Using power

Some observations on using power, gleaned from reading the B325 course book, Managing to Collaborate:

  • Perceptions of power imbalance usually lead to feelings of mistrust.
  • Collaborative relationships work better when there is no power imbalance.
  • There is a perception of greater power with the holders of the ‘purse strings’.
  • Bargaining power often comes from one party having a resource that another needs.
  • Bargaining power is also dependent on how critical a collaboration is to an organisation – the more critical, the less bargaining power.
  • Members with formally acknowledged authority (a structurally stronger position) have more power than those who do not.
  • The notions of ‘power over’ (own gain), ‘power to’ (mutual gain) and ‘power for’ (altruistic gain) exist on a continuum.
  • The balance of power changes over time, and may shift between individuals or organisations.
  • Different types of power may be relevant at different times.

(Source: Huxham and Vangen, 2005).

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