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SITE : “How to Successfully Navigate Power Dynamics at Work
⌛️ Power Dynamics History – from 5th cent BC to 2019 (scroll way down)
POWER DYNAMICS (PDs) – is the science of power negotiation between individuals or in groups – as a branch of social skills & life strategies. It’s the study of the unwritten rules people use to engage & interact with each other. It includes :
♝ cooperation among individuals to reach goals
♝ forming & acquiring rank-titles within structured hierarchies
♝ negotiating conflicting interests
♝ use of strategies to reach an end or goal
♝ use of influence, persuasion, & manipulation
If Power is defined as “the ability to achieve predefined goals” then power, in & of itself, is neutral, neither good nor bad. It’s all about how it’s used. Unfortunately, this discipline still has a negative connotation, because power-hungry, unscrupulous individuals are drawn to mis-applying PDs.
However, PDs can also be used for personal self-defense. When strategies for individual success are expressed ethically, they add great value to the people around us & to society as a whole.
Power Dynamics are seen IN many areas of human socialization, so managing its complexity is essential to achieving our goals
❧ PDs are present in & crucial to all relationships, healthy & unhealthy. Along with having Personal Power, understanding & mastering the various forms & appropriate uses of PDs supports positive ones.
One of clearest signs that a partner is potentially abusive or already toxic is the one who focuses mostly or solely on having ALL the power within the intimate pairing.
Ignorance of PDs allows abuse to develop & persist. So living as if they don’t matter is naive. And dangerous.
PDs are part of mating negotiations, & the strategies to gain sexual access. Single people complain about not finding a good mate, but the real issue is not knowing the rules of the game.
EXP: Historically, men have gained power from sex with multiple partners, but women have not. B genders have converging & diverging interests, which vary depending on
where they’re at in the process.
♢ Social environments
Proper use of PDs are needed to be socially successful, because:
• people respect others they consider to have ‘high power’
• one needs to know how to be persuasive
• ignorance of social PDs leaves one vulnerable to being manipulated or ignored.
RULE : Don’t go through life as a ‘dumb’ lamb, pretending there are no wolves. It’s OK to keep being a friendly lamb – but use PDs as healthy protection.
Workplaces everywhere are hotbeds of politics & (hidden) Machiavellian power moves – because they tend to have built-in contradictions.
On the surface, a company’s values usually stress teamwork, & the “whole” over the individual.
But underneath, there are many diverging & conflicting interests at all power levels that get in the way of cooperation. (PD : Hidden Element in Meetings)
How PDs are used differentiate great leaders from poor ones. The poor ones rely only on formal authority (power OVER), while better ones gather power by their people-skills, making others want to follow them (power WITH).
Great leaders can achieve social status within groups even if they have no rank or formal power over others. If they also get a title, it’s an additional ‘legal’ recognition of their already existing influence.
♢ Social Sciences
As important as PDs are, for self-development & personal success, there is no recognized branch in the social sciences. Yet PDs are embedded in the very fabric of most recognized university courses, & so can be considered scientific, since many contribute research & papers to our understanding of PD.
‣ Political science – the end game of top power-players is to run things, & running countries is the apex
‣ Game theory & economics – which provide insight into the exchange & transactions of human relations
‣ History – which shows which strategies people developed to acquire & maintain power, or which ones failed. (Scroll to the list ).
(Modified from : “Power Dynamics: What Is It, How it Affects You“)
NEXT : Power TYPES