Order and Power
Group, Power, Leader, Concentration of Power,
Power Struggle and Resulting Order
| Boston -2004 |
How to Read This Material?
Dynasties and empires are blooming and disappearing, leaving a rich deposit of
artifacts and memories. They have kings and presidents. They inherit posts and
select delegates. They form kingdoms and republics. But in small country or on a
large island, remote tribe or prosperous city, everywhere we see leaders set to
reach their goals with people fighting vigorously alongside.
Questions that fed this investigation started upon trying to find a common
feature linking together all governments including socialist and capitalist. It
seemed back then that just one measure, one rule divides centralized regimes
from liberal ones. A tremendous desire sparkled years ago to place all types of
government on one line, a little to the left, and a little to the right, with a
magical "proper" middle that will answer all questions and cure all pains.
1991 brought news of breakup of USSR. Questions about revolutions and peaceful
transitions, questions of measurement of power and power strength started to pop
up. Being a witness to a smooth transition from Russian Empire to fifteen new
states, comparing people's accounts of the same events from 1917 brought a new
array of questions into forefront. What seemed to be so strong and unbreakable was
smashed almost overnight and almost without an organized effort.
Historical questions of so called fair or "natural" tribal existence and unfair
tyrannical rule never left my mind. What is fair in power distribution and why
for so many centuries the only power model that worked was monarchy? At the same
time what is so durable and unbreakable in USA constitution that keeps working
for so long? Did humanity find a magical formula of stability and democracy for
Literature on power is extremely enlightening, but most of the authors introduce
their own terminology, and a lot of questions remain unanswered. "Writing a book
about power seems a bit like jumping into a bottomless pit. There are a lot of
things around you, but there is also this overwhelming sense of emptiness.
There are things to be encountered and grasped at along the way, but for the most
part they are so mixed and ungrounded." [Prus R., Beyond the Power Mystique, 1999,
p. XIII]. I am looking for a firm ground and clarity. I am trying to answer the
question: what are the common laws of power in all social structures. If such laws
do exist, I would like to answer all related power questions based on these laws.
Among them: question of personal versus institutional power; best ways to govern
at war and during peace; how to avoid social catastrophes and destructive
We will start with definition of some universal social structure that was
created by power, governed by power and potentially holds the secret of power.
At this point we do not know, what the power is. Selecting initial model as a tool
for analysis is a leap of faith. After rejecting several starting points, we
finally stopped our choice on an organized group, and it seems to be working
for the purposes of this investigation.
The structure of this paper is Introduction, First Round, Second Round and Conclusion.
Here are the reasons for such structure. Introduction gives terms and sets a problem.
Note that starting point of investigation is a GROUP. Introduction is aimed to prove
that initial group order should exist before term power can be first used. First and
Second Rounds have identical logical structure: Power --> Leader --> Concentration of
Power --> Power Struggle --> Order. They are different in level of analysis. Examining
the same concepts second time allows usage of definitions and discoveries from the
First Round. Conclusion further separates order and power and unites the investigation
of power problems through the history of mankind.
Three authors influenced this work the most. Jean-Jacques Rousseau conquered me
with his idea of universal social compact. Bertrand Russell captivated me with
his clarity of definitions and scope of ideas and concepts. And John Kenneth
Galbraith gave me new understandings with his ability to simplify matters and
categorize seemingly unrelated trends and processes.
Introduction of a Problem
Groups and Group Decision-Making
Definition of a Group
Most collective enterprises are only possible if some governing body
directs them. Whenever there is an acute danger, the impulse of most
people is to seek authority and submit to it [Russell, Power, 1938,
p.17, 19]. Groups can achieve goals that are beyond the
scope of any given individual within the group.
Group is a starting point and target of this investigation. Group
is a conglomerate of individuals. This is a very wide definition. This
definition only tells the fact that some composition of people can
form a group, and that group always contains some number of people.
Group can be a conglomerate of sub-groups, but that doesn't contradict
the initial definition. All sub-groups consist of people and, thus, the
whole group consists of people.
Some examples of groups are countries, corporations, teams,
congregations, military units, cabinet of ministers, parliaments,
international organizations, political parties, families, children,
teenagers, males and females, all humanity. Group is any
distinguishable combination of individuals.
Group consists of members. Group members can be individuals or sub-
groups. Sub-group is a smaller group within given larger group. Sub-
group can be a member of a larger super-group. Super-group is a group
that contains a given group and some other groups.
Group membership is a collection of rules on becoming a group member
and leaving the group. Membership allows drawing a line between the
group and the group environment. Members are forming the group. All
non-members can be referred as group environment.
Group operates in an environment filled with other groups, individuals and
resources. On the one hand, group environment is an arena for interaction
with other groups and individuals. "Whether an organization is geographical
or cultural or ideological, it will always have two sorts of relations, those
to its own members, and those to the outside world." [Russell, Authority and
the Individual, 1949, p.62] On the other, group environment is a pool for
new members, new resources and new dangers. Group utilizes its resources to
recruit, to gain and to protect. Every group emerges from the environment,
grows and lingers in the environment and disappears into environment leaving
behind members and resources.
Group environment is a starting point of a group. Either composed from below
by a union of members or decreed from above by a super-group, any group must
use resources of its members or resources of a super-group to get started.
However, once assembled, group gains its own set of interests, its own
momentum and urge to survive regardless of the environment.
Within a vast variety of groups there are groups
with regulated membership and contributing members. These criteria
constitute an organized group. Organized group is a
conglomerate of contributing members with regulated membership and
common recourses. Member of an organized group is a contributing
person or a contributing sub-group. Member contribution can take a
form of property (money) or action (time, participation).
Groups, where membership rules are not defined,
or members do not require to contribute are called artificial
groups. For example, group of supporters for a certain candidate is
an artificial group. It doesn't control membership and have no
formal rules for joining and leaving. Although, in everyday
language we call it a group, it is not an organized group.
Artificial groups are not part of this investigation.
Definition of organized group consists of three elements: regulated
membership, contributing members and common recourses. Regulated
membership means that group and each member are aware of rules of
entering and leaving the group. It means that group controls membership,
and each individual member knows one's membership status. One of the
interesting examples of regulated membership is citizenship, with complex
rules of becoming a citizen, losing one's citizenship and entangling
contradictions of multiple citizenships.
Well-established organized groups had time to formalize and even write
down their membership rules. Such groups can be investigated as a
composition of rules and regulations. Say, United States can be viewed as
a conglomerate of people or a conglomerate of states. And membership of
both people and states are strictly regulated, providing a good example of
an organized group. Actively forming organized groups might not yet have
written down membership rules, but it doesn't make them less organized or
deduct from their power.
Term contributing members in the definition of organized group
refers to a set of mandatory members' obligations before the group. Each
member must periodically contribute a predetermined portion, some in form
of resources and some in form of participation.
Contributing member must be distinguished from a paying customer and from a
hired employee. Paying customer provides membership fees, as a payment for
some usage. But this contribution doesn’t buy customer a share in group
decision-making. Similar situation can be observed with owner and employees.
Any amount of hard work doesn’t qualify as a share in company decision-making.
But as soon as we are switching our focus to a group of co-workers within one
project or one department, or one board of directors, we see an example of
organized group with contributing members. Everyone is obligated to
contribute (time and effort), and quantity and quality of efforts can
influence member's position in a group.
Prisoners in jail, kids in a kindergarten, as well as paid customers in
assisted living centers are not contributing members of an organization that
hosts them. At the same time, examined in relation to each other, they can be
regarded as an organized group, contributing their time. Membership here is
also regulated, but from outside of the group.
Phrase common resources in the definition of organized group refer to a
set of group obligations before each member. Organized group can control some
external recourses beyond the simple sum of member’s contributions. Country
has its territory, its language, its identity. City has its roads, its location
and schools. Parliament has its building, its budget and its fame. Department
has its project, its status and its payroll. These external resources might be
accessible to group members through a set of group rules.
Are all members of organized group are willing
participants? Organized groups can be formed as a free union of its
members or, by forceful actions of a smaller organized group. Both
types of groups have the same nature. Both types of groups are
based on an initial agreement and definitions of group membership
still works for both. Initial agreement forms a body of a group. A
simple sum of group members is a body of newly formed group. In
that sense, all members of an organized group are willing
It is very hard to find examples of groups,
formed by free union of equal members (say, formation of the United
States). And even when we seem to find such examples, they all can
be interpreted as demonstration of some external force or need. At
the end, all groups are formed by organizing force of a few
prominent members, they all based on some kind of an agreement, and
some of them will develop a sense of group identity and will last,
the rest will soon disappear.
