The Concept of Power

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The Concept of Power

Existence – Does it Exist?
1) Many people at different times have felt the need to attach the label “Power” to something. So it must exist. So it should be studied.
2) But it has different meanings in different cultures, so it must be many “Things”.
Study – To Study or Not?
1) Due to this complexity, students think that its study will lead to no conclusion.
2) This is a paradox. So there is not enough evidence that a systematic study will give a lot of scientific understanding of the concept.
3) But the study may result in a formal definition – this will be different depending on the research problem one is trying to solve. So there may not be a single consistent “Theory of Power”
Objective – What the author is trying to do:
1) Come up with a formal definition assuming some observations that may or may not be possible.
2) How other operational definitions can be modelled on this for specific purposes.
Assumptions:
1) It is a relation among people e.g., A has power over a
2) Only human beings to be considered
Factors in a power relation:
1) Base: All resources that a person can use to effect behavior of another
2) Means: Instruments used to exploit the base e.g., promise, threat, meeting, appeal (w)
3) Scope: Possible responses or ways that a might respond (x)
4) Amount: Probability of a’s action or response (scope) given the means used by A
P(a, x | A, w) = p1
P(a, x | A, w) = p2
Properties
1) Time between response is important
2) What is the connection between A and a
Amount of Power M
M(A : w, x) = P(a, x | A, w) - P(a, x | A, w) = p1 - p2 a

Power Comparability
5 factors to be considered:
1) Difference in basis
2) Difference in means
3) Difference in scope – responses should be comparable
4) Difference in number of respondents – number should be comparable
5) Difference in change in probabilities (M) (probability of getting a response)
Last 3 will give the payoff
If 2 out of the last 3 are

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