Power-Dependence Relations

Richard M. Emerson

American Sociological Review, Vol. 27, No. 1. (Feb., 1962), pp. 31-41.

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Are you dealing versity Press. is probably meaningless. wish). powerful group. v. authority appears quite naturally t o be legitimized power. 1952). 1960). but this notion. The notion of "generalized power" which is not 3 Floyd Hunter.et considerable confusion exists helps to block adequate theoretical develop- concerning these c0ncepts. a flaw which nized. American Sociological Review. pp.). . Within the framework of this theory. The underdeveloped state of this area J UDGING such words as power." Among many studies. authority and legitimacy. 37-64. role structure and status hierarchy. EMERSON RICHARD University of Cincinnati A simple theory of power relations is developed i n an eDort to resolve some o f the ambiguities surrounding "power. see Ronald Lippitt. attention is focused upon properties of balance and "balancing operations" in such relations." through bringing them together in a coherent scheme. to be a recurrent flaw in common ity. ment as well as meaningful research. Given this concep- idly growing body of research has not tion. while being subservient in Review. the natural research question becomes achieved the cumulative character desired. conceptions of social power. this already large and rap. requires very careful analysis. is further suggested by what appears. all presented as the outcome of balancing tendencies in power relations. and discussion of these leads directly into processes of group formation. 5 (February. Norman Polansky. view of Floyd Hunter's work on these very points. to this nance and submission. status and author.l There is an ex. these power both men can be essentially correct in the points relations are frequently intransitive] Hence. pp. Woliinger. or are the range and boundary of general- However. Finally. pp. including the emergence of group norms. from the frequent occurrence of power." based uaon a aues- tionable assumption of generalized 1 See the Communications by Jay Butler and I t is commonly observed that some person Paul Harrison on "On Power and Authority: An Exchange on Concepts. That relations with Z. author. 1947. Economic Organization. vested i n roles. 636-644. it is characteristic of Weber that he ized power anchored in the power structure itself? constructs a typology rather than an organized These are questions which must be asked and theory of power. strongly suggests the need for conceptual devel. 25 (October. 25 (October. domi. the importance of power is widely recog. Reality in the Study of 'Community Power'." and power "structures. in T h e Theory of Social and tions in a power network. literally. POWER-DEPENDENCE RELATIONS M. and "legitimation" is seen as a special case of the coalition process through which norms and role-prescriptions are formed. This is a highly questionable represen- moment for a systematic treatment of social tation of a '(structure. T h e theory dictates exactly four generic types o f balanchg process. infiuence.4 and this ordering is called the power-struc- This suggests that there is a place a t this ture." "legitimacy. indeed be generalized across a finite set of rela- 4Max Weber. and in small though it were an attribute of a person or group as well as large community context^. on both flaw is the implicit treatment of power as theoretical and empirical levels. Community Power Structure." etc. Furthermore. Power may 1953. if taken Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. too." "authority.. for a well taken critical re- "The Dynamics of Power. The project then proceeds to rank- significantly surpass the conceptions left by order persons by some criterion of power." Human Relations." American Sociological X dominates Y. Max Weber. through treating both persons and groups as actors in a power-network ( t w o or more connected power- dependence relations) the door is opened for meaningful analysis of complex power struc- tures. they make yet fail to reconcile these points." "Y is a Unfortunately. "Who in community X are the power hold- Our integrated knowledge of power does not ers?". 6 See Raymond E. Fritz Red1 and Sidney Rosen. That tensive literature pertaining to power. New York: Oxford Uni. "Reputation and opment in the domain of power relations.^ group ('(X is an influential person. answered. Brief reference is made to findings from two experiments pertaining to hypotheses advanced in this theory. After defining a reciprocal power-dependence relation. restricted to specific social relations. 1960). presents what is still a classic with some kind of halo effect (reputations if you formulation of power. 731-732.

