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Sources of Power of Lower Participants in Complex Organizations

David Mechanic
Administrative Science Quarterly
Vol. 7, No. 3 (Dec., 1962), pp. 349-364
DOI: 10.2307/2390947
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2390947
Page Count: 16
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Sources of Power of Lower Participants in Complex Organizations
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Abstract

This paper explores various factors that account for the power of secretaries, hospital attendants, prison inmates, and other lower participants within organizations. Power is seen as resulting from access to and control over persons, information, and instrumentalities. Among the variables discussed affecting power are normative definitions, perception of legitimacy, exchange, and coalitions. Personal attributes related to power include commitment, effort, interest, willingness to use power, skills, and attractiveneses. Finally, various attributes of social structure are discussed which also help to account for the power of lower participants: time spent in the organization, centrality of position, duality of power structures, and replaceability of persons.

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