BERTRAM H. RAVEN is Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He received his Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan. While there, he was associated with the Research Center for Group Dynamics and worked closely with John R. P. French in the development of the Bases of Social Power model which is associated with their names. Though he has carried out research in various areas of social psychology (group performance; social comparison and self-evaluation; interdependence in group problem solving; cognitive dissonance and change in attitudes, beliefs, and behavior), it is theory and research in social power that has occupied his major attention. In addition to theoretical development, he has applied the basic theory to issues in health, education, and political behavior. Dr. Raven has been an active member of SPSSI; among other roles, he has served as both Editor of the Journal of Social Issues (1970–1973) and President of the Society (1973–1974). He is currently working on a book that will present in greater detail the Power/Interaction Model of Interpersonal Influence that is discussed in this article.
The Bases of Power: Origins and Recent Developments
Version of Record online: 14 APR 2010
1993 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
Journal of Social Issues
Volume 49, Issue 4, pages 227–251, Winter 1993
How to Cite
Raven, B. H. (1993), The Bases of Power: Origins and Recent Developments. Journal of Social Issues, 49: 227–251. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.1993.tb01191.x
- Issue online: 14 APR 2010
- Version of Record online: 14 APR 2010
The history and background of the analysis of the basis of power is examined, beginning with its origins in the works of Kurt Lewin and his followers at the Research Center for Group Dynamics, particularly the early research by John R. P. French. The original French and Raven (1959) bases of power model posited six bases of power: reward, coercion, legitimate, expert, referent, and informational (or persuasion; Raven, 1965), Since then, as the result of considerable research, the model has gone through significant developments. A more comprehensive model is presented here that reviews the following: various motivations of the influencing agent; an assessment of available power bases in terms of potential effectiveness, time perspective, personal preferences, values and norms; consideration of other strategies such as manipulation; utilization of various preparatory and stage-setting devices to strengthen one's power resources; implementation of the power strategies; assessment of effectiveness of influence attempt and its positive and/or negative aftereffects; use of various ameliorative devices; and review, reconsideration, and another round of influence strategies. The overall model is examined in terms of its applicability to various settings including hospital infection control, patient compliance with physicians' recommendations, confrontations between political figures, children's influence on their peers, conflict resolution and negotiation, as well as supervisor/subordinate relationships.