unless all the way from oil resources to ego-support. tested. The costs associated with lations among actors. the em- explicitly treated as an attribute of a relation ployee's dependence upon his current employer ih. it is meant to apply to more complex ship. I n this proposition "goal" is used in the THE POWER-DEPENDENCE RELATION broadest possible sense to refer to gratifica- While the theory presented here is an. First. employed by the participants. Unless otherwise assessment of dependen~y. function is an empirical question. is a similar idea. it is not an attri. The ('availability" of such goals out- community relations as well. New York: John Wiley were a property of the person. that relation. erty of the social relation. so leadership." "conformers" and so on. reduced. the analysis will of necessity revolve largely bute of the actor. and if these opportunities a sociological perspective such behavior should be have low associated cost (travel. sition can do no more than specify the di- tures of the persons or groups engaged in rectional relationships involved: such relations. etc. 8 The notion of '(opportunity costs" in economics sonal traits of "leaders.6 around the concept of dependence? In this paper an attempt is made to con. The dependence of actor sessions (such as wealth) which might be A upon actor B is (1) directly proportional relevant to power in one relation are infi. I n an effort to side of the relation refers to alternative ave- make these conceptions potentially as broadly nues of goal-achievement. If an employee has alternative as if they were distinguishable types of people. Kelley. part of B which can be potentially overcome tated by appropriate actions on B's part.~ indicated. virtue of mutual dependency. formity.. I n employment opportunities.). group-person or group-group the basis for the power of the other. By by A. not be. Thibaut and H. con. rather than a person. to A's motivational investment in goals medi- nitely variable across the set of possible re. to be explored. social relations. H. the other's gratification.32 AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW to say that "X has power" is vacant. most notably other applicable as possible. to some degree. The power of actor A over depends upon B if he aspires to goals or actor B is the amount of resistance on the gratifications whose achievement is facili. skills or pos- Dependence (Dab). The Social 6 Just as power is often treated as though it Psychology o f Groups. to grant or deny. unconsciously obtained through the relation- search. tial. and Sons. power must be defined as a potential in- Social relations commonly entail ties of fluence: mutual dependence between the parties. the power defined here will able to control or influence the other's con. other's dependency. of necessity. are frequently referred to the per. any relation discussed might be a If the dependence of one party provides person-person. ated by B. it would appear that the power to con- trol or influence the other resides in control 7 The relation between power and dependence is over the things he values. where an actor can be such alternatives must be included in any either a person or a group. Two variables appear to function jointly struct a simple theory of the power aspects in fixing the dependence of one actor upon of social relations. our propo- with little or no regard for particular fea. and occasionally facilitate or hinder. of the A-B relation. Attention is focused upon another. yet we dependence imply that each party is in a suggest that it exists nonetheless as a poten- position. Since the precise nature of this joint characteristics of the relationship as such. these ties of mutual teractive episode between A and B. we specify "over whom. power resides implicitly i n the to face up to the obvious: power is a prop." In making these depending upon the relation in question. A Power (Pub). . we shall speak of re. etc. Pab will be Thus. it is more or Two points must be made clear about this less imperative to each party that he be definition. observable in every in- duct. and hence have no place in a general the availability of those goals to A outside theory. necessary qualifications we force ourselves In short. Personal traits. At the same time. When this is recognized. 1959. which may range given similar emphasis in the systematic treatment by J. tions consciously sought as well as rewards chored most intimately in small group re. and (2) inversely proportional to lations.

French. Michigan: Institute for Social Research. the pleasures of collective play. and Bertram Raven. The another child based upon motivation toward reader might object to this formulation. for treaties" among nations. At a situation on the other hand. operational definitions cannot be ap- propriately presented here. The dependency embedded in a social structure. stricting it to any one domain of action. While lished. Ann Arbor. it might appear that we are dealing with one of the bases of power pendency relations raises the question of ("reward power") listed by John R. The same generic power-dependence relation ently concerned with "legitimized power" is involved in each case. there remains some con- . uations. We can speak of the economic dependence Second. Any operational definition must make from one area of application to another is reference to change in the conduct of B at. D. if A is dependent upon B for love and "availability" of capital from other agencies. in "filial to derive legitimized power in the theory love" between parent and child. tributable to demands made by A. Cartwright. argu. dependence relation as a pair of equations: Finally. of a home builder upon a loan agency as ance" which can be overcome. in a different way. varying directly with his desire for the home. the power of A over B that mothers. lovers. for all we need to do to shift these ideas come). dependence upon them. I t is anchored more tightly fusion on this point. when applied in the same research situation. equality or inequality of power in the rela- Jr. 183-189. we define power as the "resist. and based upon.9 Recognizing the reciprocity partners. the dependence enjoy the power to influence their respective of B upon A. If the power of A over B (Pab) is con- Power. the ing that social power is in fact restricted to availability of alternative playmates. 11 Many different operational definitions can serve 10 Professor Alfred Kuhn. without re. POWER-DEPENDENCE RELATIONS 33 empirically manifest only if A makes some fer the term dependency over these economic demand. no one proper operational definition for a tains two variables remarkably like supply theoretical concept. we can represent a power.ll and demand ('(availability" and '(motiva- tional investment. etc. fronted by equal opposing power of B over editor. respect. . and nations is equal to. BALANCE AND IMBALANCE Q I n asserting that power is based upon the The notion of reciprocity in power-de- dependency of the other. has been working require that they produce intercorrelated results on a theory for power analysis soon to be pub." Human Relations. children. University of Cincinnati. However. "Some Operational Measures of Cohesive- lead off in different directions from those presented ness and Their Interrelations. in "respect itself. B might then draw A into criminal Similarly. 1959. 1959). On the other The premise we began with can now be side of the equation. Rather than side of the equation may show itself in begin at this more evolved level. I am sure no one doubts stated as Pab=Dba." respectively) . and hence its implications Eisman. nitions provide the necessary bridge between phasize that these formulations have been generalizing concepts on the one hand. is power then neutralized or cancelled highly generalized conception of dependence will out? We suggest that in such a balanced con- show that it covers most if not all of the forms of power listed in that study. and only if this demand runs terms because it facilitates broader applica- counter to B's desires (resistance to be over." Studies in Social Power. the reader is appar. because these concepts are meant Pab=Dba to apply across a wide variety of social sit- Pba=Dab. The scheme he develops. Department of Eco. careful attention to our A. Hence. for example. we hope ('friendship" among playmates. and hence capital. and inversely with the Thus. Bernice to economic concepts. P. though very the controversies surrounding "operationalism" have similar to the one presented here. a child may be dependent upon activity which he would normally resist.lo We pre. one theoretical concept. and there is no reason to nomics. within the limit set by the partner's of social relations. If so. is put together now been largely resolved. 12 ( M a y . "The Bases of Social tion. below. pp. and so worded in the hope that they will apply the concrete features of a specific research across a wide range of social life. tion. Operational defi- Before proceeding further we should em. See. there is glance our conception of dependence con. change the motivational basis of dependency. certain channels.