What Holds a Group Together?
Organized group requires each member to contribute. Why people would
contribute anything to a group? What is the basis for group
membership? What unites all group members? Very first disagreement
should split the group and destroy it from inside. What is holding
those groups together? What makes some groups stronger and some weaker?
First extreme answer is a force. Some perpetual force makes all
members to contribute against their will. Rousseau in his Social
Contract [Rousseau, The Social Contract and The Discourses, 1993,
p.185, 189] tried to prove that human group cannot be based on force
or on slavery, because it doesn't create a foundation for a
legitimate right. Rousseau argumentation was inspired by desire to
prove that the ruler and their people are of the same nature.
It is true that groups can be formed by forceful actions (like a
conquest), but group existence and operation requires halt of
hostilities between its members and some kind of an agreement. So,
while fighting is going on, group does not exist. Person, who is
resisting his current status of non-freedom, can't be regarded as
member of a group. Group can appear and start functioning only after
fighting stops and sides enter into an agreement.
Person, who is no longer fighting and temporary submitting to a
status of perceived non-freedom, enters into an agreement and can be regarded
as a member of a group. So, what is important, is the fact of an
agreement in place, but not the attitude toward it. Group can be
formed by force, but it is always based on an agreement. To
illustrate an unpleasant agreement, we can use an example of paying
income taxes. One can hate the procedure, call it unfair and
ridiculous, but still "willingly" year after year hire accountants
and make accurate and timely payments.
Second extreme answer to a question "What holds a group together?" is a voluntary slavery. Group members are
voluntarily submitting to rules of a group and contribute due to
this sense of submission. If member voluntarily submits to group
rules, this member can as freely choose not to submit. In that case
we are losing the basis for the answer. If all are free to choose
group slavery, they are equally free to choose freedom from the
The third preliminary to the question of membership contribution
is a bargain. Group member contributes a required share in
exchange for group benefits. Word benefits can mean, for example,
life. Citizen of a communist country contributes to his country in
exchange for a benefit of not being arrested and killed. At the same
time, inhabitants of high-tax town are exchanging their contribution
for better schools and access to social centers. In both cases
members can choose to leave, jeopardizing their group benefits: life
in the first case or prestige in the second.
One can talk about some magical mechanism that allows each member to
compare group benefits with required contributions and make a
qualified decision on staying or leaving the group. And it might be
true at the beginning of group existence. But apparently, things get
much more complicated as group grows and matures.
Another explanation for a group stable existence over a long period
of time could be appearance of group consciousness. All the group
benefits, group strength, and group traditions are eventually
forming something independent from any individual member but living
in members' individual minds. This independent group consciousness
starts to accumulate into group behavioral patterns, carry group
good and bad and actively influence minds of new members.
In the Appendix to his Escape from Freedom, called Character and the
Social Process, Erich Fromm introduces term social character as a
"part of character structure that is common to most members of the
group" [Fromm, Escape from Freedom, 1994, p.275].
The most vivid demonstrations of existence of group consciousness
are language, religion, sense of group identity, sudden bursts of
economic development and sharp cultural growth in various areas of
group activity. The longer group exists, the more power it gains
over individual mind (in absence of other competing groups). Over a
course of his life, a person becomes a member of various organized
groups formed by location, faith, ideology, professional and
personal interests. All those groups influence this person through a
group consciousness. Social identity of a person is growing as a
collection of group consciousnesses.
Group consciousness appears as organized group matures and becomes
dynamic storage of group identity, group habits, group wisdom, and
group behavior. Elimination of a group will destroy a group body, as
a sum of its members. But group consciousness can linger for a long
time in the minds of former group members and their descendants.
Initial Order as a Collective Decision-Making
All group members are engaged in their customary every-day
functions. Environment behaves predictably. There are enough
recourses at hand. Some customary traditional order emerges from a
But problems and unforeseen circumstances arise. It could be group
members that are not functioning the way they ought to, or
environment is changing, or resources are thinning out. A need for a
group decision appears. A need to solve problems that is not a part
of group every-day experience.
It doesn't matter if group has to deal with internal or external
decisions, if those decisions are immediate or impending. Group has
to make those decisions. Even before any formal organization, group
has to create some ways of functioning and solving problems.
Mechanism of collective decision-making should be created.
Even if group has an appointed boss, he still has to make decisions
in the best interest of the group. He still has to take into account
group members, and this can be called if not a collective
decision-making, but group decision-making.
How group decision-making is possible? What is a driving force
behind group decision-making?
Power - Leader - Concentration - Struggle - Order
Power as a Decision-Making Authority
Group members participate in decision-making of a group. Members are
using their decision-making authority. Individual group member can
have various degrees of decision-making authority from none to all.
Is there a name for member's decision-making authority? This name is
Power is a decision-making authority of an individual member within
a group. This is the first definition of power.
What is decision-making authority? Is this definition of power any
good if we used in it some term authority that is very vague and
hard to define?
Decision-making authority refers to a share of decision-making for a
single group member. First definition of power is built on the fact
that any organized group has to make decisions and actually does
make decisions. It is also built on a reasonable belief, that group
members have some participation in group decision-making. Some has
more and some has less. Definition unites these two understandings
and introduces term power as a reference to various degrees of
members' involvement in group decision-making.
Why definition of power as a decision-making authority doesn't
include any referenced to ability to implement made decisions?
Definition of power is based on definition of organized group. Group
members are willing participants. Word "willing" means that they
have chosen to obey group rules either voluntarily, or by tradition,
or by initial force. Members of a group are not in fight with a
group. If they are, they are not members of a group, and they are
outside of group decision-making. So, definition of power, as a
decision-making authority is based on universal acceptance of group
decisions by group members.
Group decisions are compulsory for group members and group has right
to enforce group decisions on group members. If group is unable to
enforce its decisions on all group members, it means that group
effectively lost part of its members.
Why first definition of power does not include any referenced to
force, money or information? Raw force, money and information can be
exchanged for favorable group decisions. Do they constitute power?
When we define decision-making authority within an organized group,
we do not know what the strength behind each individual member is.
It could a number of things including supporters, property, force,
wisdom or any combination of these. Definition of power does not
include the source of authority. Definition of power only refers to
a combined result, stressing the fact that decision-making authority
can vary among group members.
Group decision-making is a relation. That is why, power is a
relation between group members about decision-making. As any
relation it has two sides. Member authority in decision-making
interacts with all other members' authorities. From a single member
standpoint, individual authority is power, and all other authorities
are regarded as support & resistance.
The other side of relation of power is support & resistance. Power
of one member of a group meets support & resistance from the rest of
the group. Term support and resistance does not have any positive or
negative connotation in it. Group members very often do not even
realize that their actions represent support & resistance as a
response to someone's power.
Group members have an innumerable variety of responses to power. Any
group member, who is trying to apply power upon other group members,
will receive a variety of responses that can be interpreted in terms
of support & resistance. Term support & resistance covers the entire
spectrum of responses to power and includes support, agreement,
neutrality, disagreement and resistance.
How resistance to a group decision-making gets reconciled with a
notion of group members as willing participants? Resistance to a
decision-making authority is perfectly compatible with being a
member of an organized group. Resistance to group decisions is not.
Individual members, resisting group decisions, will be excluded
through some form of punishment. Resistance to group decisions by
organized sub-groups puts these sub-groups outside the group
decision-making procedure and outside the group. This type of
resistance turns into an open conflict and gets resolved by some
combination of 2 possible alternatives.
One alternative leads to elimination of disagreeing sub-groups.
Sometimes sub-groups can simply leave the group. This is possible if
members of sub-groups can leave the group without leaving behind
their property. This is the case with defecting geographical regions
or defecting party factions. On the other hand, some sub-groups can
only be excluded by elimination. This is the case when separation of
sub-groups is impossible and it is true in most Civil wars.
Other alternative is to modify the original group decision that
caused initial resistance and split. When group is unwilling to
lose its members due to disagreement, decisions are corrected, and
power gets somewhat redistributed from majority to other sub-groups.
Once again, ability to implement group decisions is not spelled out
in a definition of power, but decisions beyond one's decision-making
authority will result in either reduction of a group decision-making
scope, or internal redistribution of power, or both.
In most cases support and resistance display themselves in a mixture
of those two alternatives. In a fight between Protestants and
Catholics in XVI century France, we see both a tendency to purge
(St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre of 1572) and a tendency to
compromise (Edict of Nantes of 1598). Eventually majority prevailed
and Louis XIV expelled the Protestants out of France in XVII
century, but this is an example when majority have to decide between
extermination and tolerance.
