Relational Theories of Power by Maral Cavner

Maral Cavner's Blog

The relational theory of power is used as a way to describe status in one’s interpersonal relationships.  According to the authors of the textbook, Interpersonal Conflict, the theory is not used to characterize power status in situations concerning physical power and/or the use of violence, but instead “power is a property of the social relationship rather than the quality of the individual” (Hocker and Wilmot 116).  In other words, power is not something one owns, but instead is something that develops in the specific relationships that exist with another individual.  As Hocker and Wilmot concisely, but clearly put it, “power is a product of the communication relationship” (Hocker and Wilmot 116).  What contributes to the production of power?  Hocker and Wilmot explain that within the specific relationships qualities such as networking skills, love and affection, and economic resources result in one party “giving” power to the other party engaged…

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