appropriate rationalizations and shifts in ment that balance does not neutralize power. 14 The "tensions of imbalance. tion offered by Leon Festinger. 1950. The "cost" referred to here amounts to Discussion of balancing tendencies should the "resistance" to be overcome in our defini- begin with a concrete illustration. these advances balanced relation and an unbalanced relation should encounter resistance in B's puritanical are represented respectively as follows: values. reciprocal power provides the basis one painful demand but she is still vulnerable for studying three more features of power. but that does not imply that power is limits of his power. both of which endured. Thibaut and H.34 AMERICAN SOCI()LOGICAL REVIEW dition. (The reader can satisfy himself as the impetus for improved plant efficiency about A's power advantage in this illustra. I n defined as Pab minus Pba. with varied forms. the cohesion of a rela. New York: of Michigan Press. which can be general. A moment's tion by redefining her moral values. inoperative in either or both directions.. COST REDUCTION tural changes in power-dependence relations which tend to reduce power advantage. They can be reduced in either of are balanced. et al. while dating other be popular.. Ann Arbor: justice" discussed by George C. Brace and World. but a t diflerent levels of de. based upon depend. Notice that the first solution does controlled by the relation itself." which are as- ency. i t took the form of alteration in moral atti- ately to date. and technology in reducing the cost of pro- duction. 107. . in exploring for the actors. Inc. All of takes into account only one of the two variables what Homans has to say around this idea could involved in dependency. Theory and are closely related to the idea of "distributive Experiment in Social Communication. etc. develop found control over the other. power which in turn sets in motion processes tionship can be defined as the average of which we will call (a) cost reduction and Dab and Dba. The process of cost reduction in power- B is the more dependent of the two. as com. pp.) relationship. who wants desper. not of necessity alter the unbalanced rela- Rather than cancelling out considerations tion. the weaker member will achieve one value a t the expense of other values. in industry it is commonly seen girls as well. I t might even career aspirations.. though this definition can be (b) balancing operations. The weaker member has sidestepped of power. 13 This definition of cohesion. University Behavior: Its Elementary Forms. a power advantage can be solution alters the power relation itself. tion is unstable for it encourages the use of vantage). sumed to make an unbalanced relation unstable. Homans. A pattern of "dominance" might Assume further that A "discovers" this not emerge in the interaction among these power advantage. be fruitfully drawn into the present formulation. or ( 2 ) she for each party may continue to exert pro. op. Kelley. thus reducing A's be meaningful to talk about the parties being power. Let dependence relations shows itself in many actor B be a rather "unpopular" girl. makes sexual advances. and. What we call the "mark of oppres- 12 J. might renounce the value of dating. the second relations: first. l2 second. A I n this simplified illustration. cit. sion" in the character structure of members 108. it opens the door to the study of balancing operations as struc. it appears that an unbalanced rela- either positive or negative ( a power disad. when a power advantage is used. In the courting relation above puritanical upbringing. with thought will reveal the utility of the argu. The Festinger definition Harcourt. power is in no way removed from the tion by referring to the formulations above. A is the more powerful party because other.14 refined.. two ways: (1) the girl might reduce the pendence (say Loeb and Leopold. reference group attachments. Thus. and let A be a young man who tudes on the part of a girl who wanted to occasionally takes her out. 1961. l 3 and finally. seems to have one advantage over the defini. By contrast. to new demands. I n this illustration the tensions involved in an unbalanced relation need not be long Consider two social relations. H. Social Research Center for Group Dynamics. In the tion of power-the cost involved for one unbalanced relation represented symbolically party in meeting the demands made by the above. psychic costs involved in continuing the rela- pared with two casual friends).