In a group with a few strong players every member carries a
significant portion of decision-making authority. In that case
difference between power and support & resistance becomes blurry.
When all players are of a comparable size, every member considers
his power potential against power potentials of other members. One
strong member evaluates his power potentials compared with powers of
other individual members, or with support & resistance potential of
a group as a whole.
Our definition of power necessarily brings us to a first law of
power. Power only exists within an organized group. All other
peaceful or force interactions outside an organized group like wars,
competition, trade and so on, are not decision-making relations, and
they are not relations of power.
One individual can exercise the force of power over other individual
only if both of those individuals are members of the same organized
group. So master has power over slave, officer has power over
solder, boss has power over employee. And all this is only possible
through belonging to the same organized group. Hostilities within a
group break up the group and stop the relations of power and support
If relation of power only exists within an organized group, how
power displays itself outside an organized group? The answer is
through a struggle and power struggle. Power within the group
enables group to fight the natural environment and fight the
surrounding groups. But this matter is for later discussion.
Can one group have power over other groups? Or is it just an
influence, but not power? And what is influence, then? Where in this
model there is a possibility to extend group power to a larger scope
of people? Can power be given by members, but taken by a foreign
invader? Can we answer all these questions within our original
definition of power?
Let's examine if our definition of power is sufficient and does not
contain logical contradictions. Do we need to supplement term power
with additional definition of some influences and zones of interest?
Consider example, when large country L does not have a direct
decision-making authority over other country X. But somehow, we
observe a great deal of dependence in decisions of surrounding
countries X, Y and Z from decisions in this large country L. If
people of countries X, Y and Z are not members of country L, then
country L cannot have power over people from countries X, Y and Z.
Before answering, let's look at the same situation from a different
angle. What if countries U, X, Y and Z are all members of the same
organization? It could be a trade organization, or military
organization, or any other international union with regulated
membership. In that case, we are dealing with an organized group and
every member country has some degree of a decision-making authority
within group. When group is examined from country L point of view,
all other countries are just members. Countries interact as members
in this group, and we do not need any supplemental terminology in
But how do we differentiate between decision-making and just plain
threatening? If one country makes a significant war preparations and
surrounding countries have to change their budgets and their
diplomacy as a response, is this also qualifies as an authority in
decision-making? No. In that case, changes in decision-making of
surrounding countries can be attributed to changes in the
environment. If countries are in a conflict or at war with each
other, they are struggling, but their struggle is not a relation of
power. Hence, decision-making influence of country L over
belligerent countries X, Y and Z is explained as changes in the
environment of those countries. Environment changes, and so, group
has to change.
We do not need a strict definition for term "influence" as some side
effect of relation of power. Word "influence" used here in a normal
linguistic sense, as traceable dependence of one thing from another.
Extending group power over larger amount of people would mean
including more members in the realm of the group. Conquest and
recruitment are the most direct ways of extending group membership.
Entering into existing and forming new super-groups are less direct,
but mote settled way of extending scope of group decision-making.
Group consists of members, and members have different degrees of
decision-making authority. "Relationships based on differential
power exist actually or potentially in all human groups." [Service,
Origins of the State and Civilization, 1975, p.71] Who gets the
bigger share of power? Who gets all the power?
The short answer is the members with ready solutions. A longer
answer is people who are good as leaders and who like to lead.
"Those who most desire power are those most likely to acquire it"
[Russell, Power, 1938, p.14]. Similar examples we can draw from any
other sphere of human activity. The best players, for example, are
those who play well and who like to play a certain game.
A lot of books are written about what leaders actually do. I like
approach given by Frederick Bailey. He stated that real situations
are messy and complicated and people's will is paralyzed with
uncertainty. Leader must simplify situation to a few short sentences
and then make people act as if the simplified picture were the
reality [Bailey, Humbuggery and Manipulation, 1988, p.2].
Any group of people has some dominant personalities. Even group of
two people usually has a dominant figure. Initially, faster and
louder members get the power. Some group members with ready
solutions almost magically meet a group need for an urgent solution.
Some people are good at sports, some at science, some at art. So it
is not a big surprise, that some people are good at making quick
decisions even under pressure.
Existence of leadership skills, as a special set of human skills, is
widely recognized in literature. Some call it impulse to power, love
for power [Russell, Power, 1938], an art of leadership [Kotter, What
Leaders Really Do, 1999], an art of decision-making [Berle, Power,
Group members with large share of power are called informal leaders.
They gain their initial authority through an ability to talk,
inspire, organize and accomplish. Informal leaders gain their
strength from their supporters. It is tempting to divide into
separate categories ability to deliver a program of actions, ability
to implant this program into minds of multitude, ability to organize
the effort and accomplish the tasks. But in reality, leader has to
have all of these abilities in one through recognizing people's
talents in writing, in speaking, in organizing, in administering and
in actually doing things.
Word "informal" in term informal leader refers to an absence of
formal rules of obedience. Informal leaders acquire power
personally. It means that informal leader is always a person.
Informal leaders can expand their power by widening their
decision-making scope. Power expansion is done (1) by extending
ranks of supporters and (2) by entering larger super-groups or
forming new super-groups.
In the context of this investigation it is not very important who
gets the power. But it is important to understand that appearance of
informal leaders in any group both possible and necessary. It is
possible because love for power is very unevenly distributed
[Russell, Power, 1938, p.14]. It is necessary, because any group
needs quick and decisive actions, and collective decision-making is
too slow, noisy and paralyzing. Some of the ablest leaders known to
history has arisen in revolutionary situations [ibid., p.21], as if
answering the urgent call for leadership.
Informal leaders are born without knowledge about their special
skills in leadership, like programmers or artists or anyone else. They
are unaware of a skill what will be recognized as useful in groups they will
be associated with. Informal leaders create nucleus for a potential
crystallization. Informal leaders become centers for future
concentration of power.
Concentration of Power through Supporters
If power remains in more than one pair of hands, a decision-making
mechanism is needed. The answer to collective decision-making is
concentration of power.
Any argument produces supporters and opposition. Any suggestion
almost immediately brings an attitude: positive, negative or
neutral. Based on those attitudes sub-groups might appear, that will
unite members, sharing the same opinion.
Informal leader needs to concentrate all the power of his supporters
to push his solution through. Correct term should be delegation and
concentration of power. Leaders gravitate power. They concentrate
power in their hands.
In the context of informal leader and his supporters, we can speak
of such forms of delegation and concentration of power as elections
and vote in general, donations, membership fees, obedience and
self-discipline. There are no formal rules of conduct and obedience
yet. Concentration of power occurs based on leader's ability to
demonstrate advantageous and practical solutions, and on supporters'
desire to see those solutions implemented.
Delegation of Power
Delegation of power is the other side of concentration of power.
Members delegate their power to leaders. Why any one would give up
his/her decision-making authority and what they hope to receive in
First, can my decision-making authority be temporary delegated to
other member of a group? Yes. A soon as I express any support to
opinions or proposed solutions of other member of a group, I
demonstrate, that my decision-making authority can be transferred to
other member of a group.
Second, how my share of group decision-making can be orderly shifted
to some other group member? Through group membership. Group
membership requires recognition of group rules, and this recognition
is the most basic instrument of delegation of power. If group do not
recognize you as a group member, you do not have a decision-making
authority to delegate. If you do not recognize group rules, you will
be expelled or force to leave the group. You will loose your
decision-making authority to delegate.
Third, why people choose to delegate their power? People choose to
delegate their decision-making authority in exchange for group
membership. Some do it out of ignorance, unaware of any rights to
participate in group decision-making. Some do it out of conviction
of right way, taken by his representatives. Some do it out of
necessity to obey majority. And finally, some choose not to
delegate, but to concentrate their decision-making authority and
become informal leaders.
Decision-making authority of a single member in a large group is
very insignificant. One way of delegating decision-making authority
is to neglect it. Many organized groups do not even have special
mechanisms of delegation of power. In organizations this delegation
of power is build into hierarchical structure and supposed
understood by all members from the moment of joining.
In most organized groups members are delegating their power to the
strongest force. Even groups with periodical election make all
members to delegate their power to holder of majority. Individual
members can choose to vote for any candidate, or they can even
choose to ignore the vote. In any case, their individual power will
be delegated to strongest leader.
