Chapter 5 Power this chapter will discuss



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Pavitt Chapter 5 – Page

Chapter 5 - Power

THIS CHAPTER WILL DISCUSS
1. Theories that are relevant to the concept of power.

2. The "dimensions" of power, and research showing how these dimensions work.


3. Theories concerning how coalitions can form within groups.
4. The ways in which communication can affect people's judgments about power.
5. How beliefs about gender and race influence power, and ways to counteract these beliefs.

INTRODUCTION

In sociological approaches to group interaction, the concept of power is central. Max Weber, a founding father of modern sociology, is a key figure in this area of study. His work has influenced most of the theorists who have examined power in groups, and his definition of power is important for our discussion.

Weber's concept focused on what happens when two people get together. He saw power as emerging out of this social relationship. In his view, power is the probability that one person in the relationship can carry out his or her will despite the other's resistance.
The word "resistance" is important in Weber's definition. Resistance suggests conflict. Weber's concept implies that whenever conflict occurs in a relationship, power becomes an issue. Therefore, conflict and power are closely related.

As an example, we can look at the relationship between Cyndy and Doug. They get together to write a report, but they disagree about the content. Finally, Cyndy decides what they will write, despite Doug's protests. In this situation, according to Weber, Cyndy has power over Doug.


As we can see, Weber's definition of "power" closely relates power and conflict. Thus, examining the idea of power from the relational perspective is profitable. This perspective focuses on the forces and relationships that lead to conflict and power in groups.
Theorists using the structural perspective have also contributed to our knowledge about power. They have examined how the structure of relationships affect the power of group members.
We will begin with a look at these two perspectives, the relational and the structural. We will review their theories and accompanying research. After this, we will describe how coalitions form within groups, and we will examine the theories and research surrounding this topic.
Last, we will discuss how people express power relationships through verbal and nonverbal communication. We will examine how this affects people's judgments of one another, and how gender and race influence the process.



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