capable of contributing to such play." etc. The first operation economic) which reduces the pains incurred yields balance through motivational with- in meeting the demands of a powerful other. vince himself of this fact by referring back ancing operation. Con- tion of their respective personalities. I n fact. however. the following altera. and cost reduction takes in goals mediated by B . it is remembered that a prediction of which one equally true of other social relations. place must rest upon analysis of conditions fiable attitudes and values. In discussing any one even under conditions of balance. the oedipal 2. the aggressor" in any context would appear While these four types of balancing opera- to be explainable in terms of cost reduction. of balance: volve the same power processes. the more fundamental balancing operations I n some of these processes the role of described below. among children in the context of play. The sec- I t must be emphasized. the weaker member. and the give-and-take of their interactions might well be imagined. pattern of their interactions. 3. I n the interest of simplicity and clarity. as does the 1. moves into the neigh- balancing processes which operate through borhood and makes the acquaintance of A. social. The intense cohe. Suppose now The remainder of this paper will deal with that a third child. form a balanced relation stabilize social relations over and above the if we assume further that each has the other condition of balance. and. changes in the variables which define the but not B. cost reduction is a process in. If A increases motivational investment dependence relation. we suggest that each corresponds to well volving change in values (personal. thus slowly . POWER-DEPENDENCE RELATIONS 35 of low social castes (the submissive and tions will move the relation toward a state "painless" loss of freedom) might well in. The A-B relation will be thrown structure of the power-dependence relation out of balance by virtue of A's decreased de- as such. where (or what combination) of the four will take the "costs" involved are anchored in modi. as his only playmate. On more fre- If we recall that dependence is a joint func. that these ond involves the cultivation of alternative adjustments do not necessarily alter the bal. sion of a lasting social relation like the Loeb. The reader should con- suggests exactly four generic types of bal. In general. the form of identification and internalization 4. and while of these balancing operations it must be this is obvious in economic transactions. while in others it seems cost reducing tendencies will take place to have escaped notice. Without Pab=Dba any of these parties necessarily "understand- . If B cultivates alternative sources for conflict might be interpreted as a special gratification of those goals. known social processes. The formal notation adopted here pendence upon B. BALANCING OPERATIONS involving the emergence of such equalitarian rules as "taking turns. involved in the concrete case a t hand. and the fourth a result. socialization process. they must be distinguished from involves coalition and group formation. social relations by B. We suggest that cost reducing tend. balance can be restored either by ing" what is going on. we would predict that Pba=Dab A would slowly come to dominate B in the an increase in Dab or by a decrease in Dba. drawal by B. If A is denied alternative sources for as classically described. taking sider two children equally motivated toward place in the interest of preserving the valued the pleasures of collective play and equally relation. I n the unbalanced relation to the proposition on dependence. quent occasions B will find himself deprived tion of two variables. I t must be recognized that power is well known. A and B. These encies generally will function to deepen and children. tion are dictated by the logic of the scheme. of the pleasures A can offer. The third is based ance or imbalance of the relation. as upon "giving status" to A. "Identification with achieving those goals. Leopold relation mentioned above can be we will illustrate each of the four generic attributed in part to the cost reduction types of balancing operation in relations processes involved in the progressive forma. C. case of the tensions of imbalance in a power. If B reduces motivational investment "internalization of parental codes" in the in goals mediated by A.

or ( 2 ) three balancing operations were blocked by with each other. balancing operation number two takes place. pp. Just OPERATION NUMBER TWO: EXTENSION O F as the children were "ready" to accept new POWER NETWORK friends. 16-30. ber two: Power networks tend to achieve I n general. the properties of A-B are we would consider each actor's dependence upon other actors for information. .. As a network. N is ready to receive new loan agencies. the internal features surely reflect and perpetuate this pattern. . "Some Effects of call a power network. A formal treatment of tered. while the closed network the value of dating. As we Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. child B might lose some of his tion of new relationships. 7 (Summer. 1948). but not the in the case of the girl who might renounce network as a whole. discussing those A-B relation. a previously balanced such networks is suggested by A. C. we associated with the '(mark of oppression" might offer as a corollary to operation num- referred to above. By the same token A will more network will involve interactions which ap- frequently find B saying "yes" instead of pear to be independent of other relations "no" to his proposals. A and B are seen to creased awareness of his power over B. . .. tration in children's play relations. in which the limiting have seen in our illustration. I n this illustration the form of the network mands of the dependent B. . 38-50. I t is important to notice that the lengthened The same operation was illustrated above network balances some relations. would presumably come about if the other thus lengthening a linear network. C and A growing self-images of these children will in the absence of B). in the network (e. "A A-B relation is thrown out of balance. so the community of actors B. thus stimulating one or several of the unbalanced A-B relation can be reduced is balancing operations under discussion. C.g.. Thus. giving Mathematical Model For Group Structure. If motivational withdrawal on the part of B. the circumstances peculiar to the situation. when the C-A assumptions involved in this discussion are fully relation is connected through A with the met bv. make B and C "ready" to form new friend- Such a withdrawal from the play relation ships (1) with additional children D and E. such as that through alterations in a structure we shall reported by Harold J. monly attributed to it." Ap- A a power advantage. ex~erimental . for this will reduce Dba and Pab. closure.his example. the loan agent mentioned earlier. Any adequate conception OPERATION NUMBER ONE : WITHDRAWAL of a "power structure" must be based upon this fact. I t would seem to be is completely balanced under the limiting involved in the dampened level of aspiration assumptions of this illustration. The tensions of interest in collective play under the impact imbalance in the A-B and A-C relations will of frustrations and demands imposed by A. In . 