Several types of delegation of power can be distinguished. (1)
Hierarchical groups make members delegate power by an initial
agreement. Every member understands that one level of
decision-making is under another level of decision-making. (2)
Delegation of power by tradition can be observed, when group does
not have any procedures to discover members' preferences in
selection of its decision-makers. (3) Delegation of power to
strongest occurs when individual members and sub-groups are unable
to request a change. (4) Election of a single candidate delegates
power to a majority leader. (5) Vote for political platforms and
composing decision-making body in proportion to election results
delegates power to supporters of majority platform. This form still
delegates power to majority, but without killing the efforts of
minority voters and non-voters. If power is delegated on
proportional principal, non-voters actually influence the results
and modify final composition of decision-makers.
All those types of delegation of power require consent of all group
members. Any form of group internal fight (like civil war) is an
indicator, that delegation of power does not work for all members of
a group. It means that group is broken apart and two or more
belligerent groups are now appeared.
Power Struggle of Opinions
Informal leaders enter into a power struggle with each other. Each
of them (leaders) has strength of his supporters behind him. Each
demonstrates advantages of proposed solution and disadvantages of
others. Now group decision-making has to advance one step further
and select one group solution out of range of proposed solutions.
This stage called power struggle of opinions.
Power struggle of opinions is the last stage of group
decision-making, and it is the least organized form of a group
decision-making. Power struggle takes forms of confrontation and
cooperation, adjustment and compromise. Power struggle further
reduces the number of participants by delegation and concentration
of power, merging and elimination.
Informal leaders reduce complexity of problems to a simple Yes/No
form and offer it for a vote. Vote concentrates power by temporary
negating all lesser powers. Vote is a form of power struggle, which
results in concentration of power in the hands of majority.
Group decision-making went through several stages before reaching a
solution. First, several informal leaders appeared with proposed
solutions. Second, each viable leader concentrated his strength
through supporters and proposed plan of action. Third, leaders
entered into power struggle of opinions. And, finally, a solution
was reached. This cycle will be repeated over and over again to
generate traditions of group decision-making. Even when a single
group representative has to make an important group decision, he
might need to reproduce this very procedure with assistance of his
advisers and staff members.
These stages of group decision-making demonstrate that group can
make decisions, and the result of a power struggle of opinions is a
solution that represents a temporary compromise of remaining
Order and Power
This section concludes the first round of investigation. So far we
traveled along the logical chain from need for a group decision to
definition of power, to informal leaders with their abilities to
concentrate power, to power struggles between those informal
leaders. Looks like, we have concluded the cycle from an urgent need
for a group decision to an actual decision. The only thing left to
do is to define this very cycle.
From the dawn of times social animals and man himself had to make
various urgent decisions, affecting the entire group. It doesn't
matter if some of these groups are not human and some of those
decisions are not made by human brains. What important is the fact,
that some positive manner of solving problems has to be established
and does actually get established with time.
Group order is this constructive manner of solving group problems.
Initial group order might have originated from traditions, from
survival instincts to obey the strongest or from any previous
instances of dangers and survivals. Even without language and
without human cognitive abilities, colonies of ants manage to build
their cone-like homes, and birds are following the lead, when
migrating, decide where to stop and when to continue.
Order is a formed tradition of dealing with group problems. This
definition doesn't refer to any particular right or natural law.
This definition is based on a simple fact, that in order to exist
human group has to find a way to solve problems and make decisions.
Any form of decision-making cycle that doesn't lead to destruction
of a group is called order.
Problems require decisions. Informal leaders emerge with solutions.
Group somehow makes its choice, and first procedures are born and
recorded if only in collective memory. Group decision-making then
hardened in traditions and laws. Order is formed either by one-time
forceful action, like conquest, or by consent of an entire group.
Order represents some form of an agreement, requires halt of
hostilities between group members, and is a will of the entire
According to definition of order as a positive cycle of group
decision-making, order includes and defines procedures of
concentration and delegation of power, tells how to deal with
disagreements and, in that sense, order includes and controls power
as a decision-making authority. At the same time, order itself is
created and changed by power. Power has an ability to change
Power relies on order. Order regulates power. Order includes rules
of changing order. Order replaces power: power is not needed in
orderly, regulated situations. Group members enter into relations
with each other and most of these relations are regulated. Many
aspects of human interaction within a group are regulated by laws or
maintained by traditions. Power is not needed when people engaged in
regulated interactions. Money are changing hands, contracts get signed
and fulfilled, violators and criminals get their punishments and the
whole group seems working just fine without any need for power.
When order fails on one of the levels of group interaction, request
goes to a higher level to restore order. From failed level this
request looks like a request for power, but for the whole system it
is just a familiar procedure of handling problems. When all lower
levels have failed to resolve the problem, request reaches the top,
and leader action looks like power action for all lower levels,
where the problem was generated and not handled. If leader is unable
to resolve the problem, or do not have enough time to implement a
solution, the problem can resolve itself outside the group, by
harming the group or group members, or by strengthening surrounding
As we can see, orderly procedures are created to solve group
problems in some predetermined and uniform way. Order within a group
provides a mechanism to cope with complexities and unpredictability
of real life. In that sense, order replaces power. Group order
matures with a proven history of solved problems. Order gains a
resistance to change. Order resistance to change is based on the
fact, that order not only solves problems, but it also regulates
decision-making. Order regulates power, order regulates distribution
of decision-making authority, and that is why, changing order
requires more and more power as group matures.
Power - Leader - Concentration - Struggle - Order
Power as an Ability to Change Order
We are done with preliminaries. Now we have a definition of power as
a decision-making authority of a single group member. And we have a
definition of order as positive manner of resolving group problems.
Using this definitions, established in the First Round, we are ready
to proceed. We still have to limit this analysis by isolating a
single group and regarding influences of surrounding groups as
changes in the environment.
How power and order relate to each other within one group? Power is
both within and outside of the order. Power is partially within the
order, as various decision-making procedures are regulated by order.
It means that part of decision-making rights are written, canonized
or otherwise regulated by laws and traditions. Power is partially
outside the order, as real-live presents ever-changing situations.
Real-life problems are not exactly the repetition of problems
previously solved. And individual actions are not exactly the repetitions of
previous actions. Some actions are not regulated, and some actions
violate prescribed order.
Order is both within and outside power. Order is partially within
one's power, as regulated portion of member's decision-making
authority is included in group order. Order is mostly outside one's
power, as a regulated decision-making authorities of other members
compose most of its body.
Power changes order, by changing regulated uniform procedures to
solve group problems. Order controls power, by regulating rules of
group decision-making. As a result, power is needed to change order.
Second definition of power: power is an ability to change order. Why
this definition is very important and why the same term - power - is
now getting a second definition? Power, as a decision-making
authority, is a procedural definition. This definition explains
origin of power. This definition allows introduction of term "order"
and provides foundation for understanding of order. Power, as an
ability to change order, is a functional definition. This definition
is based on procedural definition of power, and can be introduced
only after group order has been defined and understood.
Two definitions of term power do not contradict each other.
Functional definition of power is a logical construction, based on
previous definitions. Functional definition of power is the
definition of the same relation, but with reference to a different
terminology. Functional definition of power provides a logical
shortcut to inter-relation between order and power and saving us
all the logical work that was done between introduction of two
Order provides rules and regulations on changing existing order.
Based on this understanding we can distinguish legitimate and force
power. Legitimate power is an ability to change order within order.
Force power is an ability to change power outside of order.
Our second definition of power, as an ability to change the order,
brings us to a second law of power. The only product of power is
order. Can power be wasteful, and do not produce any order? Yes.
Power can be wasteful and do not produce any results. But the normal
output of power is order, and this output can be measured in
strength and stability of group order that is emerging.
Can group order be changed by outside powers? Can power in one area
of group activity be exchanged for influence in the other areas of
group activity? Does power has some degrees and measures? To answer
these questions even preliminary we need to introduce new
Long-term relations between members are established through
interactions. Interactions are one-time events. Interactions always
take form of a request and reply. Null-reply means no reply and
constitutes a reply. Request can be for action, document, signature
or information. Request has urgency and merit. Based on these, a
customary reply price is established.
Interactions can be divided into regulated by order and unregulated
interactions. Regulated by order interactions has an obligatory
rules, attached to them.
There are two types or interactions: request-plea and
request-command. Request-command is always a regulated request.
Request-command requires order of an organized group.
Request-command is only possible in relation to punishment for
non-compliance. Any power has to create rules of obedience (a line
between allowed and a violation) to establish proper environment for
Request-plea can be both regulated and unregulated. Example of
regulated request-plea is seeking decision approval from a required
list of officials. Request-plea is a trade: requestor brings his
social weight, responder brings his ability to reply favorably.
