Power and domination are central concepts in social science and identifying the tipping point where power turns into domination is a topic that is at the heart of many studies. The difference between power and domination is simply defined as having power to or power over something or someone else.
In nature there are three basic types of power structure distinctive in mammals: (a) solo, (b) herd, and (c) hierarchical. Solo mammals like tigers and bears, live alone except for mating purposes. Herd mammals, like sheep and gazelles have no social structure but mingle around each other for safety in numbers to ward off predators. Hierarchical mammals, like wolves, chimps and humans, have an instinct for social organization which translates to top dogs and underdogs. For example, in an organizational environment with hierarchical power structures, people compete for higher ranks (Sommer, 2012). This can create a dog eat dog environment for individuals with self-interest motives that thirst for power. The unavoidable dynamic forces of power and domination become distorted because of individuals with hidden agendas, misguided views, and a misrepresentation of authority.
In his book, Unlimited Power, Tony Robbins (1977) states:
Power is the ability to change your life, shape your perceptions, make things work for you and not against you. Real power is shared, not imposed. It’s the ability to define human needs and fulfill them – yours and the needs of people you care about. It’s the ability to direct your own personal kingdom – your own thought processes, your own behavior – so you produce the precise results you desire (p. 5).
This is empowering information, however unless compassion is also embraced as an element, unlimited power without compassion encourages those with Machiavellian personalities that crave power to engage in practices that dominate others. These kind of individuals are willing to manipulate a situation or others to achieve personal gain and are more than willing to seek unauthorized and unethical means to attain power, control, fortune and fame in their domain (Baack, 2012). They engage in tactics seeking alliance with others like minded or content to act as followers, and use any means available to divide and conquer seeking to build their empires.
When an individual is in a role of authority, they can either choose to be leader that dominates others, using whatever means they can to achieve their end goal, or they can choose to be the kind of leader that helps people discover and develop their own unique qualities of greatness. These kinds of leaders find their success in the success of others. I believe we can harness the power of the mind to have, do, achieve and create anything we want. The key in how to achieves one’s goals lies within each individual’s moral compass.
Baack, D. (2012). Organizational behavior. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
Robbins, A. (1977). Unlimited Power. (p. 5). New York, NY: Free Press.
Sommer, L. (2012). Beyond office politics. Seattle, WA: CreateSpace Independent Publishing.