46 (January.15 volved in this balancing operation will have If the reader is dissatisfied with this illus- the effect of moving actors away from rela. Bavelas. it is a set of relations connected only a t A. In this the network will be extended by the forma- illustration. let A be tions which are unbalanced to their disad." connected power-dependence relations. Withdrawal as a balancing operation en- 1 5 The notion of closed versus open networks as tails subjective alterations in the weaker discussed here can be directly related to research The second 'peration takes place dealing with communication networks. and B. of one relation are nonetheless a function of the entire network. thus "closing" the network. .36 AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW coming to sense his own dependency more general fact that while each relation in a acutely. defined as two or more Communication Patterns on Group Performance. Leavitt. This is the familiar areas of activity will intimately reflect this monopoly situation with the imbalance com- process. pp. vantage. the denial of dependency in. The actor's motivational orienta. and he will gain in. We now have the powerful A making de. forming a simde linear net- u experiments in terms of the concepts in this-theory work C-A-B. c ~ n t r ~ l sI. This points up the plied Anthropology. 1951). One of the throws both relations within it out of bal- processes through which the tensions in the ance. N be home builders or others dependent tions and commitments toward different upon A for capital. . The play together in the absence of C.

any member. some "group goal. if C also aspires toward X. Among the balancing operations evolved as a balancing process. Adjustment. We believe this for A is not involved in the B-C interactions. (AB)-C. 357-373. the group attempts to control C in the tion number two. The difference in." network. "Workers of the world. instead of The C-A-B network is balanced through the having the control of actor C as its end. If the rewards mediated by A are such described a t length the diffusion of child that they can be jointly enjoyed by B and C. all we need do to blend this type of between a closed "network" and a "group"). THE ORGANIZED GROUP When the B-C relation forms." Opera- tion of this principle can be found in institu. whether the group be This. Dorothy Eggan has tion. and the distinction may seem overly controlled. but it is still just a power interest of achieving X . most commonly recognized as a power proc- I t is convenient at this juncture to take ess. That is. 45 (July. as one type of group. a triadic network reduces sense that they act as one. balancing operation number 4 in his call to which in this case appears to be institution. Thus. Let us continue with the same illustration. based upon efforts to achieve that control. the more general significance up balancing operation number 4. coalition formation is the one is clearly open for consideration. leaving of this balancing operation seems to have es- number 3 to the last. group structure in general. tion of labor can be taken as an illustration tion number two. group functioning. closing the C-A-B network in the process of balancing. pp. of this balancing tendency as an historic however. Thus. called a coalition or not. directly with the third. "The General Problem of Hopi is dependent upon the group for achieving X. In the case of power of weaker actors through collectiviza- the Hopi. is characterized by the fact that ( a ) the volved here may be very small in behavioral common environment is an actor to be terms. In operation number 4 it achieves Now. group with groups in general is to dehumanize and it rests upon the fact that two very the environmental problem which the group different balancing operations are involved. The proper representation of coalitions In the typical coalition pattern." thus then the tensions of imbalance in the A-B draining off much of the force of oedipal and A-C relations can be resolved in the conflicts in that society. Marx was asking for as a special case of the tension of imbalance. illuminates the role which power processes he simply exists as an alternative playmate play in the emergence and maintenance of for both B and C. A coalition. and if C 16 Dorothy Eggan. in a three-member group . dependency among many "mothers. is not technically the case. the emergence of a "collective actor. though this described here. C might well be one of the group members- September. portant conceptual problem (the difference Now. tion number two reduces the power of the tionalized form in some kinship systems in. This is not to be taken. as an assertion that the institution process. caped notice." and the collectiviza- ally handled in a manner resembling opera. 1943). stronger actor. For this reason the next section will FORMATION explore coalition processes further. in a triad would be (AB)-C. We wish to suggest that the coalition we have what appears to be a coalition of process is basically involved in all organized the two weaker against the one stronger. while number 4 increases the volving the extended family." American Anthropologist. or A and B constitute a collective actor in the (BC)-A. POWER-DEPENDENCE RELATIONS 37 Balancing operation number 2 involves in balance through collapsing the two-relational all cases the difiusion of dependency into network into one group-person relation with new relations in a network. suggested that oedipal conflict may be taken In a general way. However. addition of a third relation (C-B) in opera. collectively encounters. but it goes to the heart of an im. for example. for the typical coalition is only one of the many forms this same operation OPERATION NUMBER FOUR: COALITION takes. presenting them- to a coalition only if two members unite as selves to their common environment as a sin- a single actor in the process of dealing gle unit. and (b) its unity is historically refined. (AC)-B. however. A final illustra.l"e have already (BC) -A coalition.