Favorable reply of responder can be exchanged for future influence
in requestor decision-making in other areas. This is a key point of
this logical chain. If consent of certain official is required for
one type of action or request, then this consent can be used to
influence decision-making in other areas of officials seeking this
Decision-making is local to a given group, but decision-making
authority is universal. This exchange is called power conversion.
Power conversion is a mechanism of establishing unregulated links
and influences inside and outside an organized group. Power is
universal though the mechanism of power conversion. This is a third
law of power.
Order holds group rules for collective decision-making. Order
defines top decision-making authority. When formal group is
proclaimed and organized, only one member or council receives a
status of top decision-making authority. All other informal leaders
would eventually either loose their significance or become formal
leaders of their own sub-groups.
Formal leader is a top decision-making authority in a group. Formal
leader can be a person or a sub-group, person or an organized group.
Word "formal" in term formal leader refers to formal rules of
obedience for group members. Formal leader's authority comes from
order and is based on leadership skills.
Formal leader's authority comes from order, i.e. from fixed rules
and regulations about group decision-making. Formal leader is a
leader with formally delegated authority to make decisions. Formal
leader concentrates power as group representative of order. Formal
leader concentrates power of the entire group: both supporters and
opposition. Formal leader creates a mechanism of utilization of
group recourses. Formal leader needs order to control power
Formal leader's strength is based on leadership skills. A lot of
formal leaders have grown out of their successful informal
leadership. A lot of formal leaders were not just given power, but
gained their formal leadership in a fight with other skillful
informal leaders. It is not exactly the case in hereditary monarchy,
where formal leader can be simply burdened with his responsibility,
but this situation is easily translatable to skillful leadership
terms. Inexperienced or unwilling formal leader will be forced to
undergo three possible alternatives or some combination of those.
First, he can learn and gain precious skills. In that case he can
remain a formal leader. Second, he can let or be forced to let the
experienced and skillful entourage to take over. In that case formal
leader turns into an organized group, each member of which is a
willing and contributing participant. Third, he can pretend formal
leadership without real skills. In that case solutions of group
problems will be either rerouted into different channels or will
resolve themselves outside the group. This third alternative offers
a wide variety of possible outcomes. But all of them are leading to
an eventual replacement. The group can seize to exist as a result of
weak leadership, or one power structure can replace existing group
power structure, or, of course, weak leader can be simple replaced
by a competitor.
Does access to raw force, property, limited recourses and
information changes definition of formal leader? It is true, that
distribution of wealth could be extremely uneven within a group.
Should we introduce some terminology here to distinguish formal
top-decision-making authority and strong ability to influence a top
No. Word "formal" in term formal leader of organized group refers to
real power. If any member of a group have to utilize his money,
force or information to influence the formal leader, it only means
that leader does have a real decision-making authority. It means
that not a single member of a group has enough decision-making
authority to act without a formal leader. Otherwise, the leader will
be changed to reflect the real distribution of decision-making
All other members of the group have their share of decision-making
from various sources including force, money, access to limited
recourses, and it is only natural that they will be using them
during rounds of group decision-making. But by definition, top
decision-making authority belongs to a formal leader.
Position of formal leader requires both authority and skills.
Position of formal leader cannot be vacant in organized group, but
it can be very vaguely defined. For example, who is the formal
leader in the United States? Why Congress and President do not split the
country and destroy each other? Apparently, their
decision-making authority is split with powerful third force -
Supreme Court, and all three are forming monstrous formal leader.
Many will find this notion of huge formal leader unsatisfactory for
practical reasons of research and investigation. But what looks like
formal leader for organized group called United States, can be
regarded by itself as an organized group and further analyzed based
on distribution of internal decision-making authority.
What is formal leader position in relation to all other members of a
group? All other members and informal leaders are free to use their
strength in advancing their power. Definition of formal leader as
top decision-making authority leaves a space for the remaining
decision-making authority to be spread among the members of the
group. This definition allows presence of multiple informal leaders
along with one formal leader.
Formal leader represents his group in relations with other groups.
This understanding is very important when we examine inter-group
relations. There are three possible views on inter-group relations.
First, from a single member point-of-view, group relations might
look like an interaction of one group with the other groups. Second,
from a formal leader point-of-view, group relations look like formal
leader interactions with formal leaders of other groups. Third, in
devising external policy towards surrounding groups, inter-group
relations might look like formal leader interactions with groups. In
that case formal leader acts as a representative of the entire group
in relation with all external groups. To summarize, group relations
can be represented and studied in three different aspects: group to
groups relations; formal leader to other formal leaders relations;
and formal leader to other groups relations. We will use these
different aspects of the same relations while studying group
merging, conflict and cooperation, and group unions.
Formal leader can lead multiple groups (sub-group, group,
super-group). This notion refers to hierarchical structure of
groups. As leader grows in his skills and as he extends his
decision-making scope, he is heading larger and larger groups. In
that context, parliamentary leader can be informal leader for some
group of voters on certain issues; at the same time he can be a
formal leader of his organized political party; and at the same time
he can lead some close circle of professional politicians within his
There are groups and situations when it is extremely difficult to
pinpoint a formal leader. Who is a formal leaders in a tight split
between civil and religious authorities, between local and central
powers, between legislative and executive branches. All the
complexities of legal code and interference of personal strengths
and weaknesses will not help us to discover a real formal leader.
But what is important is that group problems have to find their way
through complexities of group decision-making structure, and these
problems are either solved, or they destroy the group. Whenever we
confronted with a situation of uncertain formal leadership, we
should look for some kind of an agreement between "would be"
candidates for a highest decision-making position. Strongest players
have only two alternatives. First, is to agree to coexist and play
by the rules of this agreement even if unwritten. Presence of an
agreement would indicate an organized group, and this group can be
named a formal leader. Second, is to confront each other and explode
this group from inside. In that case we do not have to look for a
formal leader of such a group, because the group doesn't exist.
From a historic point of view, it is both important and interesting
to discover a true distribution of power between major players. But
term "Formal Leader", introduced here, logically unites all highest
contenders, emphasizing a state of an agreement between all of them.
A few informal leaders can precede an organized group. But only one
formal leader (not necessarily a single person) emerges within an
organized group. Group has no more than one formal leader. Two
leaders will immediately enter into a conflict and either (1) split
the group and form two separate groups or (2) one of the leaders
prevails and group remains with one formal leader.
Leader Elected and Appointed
Groups can be instituted from above or formed from smaller units from
bellow. The same applies to leaders. Leaders can be appointed from
above or elected from bellow. Do we have to distinguish somehow
elected and appointed formal leaders? Does the elected leader differ
from the appointed leader?
Here are the differences between the two. Appointed leader does not
need to seek an immediate approval among group members; elected leader
might need to work on members' approval to get reelected. Appointed
leader usually does not have a term; elected leader usually is elected
for a certain term. Appointed leader performance is evaluated from
above; elected leader performance is evaluated from below during next
Now, let us list similarities. Both leaders represent a top decision-
making authority within a group. Both leaders are judged by group
results. Understanding between leader and members is necessary in
both cases. Both leaders are relatively independent from group opinion
after election or appointment. Both leaders must cultivate supporters,
deal with opposing members and overcome resistance. Both leaders can
be removed by coordinated members' actions.
From these lists of differences and similarities between appointed and
elected leaders I do not see a need to distinguish two different types
of groups for the purposes of this investigation. The slight difference
in leader motivation can be attributed to the environment. Both elected
leader of a country and appointed leader of a company would have to
wisely utilize their members' recourses to fight a hostile environment.
More than that - similarities in functioning of all organized groups
allowed me so far to apply all definitions of power and order to all
organized groups. Now, with introduction of formal leader, we continue
this path. Laws of power and rules of leadership remain the same for all
formal leaders in all organized groups.
Concentration of Power within a Group
An order is an expensive thing. Tendency toward order appears only
when all other alternatives are exhausted. All lands are distributed,
all hours in a day are taken, and all the energy is spent. When
normalcy turns into disorder our first inclination is to get by and
ignore the facts. Returning to order in a disorderly situation is
even more expensive. It means curbing violators, harsh punishments,
and loss of freedom, paying for future order maintenance and
necessity of obedience. Rousseau stated that people will submit to a
social order only when power of resistance, required to stay free
exceeds "recourses at the disposal of each individual" [Rousseau,
The Social Contract and The Discourses, 1993, p.190].
