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Comparison of Dependence and Punitive Forms of Power

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This paper deals with the impact of power on tactical action in conflict. The theory and research is organized around two conceptual distinctions: one between power based on dependence versus punitive capability, and the other between relative power (i.e., power difference) and "total power" in a relationship (i.e., across actors). The paper will argue that these distinctions are important on both theoretical and empirical grounds. Theoretically, they are important to explicate the connection between conceptions of power that stress the coercive foundation of power (Bierstedt 1950; Tedeschi, Schlenker & Bonoma 1973) and those that treat power as dependence (Bacharach & Lawler 1981; Cook & Emerson 1984; Cook et al. 1981; Emerson 1962, 1972a, 1972b; Molm 1985), as well as to understand the relation of power to tactical action. Empirically, these distinctions are important to the degree that different tactics available to actors are a function of disparate facets of the power relationship.

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1987-01-01

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tactical action; conflict; power; punitive capability; dependence

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Required Publisher Statement: © Oxford University Press. Final version published as: Lawler, E. J., & Bacharach, S. B. (1987). Comparison of dependence and punitive forms of power [Electronic version]. Social Forces, 66(2), 446-462. doi: 10.1093/sf/66.2.446 Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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