahl (1957): "My intuitive idea of power, then, is something like this: A has power over B to the extent that he can get B to do something that B would not otherwise do."

The implication of conflict in this approach to power is inescapable. We assume that a person's behavior at any moment is determined by some set of forces, including those generated by his own needs and values and those exerted on him by external agents. To say that A has the power to change B's behavior necessarily implies that A exerts some force in opposition to some or all of the previously existing forces on B. This is conflict; its extent and consequences depend, of course, on many factors—the nature, basis, and magnitude of the force which A exerts and of the forces which he is attempting to overcome in order to determine B's behavior.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.