Process of obtaining power

Processof obtaining power

Poweris typically the strong influence one has over another by alteringstate or condition of mind of a person by withholding or providingresources such as money, knowledge, food and affection. Understandingexactly how certain individuals obtain power, how they retain thepower after attaining their power and also understanding how somefail to obtain power to fall from their positions despite thepolitical advantage provided by power. Possessing power results inimproved financial rewards and solid job security. Power is built oncontrol of valued resources through the use of knowledge, personalskills or expertise. There are four stages in the development ofpower as a goal by a group: forming, storming, norming and finallyperforming.

Formingstage deals with formation and establishment of a group, individualswith different interpersonal skills are brought together. The groupleader ensures that there each member gets an equal status in thegroup and build their confidence. The goals and aims of the group isagreed upon after which the leader provides direction on the goalsand aims of the group. Cohesiveness is developed in the group formembers to have a sense of belonging, this is achieved throughprevention of formation of sub-groups.

Stormingstage deals with group conflicts resulting from members trying tofind and define their own roles. Conflict arise about closeness ofrelationships of members and about power which may divert the focusof the original aims. The leader refocus the group on its purpose andaims of its existence. Upon refocusing the group, some progress ismade and the group gain morale and cohesiveness is reinforced.

Normingstage deals with development of norms for the group, also referred toas negotiation period. Functioning rules of the group are welldefined and followed by every member and each members takeresponsibility and participate in activities pertaining their role.The group through cohesiveness, center its focus on the tasks andaims of the group.

Theperforming stage is the working stage with the group being mostlyconcerned with serving and working out its purpose. With the highdegree of trust and cohesion, every member’s contribution is valuedand accepted. The group may become independent and interdependentfrom their group leader and some may now take certain leadershiproles. After achieving the power they worked for, the group getspolitical advantages, and socio-economic status is raised. In thecase of a political group, members in power exercise decision makingfor the members who are not in power.

Groupsmay use legitimate power or coercive power to maintain their powerover others while an individual can obtain power by belonging to acertain occupation such as being a doctor, police officer or alawyer. Men in the society in terms of money, positions andoccupation, have more power than women as compared to that of groupwhere members recognizes equity status regardless of gender. Dominant groups retain power through different methods which includecompensatory, conditioned and condign power. Another way ofmaintaining power is through exploitation of the racial, ethnic,minority or the low-income group and reducing such group to a lowerstatus.

Educationalbackground of an individual is important in attaining power asknowledge is perceived as power. A member from a certain minoritygroup can obtain power by obtaining education. An individual from alow socioeconomic status attains power through education as ittransforms the life of an individual. Once one belong to a certainoccupation, can be able to exercise the powers of that occupation.There is protection of individual with disabilities againstdiscrimination by other groups through empowerment of such disabledindividuals.


Allyn&amp Bacon75 Arlington St., Suite 300 Boston, MA 02116

Exploringthe Five Stages of Group Formation Using Adventure-Based Activities,by Jim Cain, 2003, from the Teamwork &amp Teamplay website

Sidanius,J.,F. Pratto, &amp J. Rabinowitz (1994). Gender, ethnic status, andideological asymmetry: A social dominance interpretation. Journal ofCross-Cultural Psychology, 25,194-216.