way digressed from our discussion of power group relations. These will tend to be in. Specifications of be. B and C interchange.'' In fact. and the stabilization process is identical "proper" job in terms of such prescriptions. This reasoning suggests an idealized con. with "norm formation. but tions. cial case of balancing operation number AUTHORITY four. in either case. it is This conception of group structure is ideal. standing in vested in an office or role. can force (2) G roup Norms. however. coalition formation. basically the same. he is "authorized" to speak for within ( [ABI-C) are exactly what we nor. they role. A dean. coalition a member would face for any The notion of legitimacy is important. for group-relevant act he might perform. every member has au- mally call group norms and role-prescrip. with A.17 It should be clear that in introducing con. Likewise with group norms. Whenever a specific member finds occa- become stabilized features of group struc. as structure." that is. prescription is properly viewed as the "voice" tions in unconsolidated children's play of all members standing as a coalition in groups. induce that member to polish the dean's corporated in role-prescriptions. Roles are defined and enforced expressed in role-prescriptions defining the through a consolidation of power in coalition boundary of "legitimate power" or authority. A person holding of group identification and internalization of such authority is commissioned. That authority is havior which all group members expect limited power follows from logical necessity (demand) of one or more but not all when role-prescriptions are treated as they members. tural forms is attributed directly to operation able. The dean's authority is power contained and the structure of a group (its norms and pre. ings with its members. even to the point the norms of the group. the "coalition" would immedi- together. Bal. these co. restricted through balancing operation num- scriptions) will specify the makeup of the ber four. transformation of power in a process called should move group structure toward this "legitimation. for example. supported by a coalition of all other Certain actions. Such norms are properly viewed as authority is usually used to refer to power the "voice" of a collective actor. number four. is obliged to. authority is more than balanced power. Specifications of behavior which all group members expect of all faculty member A to turn in his grades on group members. 17 The process of legitimation has sometimes been ceptions of group structure we have in no described as a tactic employed by a person aspiring . Thus. thority of a kind (as in civil arrest). each representable as processes.38 AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW we have three coalition structures as intra. them. making its demand of the occupant of the alitions do not drop out of the picture. need not be performed making the demand. when performed by some faculty members joining with the dean in member or members. based upon two singled out and commissioned more explicitly types of collective demands: to speak for the group in the group's deal- (1) R ole-Prescriptions. are here. he does not collective demands (members expect things simply have the right to rule or govern-he of themselves in the above definitions). the demands he speaks with the authority of the group made by (AB) of C in the power process behind him. for the emergence of these struc- ( [AB ] -C) -X. Thus. provide a division of labor in a role ately re-form around the faculty member. As the group consolidates. however. time because the demand is "legitimate. closely resembling coalition The situation involved here is reminiscent formation. The occupant of such a role has simply been ception of group structure. authority emerges as a ancing operations. If that dean. directed power which can be employed ized in the sense that it describes complete (legitimately) only in channels defined by consensus among members. formation. The situation is coalition against the object of its demands. by all other members to properly facilitate were to employ sanctions in an effort to group functioning." and that process is one spe- ideal. sion to remind another member of his ture. taken private car. In this sense. which. along with cost reduction. Even the most formalized role- of the rapidly forming and reforming coali.

as in the coalition pattern discussed at length above. for example. with widely believed in proceed on three assumptions: (1) status moral symbols. .' 'the will of the people. 36). C. as if it were a necessary consequence. Thus. p. (ABCD) -B. POWER-DEPENDE:NCE RELATIONS 39 Earlier in this section we referred to the The discussion of status hierarchies forces common phenomenon of rapidly forming us to consider intra-group relations. For example. (or roles) by the group. (ABCD) -C and O F STATUS (ABCD)-D as a minimum. rather than start with a set of N group-member relations a process through which persons are granted of this type and consider balancing opera- restricted power. in a group of N remaining balancing operation provided in members we have theoretical reason for deal- this theory takes us naturally to the emer. legal formulae. This is group-member relations can now be ex- normally accomplished through giving him pressed in the familiar equations for a power- status recognition in one or more of its dependence relation: many forms. or in the and when they are true they imply that Dgm context of calling upon them to justify action. Power so supported is authority. and how and re-forming coalitions in children's play this can be done in a theory which treats groups. 2 ber through increasing the latter's motiva. Our reasoning suggests that it is the group in the singular as an actor. or an expression of. Dgmi. tion of group structure outlined above. any action relevant to those norms. This in turn implies tive support to oppose those who challenge power. etc. hierarchy within a group of N members. A-C. Any interactions between A and scriptions define implicitly the membership B. Social scientists.' or to the allegedly extraordinary (2) a member who is highly valued by the endowments of the ruler himself. 1959. and D. Stated more accurately. group is highly valued in other similar following Weber. tions. lie outside of the social sys- of the coalition which would either support tem in question unless one or both of these or oppose any member if he were to perform persons "represents" the group in his actions.' to the 'divine right of kings. from ego-gratifications to mone. C. 