Power and influence: assessing the conceptual relationship


Power and influence are fundamental concepts used in the social sciences. As closely-related concepts it is not easy to distinguish them clearly. There are diverse definitions for power and influence in academic literature. Different views are also held on the relationship between these concepts. The present article revisits these debates. The researcher explains the difficulties to define concepts in general and those of power and influence in particular. This is done by referring to academic attempts to clarify the meaning of the mentioned concepts and thereby their conceptual relationship. It is demonstrated that the debate is complicated and a final answer cannot be found that easily. However, this article explores the differences in meaning between the concepts from the literature. Based on these distinctions, the researcher identifies the concepts’ primary meanings as well as the areas where these meanings overlap. This article contributes by providing users of these concepts with conceptual markers that could help them use and integrate the concepts meaningfully.


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Copyright (c) 2020 Johan Zaaiman