Powerdependence theory is a structural theory about power in enduring relationships. It describes how individuals' reliance on others for valued resources determines the distribution of power in relationships. Powerdependence theory represents a major shift in the way sociologists think about power. Many earlier theories about power view it as a trait or property of an actor. Power dependence theory treats power as a characteristic of a relationship and thus focuses on the relationship rather than on the individuals involved in the relationship.

Powerdependence theory was developed by the sociologist Richard Emerson in the 1960s. Power dependence theory builds on earlier work in sociology by George Homans and Peter Blau and in psychology by John Thibaut and Harold Kelley. Powerdependence theory, together with the earlier work, forms ...

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