Price of order is money, time, and freedom. One must pay, wait, or obey
to return to an orderly situation. The higher the discipline,
the more income, time and freedom one has to give up to maintain it.
Price of order tends to go up due to a simple fact that
more and more complex infrastructure grows less tolerant to
interruptions and acts of violence. "Today's society, dependent upon
complex technology, is highly vulnerable to sabotage, hijacking,
kidnapping, and disruption" [Bogart, Silent Politics, 1972, p.183].
Concentration of power is a concentration of relevant sources of
power in leader's hands. Concentration of power requires an
organized group with internal order, regulated membership, formal
leader and contributing members.
Formal leader aims to strengthen internal order and change external
order. Term "change order" could mean preserve order against
forceful changes. Concentration of power depends on leader's ability
to concentrate power and on group members' ability to delegate
Strong order requires strong power to preserve the order, or to
change the order. Are there any measurements of order strength?
Order strength depends on support (votes, solders), property (money,
taxes) and obedience (discipline).
Galbraith in his "The Anatomy of Power" specifies 3 sources of power
as personality, property and organization [Galbraith, The Anatomy of
Power, 1983]. Personality refers to charismatic abilities of leader.
And leader with all his strength is a requirement to be a
nucleus of group power. As far as organization is concerned, it is
also a true source of power, but we included this source in a form
of obedience. Galbraith writes that the stronger the submission
inside the organization, the stronger its ability to exercise power
Why official post is not included in the list of sources of power?
Official post is a part of the orderly structure and as it includes
legitimate power to change order. It is not in the list because
power is not a source of power, like butter is not a source of
Organization is just a hierarchical group, and it would not be
logical to include it in the list of power sources. Leader is
responsible to organize his supporters into a strong organization,
but still primary source of power would be members' support, but not
organization itself. Proper organization in that context would be an
instrument of power, but not a source of it.
Leader and Concentration of Power
Order is the only product of power, and leader is the authorized
agent within a group, who has skills to consume members' money, time,
and freedom and to generate an order. Formal leader organizes,
commands, and legislates. For the purposes of this discussion, it is
important to look at all the agents of legislative, executive, and
judicial power as one formal group leader that represents a cornerstone
of a group order. Under further magnification, one will discover that
formal leader often is an extensive group of people with its own
subgroups and formal leaders.
Formal leader organizes concentration and delegation of power within the group.
As an organizer leader is responsible for spreading the sense of
identity among the group members and creating an urge to unite. Many
leaders are finding their groups already united and functional, and
do not need to do a lot of work in this area. Others grow to a
leadership within a group at some stage of disintegration, or within
a group represented as conglomerate of various small subgroups. In
that case, leader's organizer skills will flourish.
As an organizer, leader acts within some organized super-group,
where he draws members. At the same time leader most likely heads
his own smaller sub-group, where he draws strengths and ability to
fight competing leaders. In that context, leader needs character
(persuasion, influence), ideology (sense of identity, stated goals,
system of beliefs), organization (his sub-group or party), resources
(property, money, allies) and order (rules regulating emergence of a
new groups) as factors, facilitating organizational efforts.
Formal leader commands concentration and delegation of power. As a
commander leader must represent the group in relations with
surrounding groups. Wars and negotiations, conquests and defense,
extinguishing internal unrest and anti-order plots are areas for
leader commander skills. Depending on leader's position in relation
to current order, he must use his commander skills either to
preserve created internal order or to destroy existing external
As a commander leader needs resources (money, supplies, and allies),
raw force (trained professional), armaments (weapons and tools),
discipline and order (obedience, rules regulating punishments, rules
to start a confrontation and stop confrontation) as factors,
facilitating his commanding efforts.
War stops decision-making and breaks organized groups. There are no
relations of power between groups in fight. Power does not exist
without an organized group. Treaty, on the other hand, creates a
group with participating members. Treaty represents an initial order
for a new super-group.
Formal leader legislates, that is uses his concentrated power to
change internal or external order. As a legislator leader needs to
institutionalize the power or create (strengthen) the order. All the
power that leader delegates to his administrators should belong to the
official posts, but not to the individuals. Rousseau quotes Montesquieu
saying that "rulers of Republics establish institutions, and
afterward the institutions mould the rulers" [Rousseau, The Social
Contract and The Discourses, 1993, p.213]. Any leader should create
an order that only can be changed in orderly fashion.
As a legislator leader needs authority (previous achievements that
brought leader to a leadership position), sense of fairness (current
understanding of right and wrong, ability to express interest and
desires of a group) and existing order (rules to change existing
order) as factors facilitating his legislative efforts.
Let us look at one more thought from Rousseau about all the
magical qualities of leader as legislator. "In order to discover the
rules of society best suited to nations, a superior intelligence
beholding all the passions of men without experiencing any of them
would be needed. This intelligence would have to be wholly unrelated
to our nature, while knowing it through and through; its happiness
would have to be independent of us, and yet ready to occupy itself
with ours; and lastly, it would have, in the march of time, to look
forward to a distant glory, and working in one century, to be able
to enjoy in the next. It would takes gods to give men laws." [ibid.,
Members and Delegation of Power
Concentration of power based on members' ability to provide needed
recourses. Members give up time, property, and liberty to gain
internal order and external power as an organized group.
Concentration of power in hands of a leader occurs by delegation of
time (voting, organizing, participating, serving in army); by
delegation of property (taxes, dues, donations); and by giving up on
liberties (obedience to decisions, discipline).
Ability of group members to delegate power is not a trivial matter.
Ability to recognize authority and follow the instructions is
something that is accepted as given in civilized society. But
even this simple skill must be nourished by the group. Elman
Service in his Origins of the State and Civilization shows, through
reference to multiple sources, examples of tribes which did not
developed virtues of obedience, remained essentially egalitarian and
thus retard their civilization for a long time. Leader can only
concentrate power when there is recognition of subordination. [See
Service, Origins of the State and Civilization, 1975, pp.50-53].
Darwin linked the development and cultivation of obedience with very
survival. "A tribe including many members who, from possessing in a
high degree the spirit of patriotism, fidelity, obedience, courage,
and sympathy, were always ready to aid one another, and to sacrifice
themselves for the common good, would be victorious over most other
tribes; and this would be natural selection." [Darwin, Origin of
Species; Descent of Man, 1952, p.322].
Notion of members' obedience as a virtue could run counterintuitive
to Western philosophical tradition. But as taxes are the price for
the civilized society, recognition of authority is a price for a
rule of traditions, rule of law and progress. It is true, that in
recent history humanity suffered major setbacks because of
over-submissiveness and blind faith in leaders and authority. But
this is just another argument that obedience and delegation of
power, sometimes, blind delegation of power is possible. What is
important to understand here, is that obedience should grow out of
group collective consciousness and be taught to every group member.
Depending on the nature of the group and group structure, teachings
of obedience could could take their roots in trust to elder
patriarchal authority, trust to heavenly priestly or kingly authority,
or trust and submission to a simple group majority. If we consider
modern state of civilization as a progress in comparison to
primitive societies, then emergence of mental ability to obey and
follow the rule is a progress in comparison to just simple cooperation
and division of labor by sex and age.
Each member of a group has a certain decision-making authority. This
individual portion of group decision-making authority called power.
This power is partially legitimate power, that is, regulated by current
laws and traditions, and partially force power, that is, outside of
regulated order. How the delegation of power is occurring? Should we
encounter a separate mechanisms to delegate legitimate power as
oppose to force power? And why this question is of any significance?
Say, a leader concentrates all the legitimate power of supporters.
He can reroute this concentrated power into any desired channel.
But as far as force power is concerned, leader cannot concentrate
it. As a last resort any person has an option to take it to the
streets, even if that person previously gave support to a certain
leader. Members delegate only traditional or legitimate power to
a group leader. Leader, in his turn, can use this delegated power
both as a legitimate and as a force power. Any delegation of power
can only concentrate legitimate or regulated power.
Does delegation of power in any way diminishes one's abilities to
obstruct order? Can we see any correlation between high degree on
power concentration and striped individual abilities to act
independently? The only real limitation can be in resources (wealth
and time). But we established earlier that resources (wealth, access
to information) are not the power. They are sources of power. One
can notice various degrees of resource limitations caused by
concentration of power. Even to strike or to protest on the streets
members need time and resources to support themselves. And
concentration of power in forms of taxation, conscription and
incarceration can limit people's ability to utilize their power.
Conservatives and Missioners
From leader's point of view entire group can be divided into two
distinct categories: conservatives and missioners. Conservatives
produce only votes and funds. Missionaries in addition provide
organizers and solders. This division is based on two major
functions that are needed by every leader: recourses (votes and
money) and actions (getting thing organized and done).
