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Influence and Power

The weight of influence is the degree to which policies are affected, the domain of influence, the persons whose policies are affected the scope of influence, the value implicated in the policies .

In order to determine the influence of an actor one has to first take note of the amount of change in the position of the actor influenced. But a more objective assessment of the amount of change is not always true indicator of the weight of influence.

Again in estimating the weight of influence the probability of compliance in a situation prior to the exercise of influence is also a consideration one can hardly neglect. The domain of influence refers to the number of persons influenced.

Power is a special kind of influence. It is the use or a threat of the use of sanctions that differences power from influence in general. The sanctions involved in power need not always have to be an actual or threatened deprivation inflicting penalties and losses on others. They may also be applied in the form of giving or promising to give rewards like wealth or honor. The former is an instance of negative sanctions while the latter is a case of the use of positive sanctions.

Power is the capacity to affect others behavior by the use or the threat of the use of positive or negative sanctions. Positive sanction in the form of a promise reward however may in some cases get transformed into a negative sanction.

Since power is capacity to affect other's behavior it is basically relational and not a simple personal property. One can have power only over others. Thus the very sound of the word power prompts one asks: Power over whom? Sometimes we tend to understand power as such without trying to place it in the context of its use against others.

Thus we take a nation as powerful just because it has enormous military strength or a family as powerful since it has great wealth. We take power as identical with military strength or wealth but the fact that it is our experience that military strength wealth enables a nation or a family to acquire power over others. Thus in such cases the relational aspect is implicit in our very understanding.

The nature of political power can't be fully known unless the pattern of its distribution is thoroughly studied. The way the political power is distributed determines who are the most powerful in a political community who play a decisive role in the reconciliation of conflicts that constitutes the content of politics.