'the aristocracy of talent or wealth. states: "Those in authority attempt to justify their Let us imagine a five member group and rule over institutions by linking it. the norms and pre. Wright Mills tions in these relations. New York: Oxford University Press. conception implies that every intra-group type of organized group life wherein the relation involves at once every member of tempo of coalition realignment is accelerated the group. loom large in this process because they are highly valued by many recipients To account for the emergence of a status while given a t low cost to the giver. These fluctu. Pgmi=Dmig tary differentials.group-member relations. The relations which do exist are OPERATION NUMBER THREE : EMERGENCE (ABCD) -A. we to power or trying to hold his power. and this valuation the 'vote of the majority. the and Dmg are inversely related across the N process is fundamentally that of mobilizing collec. Assumptions 2 and 3 are empirical. Operation number N(N-1) three increases the weaker member's power than considering all of the possible to control the formerly more powerful mem.groups he belongs to or might freely join. in a group with members to the point of being a blur before our eyes."' and (3) all five members have the same mo- (The Sociological Imagination. plus whatever One important feature of group structure relations of the (ABCD)-(AB) type may remains tb be discussed: status and status be involved in the peculiar structure of the hierarchies. such as Pmig=Dgmi. The precisely through these coalition processes answer is contained in the idealized concep- that unifying norms emerge. member-member relations. do not exist. Thus. That ating coalitions can be taken as the proto. call such conceptions 'legitima. Whether we view tivational investment in the group at the the process of legitimation in the context of the outset. involves differential valuation of members These central conceptions may refer to god or gods. nature so far as group stability is concerned. the relations A-B. formation of such collective conceptions. and the process a state of imbalance of a very precarious fits the general model of coalition formation. The ego-rewards. prestige. B.' is equivalent to. It is interesting that the one group in question. ing with N group-member relations rather gence of status ordering. Each of these tional investment in the relation.' or sometimes 'symbols of justification. sacred emblems. A.

I t is this situation which balancing fielder because he is functionally more im- operation number three alleviates through portant or because good pitchers are harder "giving status" to the highly valued mem. and the group for the special rewards of status. status striving ety-wide movements. ** Power Advantage PAgm=Dmg-Dgm. and the process of large part contained implicitly in the ties crystallization is seen as a balancing process. operations will tend to move PA toward zero. with imbalance repre. and g ) be achieved only in groups with very low gether in social systems. and to rely upon a functional explanation. Its principal value seems to be its ability to pull together a membership turnover. are functionally related through time. The values by which a group sees a given role as "important" at time 2. such are subject to operational formulation. they are too intimatelffused in ~ g m status position and the values employed in to be clearly separated. in terms of a few very simple prin- should be a characteristic feature and can ciples. This dering. 18"Motivational investment" and "availability. The middle stage wide variety of social events. or These ideas are illustrated with hypotheti. tional contribution to the social system. because physicists are more difficult to re- cal values in Table 1. that the availability factor in dependency and in column 9 after the least valued mem. Is the these members are precisely the most valued pitcher more highly valued than the center members. '. In the final stage. Balancing considerations involve the availability factor. Most important. I n considering Dgm (the evolve from felt scarcity in that role and similar relative value or importance the group at. In such "open" groups. to find? Is the physicist valued over the bers.ls Before Balanang After Operation #3 After Operation # 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Member Dgm Dmg* PAgm** Dgm Dmg PAgm** Dgm Dmg PAgm** A 5 1 -4 5 5 0 5 5 0 B 4 2 -2 4 4 0 4 4 0 C 3 3 0 3 3 0 3 3 0 D 2 4 2 2 4 2 2 2 0 E 1 S 4 1 5 4 1 1 0 *Assuming that all members have the same motivational investment in the group at the outset. thus gaining the power to keep and plumber because of a "more important" func- control those members. more costly to obtain. ranging from might be perpetual in groups with new the internalization of parental codes to members continually coming in a t the lower levels. etc. plays the decisive part in historically shap- bers D and E have withdrawn some of their ing those values. it is notably difficult be the first to break from the group. . of mutual dependence which bind actors to- The stage '. status ordering. original motivational investment in the CONCLUSION The table presents three stages in The theory put forth in this paper is in status crystallization.40 AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW The least dependent member of a group will taches to member roles). the concepts involved be taken as a direct manifestation of the tensions of imbalance." which jointly determine dependency at any point A~~~~ the factors involved in status or. in time. and that highly valued members (A and B) are valued in other groups as well.? The latter sented as power advantage (PA). While these the extreme im~ortanceof the availability two variables can be readily distinguished in the factor in dependency as a determinant if case of Dmg. roles a t time I. like the collectivization of labor. We suggest here that the values people use as shown in column 6 after the highly valued in ordering roles or persons express the de- members A and B have come to depend upon pendence of the system upon those roles. place. this theory f~cusesattention upon is implied in our balancing operations. Two strivers have either succeeded or withdrawn from the struggle.

