Power Motivation

  • Heinz Heckhausen


Power — particularly its unequal distribution among individuals, social groups and nations — is a multifarious phenomenon which, like few others, has provoked explanations, justifications, and challenge. Bertrand Russell (1938) views power as the fundamental, unifying explanatory concept in the social sciences, analogous to energy as the fundamental explanatory concept in physics. At present the social and behavioral sciences are a long way from conceptualizing power as a central explanatory construct, but there is an unmistakable trend in that direction. The phenomena of power are complex. They are anchored in the ubiquitous aspects of social conflicts which arise from the incompatibility of the goals, or the means for achieving them, of various individuals or groups (cf. Swingle, 1970; Tedeschi, 1974). Power as a concept has a relatively negative connotation, because it is usually associated with coercion, oppression, force or unjustified domination.


Manifold Cortisol Income Norepinephrine Epinephrine 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heinz Heckhausen
    • 1
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für psychologische ForschungMünchen 40Germany

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