Background Note | HBS Case Collection | January 1994 (Revised March 1995)

Power Dynamics in Organizations

by Linda A. Hill


Designed to introduce the concepts of power and power dynamics to students in the MBA second-year elective course Power and Influence. Defines "power" and "influence," and explores the role of power dynamics in managerial work and in the life of organizations. Combats popular notions that "power is evil" and that "power corrupts" by illustrating how power is necessary to bring about productive and creative resolutions to organizational conflict. Describes the positional and personal sources of individual power, and concludes with implications for assessing power dynamics in organizations as an important element of one's career management.

Keywords: Power and Influence; Organizations; Conflict and Resolution;


Hill, Linda A. "Power Dynamics in Organizations." Harvard Business School Background Note 494-083, January 1994. (Revised March 1995.)