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What do we understand by the term power - Essay Example

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Harrison view of the concept power Harrison (2010, p.4) observes that power refers to the capacity to affect the way individuals conduct their behaviors through the use of threats or real punishment and rewards. …
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What do we understand by the term power
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Download file to see previous pages Therefore, to exercise power in society, control must be exercised over the things valued by people. Power can be viewed from various dimensions. The first dimension is that power is a unique form of influence on individuals. The influence on individuals is meant to produce intended results. The individuals who can produce intended results in society by use of any means can be said to be highly influential. On the other hand, the individuals capable of producing intended effects by the use of real or threatened rewards and punishment can be said to be powerful (Harrison 2010, p.4). The second view point is that power lies on various resources found within the society. The exercise of power in society assumes many forms, which either depend on the providing or holding back of many different values in society. As individuals get material wealth, the more they are motivated to pursue power within the society. The basis of power in society is in most occasions interdependent. This means that individuals who posses and control certain valued resources in society may control other resources. Within the society, some valued resources such as the economic power, wealth, prestige, political influence, recognition, education and respect are tied to one another (Harrison 2010, p.4). Power is also viewed as unequally distributed in society. Therefore, it can be said that power is absent in societies where individuals hold equal powers. For power to be exercised in society, those who hold power must control certain values. Control means that individuals holding power in society should provide values as rewards to individuals or threaten to withdraw those values from other individuals. Power in society is viewed as a relationship among individuals, groups and institutions within society. Power is not in the possession of one individual, but is a relationship in which certain individuals in society exercise control over resources valued by others (Harrison 2010, p.4). In society, power is vested on the elitist groups while those who lack power constitute the majority, who are ruled by the elites. The elites in most societies are few and control valued resources in societies and use the resources to control and shape the lives of the masses. The masses comprise the majority, whose lifestyles are shaped by institutions, events, and the powerful leaders, over whom they have little or no control (Harrison, p.5). Max Weber’s views of the concept of power The concept of power by Weber is amorphous because it covers many situations and qualities; therefore, the concept of domination is more precise (Swedberg and Ola 2005, p.205). According to Weber, domination is the probability that certain provided commands are to be obeyed by a given group of individuals. Thus, domination does not constitute every mode of exercising power or influence over other individuals. Domination, which is perceived to be synonymous with authority, is based on compliance by the majority. Authority is also seen to be interrelated with the notion of legitimacy, moral and legal right, obligation and moral obedience (Haley 1991, p.13). In societies, genuine forms of authority are based on obedience by individuals, but not economic resources to establish authority. The general rule of domination is the establishment of an ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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