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A multi-theoretical perspective on power in managing interorganizational relationships

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to examine power from a multi-theoretical perspective by comparing and analyzing different views and definitions of power in order to use the findings for further studying this construct as a key element for managerial purposes in the interorganizational context. Design/methodology/approach ‐ An overview of the literature is conducted examining the power from sociological, psychological and managerial perspectives specifying views on power, its sources and consequences of its use offered by selected theories. Findings ‐ This paper presents the opinion that the definitions of power by different theories resemble each other and the main differentiations in conceptualizations of power stem mostly from the differences in capturing sources and consequences of power. Power generally refers to the ability, capacity or potential to get others do something, to command, to influence, to determine or to control the behaviors, intentions, decisions or actions of others in the pursuit of one's own goals or interests despite resistance, as well as to induce changes. Originality/value ‐ The fact that power can be used as an effective tool to coordinate and manage others appears to be largely ignored in the literature. In order to understand how to use it for these purposes, it is necessary to define power, which is an elusive concept that has a variety of meanings and definitions, and there seems to be much disagreement to the precise meaning of power.
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Keywords: Control; Influence; Management power; Psychology; Sociology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 25, 2009

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