Social Power

Home/Social Power

Power is the ability to make others do things they would not otherwise choose to do, i.e. the capacity to control the agency of another. In social systems power is a feature or property of a relationship between two or more people. Power only exists in one’s capacity to influence another’s attainment of some positive goal or avoidance of some negative event. As such power only really exist in our dependency on another in achieving (or avoiding) a certain outcome. This is what is called the dependency theory of power, which posits that the basis of power is dependency. A depends on B if A has goals and needs that B can fulfill. For example, an employee depends on her company for a paycheck. Similarly, a company depends on its employees for their work. Dependence power indicates that those who are dependent on their relationship or partners are less powerful, in this way power is a force that is exerted over the potential difference of dependency between nodes within a relation.