Gordon. 63 (May. The theory presented here the notion that special status rewards are does no more than wrovide the basic under- used to hold the highly valued member who does not depend heavily upon the pinning to the study of complex networks. graph theory in p a r t i c ~ l a r . and that in granting him such re. Elihu Katz. The greatest rewards within a coalition come of power plays within such networks. PATTERNS OF CHOICE IN INTERPERSONAL RELATIONS * PETER M. who my colleagues Otis Dudley Duncan. Coalitions form among the weak to con. but only orientations with pronounced significance for respect also had segregating effects on other interpersonal choices. 1 9 F. Conformity is high at both status extremes ondly. tended in two main directions." The Psychological Re- theoretical and empirical work must be ex. Table 1). group. ( 3 ) Attributes that differentiated consultants from others without producing a corresponding differentiation of respect to legitimate the status of consultant created segregating barriers to sociability. Conformity varies inversely with accept. First. will be employed in action. The systematic in- vestigation of interpersonal relations. Jack Sawyer. T h e four groups of independent variables in this analysis are shown t o repvesent orthogonal dimensions. consultation. Highly valued members of a group are plex than those referred to here. ( 4 ) Measures of approach to people had a segregating effect on consultation. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research. I also want to acknowledge financial sup- port from the Ford Foundation and the help of * I am greatly indebted for many suggestions and robe^ A. 181-194. and Harrison c. Marcus.vjew. both Theory of Social Power. in the long run. pp. French.. Jr.). 2. Four main pat- terns could be discerned: ( 1 ) Items that had a differentiating effect on respect also had differentiating effects on consultation and attraction but usually not on informal acceptance. and the conditions under which power. BLAU University of Chicago How do people's attributes influence the interpersonal choices among them? Data on work groups are used t o examine the regularities revealed b y 17 items o n four types of interpersonal choice--respect. power and dependency in self and others. potential. Harary and R. ~ ~ 5. complex networks and predicting the out- 6. Hodge and Philip M. probably because a n informal approach made a worker a more attractive companion. leading to strong conformers only if they are valued more adequate understanding of complex by other groups as well. CHOICE I N INTERPERSONAL RELATIONS 41 experiments testing certain propositions dis. Norman. but they had a differentiating effect o n attraction. The R ELATIONSHIPS social roles constitute the matrix of data to be explained in this schema are dis- social structures. who did the factor analysis. Fred L. the in- cussed above led to the following results: teraction Rrocess should be studied to locate carefully -the factors leading to perceived 1. worked on the computations. 1956). There is every reason to believe that modern wards power is obtained over him. "A Formal been adequately validated and refined. promises to contribute much to a White. 1953. are given to the less dependent member of the coalition (balancing operation num. 4. more important. there. mathematics. analogous to "status giving"). Sec- 3. and. . ( 2 ) Orientations toward work had a segregating effect on respect. Strodtbeck. (This supports power structures. Conformity (Pgm) varies directly with motivational investment in the group. P. An Once the basic ideas in this theory have effort to apply such a model to power relations can be found in John R. and for assistance with technical problems of analysis to of Robert W. can be fruitfully employed in the analysis of trol the strong (balancing operation nurn- ber three) . sociable attraction. between persons acting in better understanding of social structure. a Mathematical Model in the Social Sciences. as a ance in alternative groups. like others salient orientations. fore. in groups with membership turnover (see will be study of power networks more com- column 5. and informal acceptance. Graph Theory as ber three.

1.. .Sep. Emerson American Sociological Review.Page 1 of 1 - You have printed the following article: Power-Dependence Relations Richard M.jstor.. Vol.CO%3B2-Y NOTE: The reference numbering from the original has been maintained in this citation list.org/sici?sici=0002-7294%28194307%2F09%292%3A45%3A3%3C357%3ATGPOHA%3E2. . 1962). Vol. 45. (Oct.org/sici?sici=0003-1224%28196010%2925%3A5%3C636%3ARARITS%3E2. No. 31-41. Stable URL: http://links. New Series.jstor. 5. (Jul.http://www. pp. 27. Wolfinger American Sociological Review. 25. If you are trying to access articles from an off-campus location. 1960). No. (Feb.. pp.0. Stable URL: http://links. No.CO%3B2-F 16 The General Problem of Hopi Adjustment Dorothy Eggan American Anthropologist. pp.0.jstor.org/sici?sici=0003-1224%28196202%2927%3A1%3C31%3APR%3E2. Please visit your library's website or contact a librarian to learn about options for remote access to JSTOR.CO%3B2-C This article references the following linked citations.org LINKED CITATIONS . 636-644. 1943). Part 1. you may be required to first logon via your library web site to access JSTOR.jstor. Stable URL: http://links.0. [Footnotes] 5 Reputation and Reality in the Study of "Community Power" Raymond E. 3. Vol. 357-373.