Initial analytical split of a group into a leader and members
predetermines this further slit of members into missionaries and
conservatives. This split introduces two new elements into group
structure, and they are mutually exclusive. In its simplest form,
difference between missionaries and conservatives boils down to this
simple formula. Missionaries will willingly and enthusiastically
fight for an idea, and conservatives could talk about the idea, but
will fight only under a subscription.
Conservatives are interest-driven people. Conservatives are
providers of votes and funds. They want stability, income, and
predictability. One can turn them into supporters by economic
interest or elaborate explanation of a cause. Theory, describing
current happenings in the light of overall historical situation is
for conservatives. They need to understand the "state of affairs"
or see ways to benefit from it.
Missioners are conviction people. Missioners are providers of
organizers and fighters for the leader. They are ready to act and
fight if an immediate call for action is heard. To turn them into
supporters leader needs a clear and loud message and sense of
urgency in his policy. Mosca quotes Guglielmo Ferrero: "There are
always a certain number of individuals who need to become aroused
over something that is not immediate and personal to them, something
that is afar off. Their own affairs, the problems of science or of
art, are not enough to take up all their spiritual activity. What is
left for them except the socialist idea?" [Mosca, The Ruling Class,
1939, p.312] It is exactly those people I would like to call
missionaries, and they are open to hear a leader's message for
change and renewal.
There are three major tools in dealing with missioners.
(1) Leader's policy should be loud and clear. All your action
people in the field should be joined by common "direction and
justification of collective action" [Lasswell, Power and
(2) Leader should be able to hear his missioners or make them
extremely busy to prevent "suggestions" and doubts. Make an exemplary
case out of every petitioner who was answered. That way there is a
perception that 100% of your petitioners are heard.
(3) Stimulate and check true supporters and believers. Every
loyal man of action deserves both praise and recognition. Some
very active missionaries might even need to be stopped before turning
into dangerous competitors.
"One person with a belief is a social power equal to ninety-nine who
have only interests." [Mill, Considerations on Representative
Government, 1862, p.13] According to Alinsky [Alinsky, Reveille for
radicals, c1946], any mass movement is less than 1% of activists and
remaining 99% of mass. Here I am calling activists missioners and
mass are conservatives. Leader must take this rule into account
for most efficient organization of concentration and delegation of
Leader can peak public interest for a few hours or a few weeks. In
rear moments of extreme collective excitement leader can deliver his
message to multitude and firmly plant new ideas in the heads of most
active members. During this time, he must recruit supporters, renew
membership, test and reshuffle administrators and clerks, increase
the circle of paying members, tap into neutral or hostile public
option. After that leader should expect a cooling off period, when
only administrators are busy pushing clerks into executing and
There is of course a certain static category of people totally
useless for a leader. But there are two reasons not to put them
into a separate category. First reason is precisely the fact that
they are not actively participating in a leader-member interaction
and in quiet times they are deaf to any kind of leader's message
either by nature or by belief. Secondly, some of these people will
quickly turn into either conservatives or missionaries when the
tough times come. One cannot be entirely neutral and be paying
taxes. To be truly neutral one has to be outside the group. That
will put a person outside a decision-making scope of leader and
outside the scope of this investigation.
Leader has to have a control over appointing administrators to be
able to steer in accordance with selected policy. Outstanding
missionaries working for an inspiration are needed as administrators
on sharp turns of group development. A controlled body of
conservative administrators working for interest is more appropriate
for supporting stable growth or maintaining normal level of
Every group has its share of disagreements. Every group develops
some mechanism to resolve these disagreements. Even if leader
represents a majority, he still has to deal with possible
complications from opposing members. The most important
consideration in choosing either to respect or to crush opposition,
is to prevent opposing members to leave, to form their own group and
to weaken existing group.
Opposition can gain a leader, can form an organized sub-group, and
decision-making will slow down. Concentration of power will lessen.
Formal leader has to decide, what makes the most sense. Excluding
the opposition will simplify execution of orders but can
significantly narrow the decision-making scope. Fighting the
opposition will most likely split the group into two with the same
results. Bringing opposition representatives into decision-making
process will burden the leader with additional obligations.
Here, while examining members' delegation of power, we encounter some
tendencies, that run directly against leader's concentration of
power. Looks like concentration and delegation of power contains in
itself seeds for problems that would need to be resolved by power
Disagreements and conflicts inside the group are not the reasons to
prevent concentration of power. From a formal leader's point of
view, members can be divided into supporters and opposition. Both
supporters and opposition are required to contribute to support the
group. Rules of membership and existing order allow leader to make
all members to participate.
Power Struggle of Organized Groups
Relation of power exists only within organized groups, but power
struggle reaches outside organized groups to conquer the
environment. Power struggle is a group struggle to change favorably
Power struggle is social continuation of evolutionary struggle.
Power struggle reduces the number of competing leaders and groups.
It eliminates weak leaders and dissolves weak groups. Power struggle
replaces conflict with order of agreements, treaties and with order
of newly established organized groups.
Group aims at changing external order. Power is an ability to change
order. Power struggle is a fight to realize leader's ability to
change existing order and neutralize those abilities of other
Power struggle is a relation between leader and groups about
changing current order. Group engaged in power struggle with
surrounding groups. Leader represents group in relations with other
groups. So, leader personally engaged in a power struggle with
Concentration of power in one pair of hands is constantly gets
counter-balanced by power struggle between groups and their leaders.
Power struggle prevents unlimited concentration of power. At the
same time power struggle enhances concentration of power by
eliminating weak leaders.
External and Internal Power Struggle
Each group engaged in power struggle with surrounding groups
(environment) to change favorably existing order. Formal leader
represents group in relations with other groups and he is engaged in
a power struggle with surrounding groups. This type of power
struggle is called external power struggle.
At the same time, formal leader fights for power with internal
sub-groups within his group. This type of power struggle is call
internal power struggle.
Power succession and power shift struggle
Group leaders have to fight with one another for a higher
decision-making authority within a super-group. This struggle is
called power succession struggle. Power succession struggle is a
power struggle between sub-groups leaders within a group for top
decision-making authority position. Power struggle for top
decision-making authority is power succession struggle. Leaders are
fighting power succession struggle for positions within an organized
Group has to fight with other competing groups to protect their
order and destroy (diminish) competing orders. This power struggle
is called power shift struggle. Power struggle to protect group and
destroy (weaken) surrounding groups is a power shift struggle. Power
shift struggle is a power struggle between groups for resources and
decision-making scope (members). Power shift struggle can be fought
outside the boundaries of any organized group. In that sense, power
shift struggle is just a force. It precedes establishing relations
of power between fighting sides, as power precedes changing of an
Are any wars or conflicts represent examples of power struggle? Yes, as long
as two or more organized groups or leaders of these groups conduct
them. At the same time, war against hunger, against force of nature
or against some inhuman force will not be an example of power
Quite often, level of power struggle can be distinguished only by
intentions of the leader. If leader positions himself to jump to a
more advantageous spot within a super-group, then we are dealing
with power succession struggle. If leader organizes his group to
outsmart and destroy surrounding groups, then we are dealing with
power shift struggle.
Power struggle arrows are pointing sharply out of the group in all
directions. The status of surrounding groups influence, but doesn't
determine level of power struggle group is involved in. Even
cooperation with a group is a form of power struggle against some
other groups. Opposition party leader can simultaneously plan
actions to advance his positions and influence in parliament (power
succession struggle) and organize mass movement against parliament
power (power shift struggle).
Legitimate power struggle and force power struggle
Power struggle is of two types: legitimate power struggle and force
power struggle. Legitimate power struggle is fought using only
legitimate ways and means. Force power struggle uses any means of
achieving given goals. Current order determines the line between
legitimate and force power struggle methods.
Examples of Power Struggle
Election campaign, propaganda, censorship, and purges can be examples
of legitimate power succession struggle.
Assassinations and acts of terror can be examples of force power
succession or force power shift struggle.
War in all modern orders up to now is an example of legitimate power
Strikes and demonstrations can be examples of legitimate or force
power struggle, depending on the existing order. They can be power
shift or power succession struggle depending on participant's
Revolution is an example of force power shift struggle.
Coup d'état can be an example of force power succession struggle if
top decision-making position changed hands within members of the
same organized group.
