The Perception of Power
Bacharach, Samuel B.; Lawler, Edward J.
This study examines the impact of some basic exchange-theory variables, the value and scarcity of outcomes, on perceptions of Self and Other power in a conflict setting. Each respondent took the role of an employee in conflict with an employer, and assessed the magnitude of Self and Other (employer) power. Four variables are manipulated: Self’s outcome scarcity, the value of the outcome to Self, Other’s outcome scarcity, and the value of the outcome to Other. The results are consistent with predictions drawn from the Blau, and Emerson (a, b) treatments of dependence relations. The results suggest that the stakes contending parties have in a conflict encounter bear on power perceptions, and an elaboration of a recently formulated theory of power perception is undertaken on the basis of the data.
exchange-theory; power perception; conflict; outcome scarcity; outcome value
Required Publisher Statement: © Oxford University Press. Final version published as: Bacharach, S. B., & Lawler, E. J. (1976). The perception of power [Electronic version]. Social Forces, 55(1), 123-134. doi: 10.1093/sf/55.1.123 Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.