‘Power is the ability to achieve a purpose. Whether or not it is good or bad depends upon the purpose.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The same purpose could be good for some and bad for other. A lot depends on how it is perceived and who is it perceived by. The concepts of Power, Perception and Personality are intertwined in a way that each has an impact on the other. Power forms an inescapable feature of human social life. The standard understanding of power is the capacity to influence and that influence is based on the control of resources valued by others. Theorists have looked at the concept of Power in different ways. In Discipline and Punish (1979), Foucault conveys that power is universal and not centered in specific individuals, groups or institutions. In Weapons of the Weak (1985), Scott looks at less visible, everyday form of behaviors such as foot-dragging, evasion, false compliance, feigned ignorance, slander and sabotage as the ways in which power can be presented. Thus illustrating that power in all its forms – individual, soft, political, social, military, economic, and cultural, legitimate and illegitimate – does not necessarily transcend from the powerful to the powerless but may work in both directions.
Power in both its visible and less visible forms, is ubiquitous and has a profound impact on the individual and society. The impact, however, differs from individual to individual and societies to societies. This is where perception and personality come into the picture. Each of us has a particular way of perceiving and making sense of the world around us. These differences may be a result of personality, which is a set of distinctive individual characteristics, including motives, emotions, values, interests, attitudes and competencies. Change – personal, societal, political or ideological – is then a result of an interaction of personal traits interacting with the situation, how one perceives the situation and how power is played out in these situations.
The conference will bring together faculty, researchers, practicing managers and scholars who will share their own experiences, perspectives and research in the areas such as organizational change, social influence, resistance and social movements among others. Our objective is to explore an integrated approach of looking at change as this may have potential to transform the way we look at individual, social and global issues.