In social contexts, power may be defined as interpersonal or intergroup control over others' resources or outcomes. Occupying positions of power has been shown to affect power holders' cognitive, behavioral, and emotional processes. Findings from research on social power have implications for many psychological outcomes, ranging from close relationships to intergroup relations, as well as outcomes in organizations.

Theoretical Background

Early theorists such as John French and Bertram Raven defined power as the ability to influence others, that is, to change others' beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors. Theorists in this tradition have focused on power bases resources that power holders can use to influence others. Power bases include rewards (e.g., offering promotions), coercion (threatened punishment), legitimacy (obeying authority), reference (role-modeling), expertise (knowledge), and information (persuasion). Contemporary theorists such ...

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