Toward an operant model of power in organizations

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The purpose of this paper is to suggest that behavior analysis can help to explain social power. In this approach, an individual's potential for influence is thought to be partially a function of his or her access to stimuli that can be used as consequences. This access can occur either through direct authority or indirectly through social networks and exchanges. Social power is also thought to be a function of an individual's skill in delivering the stimuli in ways that will have the most impact on behavior. A number of predictions about power based on an operant approach are offered.

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The Behavior Analyst