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).