Power is often considered the central animating force of human interaction. Who has power, who is affected by power, and how that power is exercised provide the foundation for understanding human relations (Russell 1960). Although it is difficult to give both a parsimonious and a complete definition of power (Fiske and Berdahl 2007; Lukes 1974), power is often defined as the ability to control resources, own and others, a definition rooted in theories of dependency and interdependency (Thibaut and Kelly 1959). Because those who possess power depend less on the resources of others than vice versa, the powerful are more easily able to satisfy their own needs and desires. Given this asymmetric interdependence, many models of power typically describe it as an inherently social variable.

Although power emerges from a specific set of social relations, the possession of power has a transformative impact on an individual's psychological state, leading the powerful to roam in a very different psychological space than the powerless (Keltner et al. 2003; Kipnis 1972). An explosion of research has demonstrated that the possession of power has metamorphic effects on the mental states of individuals and can lead to both positive and negative consequences.

Joris Lammers and Adam Galinsky
Publication Date
Power and interdependence in organizations

Full Citation

Lammers, Joris and Adam Galinsky
. “The conceptualization of power and the nature of interdependency: The role of legitimacy and culture.” In
Power and interdependence in organizations
, edited by
Dean Tjosvold and Barbara Wisse
New York
Cambridge University Press
, 2009.