CONCEPT OF POWER IN GOVERNMENT: MEANING, FORMS AND SOURCES

Simply put, power is the ability to make others do something they would not have done otherwise

It's also the ability to exert control over other people's activities to get them to do what you want.

It is the ability to influence the behaviour of others with or without the use of sanctions.

According to Keith Dowding, power is the ability to influence or control the behaviour of people.

To quote Max weber "Power is the probability that one actor within a social relationship will be in a position to carry out his will despite resistances’

Power is, therefore, the ability to compel others to do your wish through the use of sanctions.

It is the ability to impose one's will on others by relying on effective sanctions if they do not comply.

Forms of power

1. Political power: This is the power exercised by political office holders, such as the president, prime minister,  commissioners, parliamentarians,  ministers, etc.

It is the power held by the government that allows it to carry out its day-to-day activities of running the state.

Political power is usually obtained from the state constitution, and it is immediately revoked when a political officer's term ends or he or she is dismissed from office.

It is political power that allows the government's policies and acts to be legally binding on all citizens of the country.

2. Economic power: A person's ability to influence others' behaviour as a result of the economic resources he or she possesses.

Rich people frequently have economic power over the poor in most developing countries because they can bribe their way into having government policies or actions favour them.

3. Physical power: Also known as "naked power," physical power refers to the intimidating and commanding presence of people who are muscular and physically well built.

Physical is frequently a result of the holder's physical strength, and the holder can inflict bodily harm or injury on people who do not obey their command.

Informal security operatives, such as bouncers, typically employ physical power to protect their bosses or clients

4. Military power: As the name seems to suggest, Military power is the power exhibited by military men or people in uniform. 

Military powers involve the use of force and other instruments of suppression to compel obedience or exert influence.

Military power is largely exercised by the armed forces who usually use instruments of suppression to overthrow the government, quell riots and defend the state's internal and external borders.

5. Technical power: This is the power that people with specific skills and expertise, such as doctors, lawyers, and bankers, have over others.

Technical power is usually obtained through a lot of training. It is sometimes referred to as expertise power 

Sources of power 

1. The constitution: in most democratic states and other similar political settings, the constitutions confer individuals the power to make legally binding decisions on behalf of the state.

2. Inheritance: Power can also be acquired through inheritance.

This is particularly true in a monarchical society when power is passed down through the generations.

3. Wealth: Power, or more specifically, economic power can be acquired through the possession of essential resources.

Globally, we have seen countries with economic power such as the USA, and the UK wield influence on the economic policies of undeveloped countries.

This points to the existence of economic power.

4. Use of Charisma: Charisma is the ability to compel attractiveness in others, which can lead to devotion.

Charismatic power is usually derived from the holder's attributes and qualities, which allows them to exert influence on the behaviour of others.

A good example of a person who has exercised charismatic power is Nelson Mandela, who uses his sociable charisma to inspire a peaceful resistance against apartheid in South Africa.

5. Through coercion: As is often the case with a military takeover, power can be gained through the use of force.

Acquiring power through coercion is (or was) popular in Africa where armed forces overthrow governments by coups d'├ętat.

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6. Through expertise: Doctors, Lawyers have some power over others because they possess knowledge in a particular field that others do not possess.

Hence, people tend to follow the advice given to them.

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