POWER – 3 Directions, Authority


BOOK :”Whistleblowers: Broken Lives and Organizational Power” by C. Fred Alford



Everything we do as humans can be seen as a status game — exercises in raising & lowering our own status & that of those around us, which can also be seen in one of 3 types of power within groups.

1. Power-from-WITHIN (power TO self) : healthiest – a result of self-realization, sustaining our life. It’s empowering & underpins self-confidence & spiritual faith.
These people see all humans & the world as = living beings who are dynamic, integrated; individualistic, artistic
Motivation – creativity, empowerment.
BASEs: Nutrient, Competitive (Over & To)
EXP: sitting up straight & forward may be a physical way to raise your status

🪐 Socially & politically, power can flow from one of 2 sources, either from ‘the
People’ or from the ‘Elite’, shown as People Power or Pyramid Power

2. Power-WITH (others) : it bridges the value system of P-from-Within and P-Over, representing social & psychological integration, “the whole is greater than the sum”. Such people see the world as a pattern of relationships, valuing all beings & persons. Their interest is in how that pattern can be molded, shapes & shifted – for the better.
Motivation – equality of & respect for all.
BASEs : Integrative, Ideological (soft, implicit power)
EXP: Ask a colleague for their opinion can equalize their status

🌹People-Power Model : This type holds that –
• P ultimately rests in the hands of the  public masses (they’re the top)
• the P-holders’ influence depends on the mass public’s cooperation
• the strategy of creating change from people-movements by ‘leading the leaders”

Re. VIOLENCE – there are also 3 types:
✴︎ Direct – physical actions
✴︎ Structural – built into the fabric of the prevailing governing system (only 10% is visible)
✴︎ Cultural – parts of a culture that legitimize violence, making it an acceptable way to deal with conflict, supporting a few to have a sense of superiority over the majority (More….)

Non-violent social change is the ideal use of People-P, based on universal principles which unify, allowing everyone to participate, using education, persuasion, social movements….

3. Power-OVER (others): domination & control over others & things. These people sees humans & the world as = objects, made up of separate, isolated parts with no inherent worth.
Motivation – fear. BASE – Coercive
EXP: Talking over someone is a verbal way of lowering their status

🧔🏻Pyramid-Power Model : It holds that –
• society is organized in the form of a hierarchical pyramid, with P-holders (elite) at the top & the powerless masses at the bottom
• P flows down from the elite to the masses
• social change can only be achieved by appealing to & persuading the elite to change their views.
Together, Power & Authority are the 2 capacities of effective power that underpin social interactions.

AUTHORITY – is derived from one’s position, not from themselves, even if they have personal traits that also make them powerful. So a person can be given authority while having very little personal power, although this placement is not beneficial to an organization

Authority is easily lost. An organization can delete someone’s authority by removing everything that gave them formal power over others, by firing them or with a demotion (moving a manager to a position with the same pay level but taking away their leadership functions).
However a few power positions are institutionalized & very difficult to change, such as the British monarchy or a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

POWER – is mainly the product of positive personal traits, but can also can be learned. EXP: The more knowledge a person has in their field, the more power they have. Having power also depends on how others view you. If they don’t consider you powerful, then you’re not (in your specific environment).

Power can be lost. Because it’s built on expertise & experience, making critical errors, especially in politics or business, can make a powerful person lose credibility. And while it doesn’t require a good personality, it helps, so bad personal behavior or treatment of co-workers can also strip someone of influence.

NEXT : Power Characteristics (Part 3)

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