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date: 21 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Researchers view the significance of power in a variety of ways. Some see this as vested in organizations' need for control in their relationships with others. Others regard power — the power to achieve ends more effectively through joint action — as an important positive outcome from a productive relationship between organizations. For a third group, the significance of power is embodied in the term ‘empowerment’. The perspectives on power in the inter-organizational relationship (IOR) literature also vary across many other dimensions. This article identifies, compares, and integrates views across several of these. Its overall perspective is on what research says about the operation of power in IOR settings: the processes through which things are influenced, what power is used for, and how it can be appropriated. Before introducing these dimensions, however, this article provides a brief overview of some of the IOR contexts in which power issues are raised.

Keywords: power, empowerment, organizations, research, IOR literature

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