Table bellow illustrates different types and levels of power
|Legitimate Power Struggle
||Force Power Struggle
Power Shift Struggle
|Power Succession Struggle
Act of Terror
Depending on current laws and traditions (order) strikes and
demonstrations and even propaganda of group ideology can be both
examples of legitimate and force power struggle. Depending on
participant's demand strike and demonstration can be examples of
either power shift or power succession struggle.
Why strike is an example of power struggle? Where here is the
struggle between leader and groups about changing existing order?
Even if striker's demands are just wages or any other matter of
internal life of a corporation, strike is still a fight between
leader and groups about positions in a decision-making procedure and
changing the ways those decisions are reached.
Order as a Result of Power Struggle
[Now we ready for a new definition of power. Order is a
relation between group members regulated by laws and traditions.]
Power struggle results in reduction of number of fighting groups. As
with any fight, there are winners and there are losers. If power
struggle goes on for a long time only one participant is destined to
remain. Other competitors might appear time to time and replace
existing "champion", but this champion has ability to monitor and
prevent other contenders from entering the ring.
We can see results of these very long natural fights everywhere. Only one
species can be the "winner" on
Earth, only one superpower dominates humanity through ages, only one
idea gains the status of truth, only one system of measurement
prevails. The same fate of oneness is in store for faith, currency,
language, and political system.
Power struggle of two super-powers US vs. SU is over. The new one -
between China and USA - is unfolding. Power struggle does not always
mean eliminating the enemy or competitor. It just creates a new
order with a leader and members and new rules and regulations.
"Sometimes it is possible to kill the state without killing a single
one of its members" [Rousseau, The Social Contract and The
Discourses, 1993, p.188]. Even dirty conflict between East and West
was played by the rules and controlled by mutual understandings. No
one used weapons of last resort. And one side eventually just
crumbled under pressure.
Power struggle not only destroys. It also creates. Power struggle
creates a new order, if competing sides enter into organized
super-group and all-out fight between sides stops. A new super-group
is a single "winner" of brutal power struggle, where sides decided
to unite instead of fight. This organized single super-group we can
observe in United States where two major political parties entered
into union with regulated membership. Despite being called a
two-party system, it represents just one group that controls access
to power. It is so regulated, that other nearest contenders are
unable to join the fight due to the size difference. However, 2016
elections showed that an outsider can enter the ranks, gain support,
and successfully struggle his way to the very top. Both Republicans
and Democrats were devasted by the shock of outsider entering inner
most folds of the exclusive organized group.
Both members of a single super-group are playing by the rules of
Constitution and if Constitution says that one presidential
candidate should step aside and give way to another presidential
candidate, both members of the group respect the word of
Constitution. Both candidates enjoy the protection of the same
secret service and political nominees are recruited from both sides
of the aisle.
Order controls and regulates legitimate power. But power
remains a force of its own, as long as competing sides are involved
in hostile power struggle with each other. Internal order gains an
enormous strength, when power struggle eventually eliminates all
hostile groups, and power struggle is limited on the surface to a
legitimate power succession struggle.
Any struggle requires at least two fighting sides, and logical end
of any struggle is some victors and some losers. End of struggle
also usually marked with some stoppage of hostilities even if
This "calm after the storm" can be another definition of order, with
understanding that power struggle never actually ends and there are
no clear lines between fight and calm.
Logical result of power struggle is eliminating of all but one
contender for power. Elimination goes through victories and losses
or merges of contenders of comparable size. That result however is
never completely achieved. Power struggle creates and eliminates
leaders, but never completely removes reasons for disagreements in
Power struggle creates more and more controlled and regulated ways
to deal with disagreements and problems, but new problems and
disagreements continue to surface. Leaders are changing and issues
are changing, but problem and conflicts remain, because resources
are always limited, and complete isolation is impossible.
Lasting order is a result of power struggle. Lasting order includes
rules and regulation to deal with disagreements and is flexible
enough to undergo modifications under pressure of new problems.
There is absolutely nothing new in notion that there are no rules
good for all times, and eternal is only changing itself. But based
on this notion, leaders can based their power struggle policies and
aim for suitable changes.
There is no such entity as group conscience or group intellectuals,
and there is no one with pure and objective judgment of good and
evil. Notions of good and evil are formed but leaders, implemented
by people, and judged by results from the distance of history. Is
there a compass or some other instrument, or just a criterion to
judge struggling sides at the time of the struggle?
It is impossible to limit good to legitimate, thus crossing out all
revolutionary achievements of humanity. It is impossible to define
good through fair, as fair on one side always would have unfair on
the other. Even human life can't serve as a criterion for eternal
good, as freedom sometimes cannot be obtained without fighting and
As we face with impossibility to define good and fair order, we have
to select two of possible ways. Either return to the originally
rejected axiom, that stronger is better, and stronger power
establishes better order, or conclude that power struggle itself is
a good, refreshing and never-ending force, that represents
ever-moral direction of human development. Both conclusions are
As a result of multiple unsuccessful attempts to define direction of
power struggle and order, we have to conclude that there is no
direction in human development except survival. This conclusion brings
to forefront two immediate logical findings. First, it means
that all notions of good and bad are strictly group-centered and are
only determined by group interests. And secondly, that human
organization is developing under the same rules already discovered
by Darwin in XIX century. The orders best fit for survival are
surviving, conquering and eliminating all other types of
Not the fight of human orders is moral, but survival of best fit for
survival human organizations is moral, and good, and eternal within
conquered environment. Thus, survival of best organized constitutes
the only direction of human development.
Order as a Form of Redistribution of Power
Orders are as different as organized groups. Orders are formed under
different conditions and with respect to primary goals of organized
groups. Order reflects hierarchy, and distribution of property
rights, and ability to control and enforce commands.
Order freezes and stabilizes process of change as well as members'
power roles and functions. Order is endlessly variable, but at the
same time order is conservative and reluctant for change. Order's
ability for only slow change can be a liability, but also can be a
blessing. Order's ability for only slow change provides group with
periods of change and periods of relative stability.
Order exists in certain forms that can be categorized. Group order
can be apparently categorized by status of formal leader. Formal
leader holds the top decision-making authority in a group and that
is why ways of selecting formal leader are playing such a crucial
role in determining nature of prevailing order.
Status of formal leader determines potential aspirations for power
for all other members of a group. It determines what is legitimate
and what is force ways of changing order. It determines acceptable
levels of concentration of power. It determines possibilities of
controlling group decision-making and changing existing order.
Despite wide variety of order systems, laws of power are the same
for all human groups and all orders. In any order members are
delegating power and leader has to concentrate power in his hands to
make group decisions. In all order systems there is a power struggle
going on within and outside sub-groups. And everywhere leaders have
to use power to change existing order.
We started investigation of power from a definition of an organized group as a conglomerate of contributing members. An urgent need for group decision-making crystalized individual decision-making authorities. That notion became a foundation for the first definition of power.
Informal leaders were defined as group members with ready solutions. Their natural abilities met the group need for quick decisions. Group members without these abilities can and willingly would delegate their power to a leader.
Informal leaders introduce various solutions for group problems and gain supporters and opposition. Processes of concentration of power through supporters and power struggle of opinions run contrary to each other but bringing closer to same result. They reduce number of viable leaders and eliminate complexities of decision-making.
Power struggle of opinions culminates with a simple Yes/No vote and group decision is finally reached. This process repeated over-and-over again and eventually establishes group rules and regulations for group decision-making. An internal group order is born.
Group order, first defined as a temporary compromise between remaining informal leaders, now can be defined as a combination of group laws and traditions and be regarded as a product of power. A complex relation between order and power is noted. Some elemental group order is needed to make group decisions, but power itself shapes and changes group order from now on.
That understanding allows defining power as an ability to change group order. This second definition of power is a functional definition. Power changes order, but order controls and replaces power. Power is not needed in routine relations, regulated by order.
Order as product of group decision-making includes provision for top decision-making authority. A member or a sub-group with top decision-making authority defined as formal leader. Questions that can not be resolved on lower levels of group decision-making are reaching formal leader, and formal leader, as a representative of group order, organizes group, commands group resources and legislates changes in group order.
Concentration and delegation of power under formal leader spreads over entire group. It takes well defined and regulated forms and is compulsory for both supporters and opposition. Order now controls taxes and conscription, elections and conflict resolution.
Group order begins to regulate even power struggle between leaders and groups, making it a legitimate power struggle. However, some methods of power struggle remain outside the rules of group order, making it a force power struggle.
Group order undergoes a constant change by forces within and outside the current rules of order. Order is a product of eternal power struggle between leaders and groups, and power is an engine behind all those changes.