Power is basic to the study of politics, because in many ways,this is what politics is all about.We can say that power is the ubiquitous phenomenon of politics. Robert Dahl has defined politics or a political relationship as involving to a significant extent ‘Power, rule, or authority. “N We are more restrictive because we limit our focus to power that is part of the political system in the public realm.
We are not so much concerned with power, rule, and authority as they may affect family relationships, the election of a union representative, a business reorganization, or the selection of a college president, except if some of the activities of the preceding influence the public political system. We restrict politics in this text to the political system. We do not use it in the more popular sense, which refers to any situation (such as the election of a student body or club president or a new chairman of the board in Corporation X) that involves influence, power, authority, rules or regulations, and the person(s) exercising these. ‘
We define power in the following way: one person or group exercises power over another when it is intentional and done in such a way as to affect in a predictable way the action(s) of another or others. Three aspects are involved: relationship, intention. and predictability. Power usually involves penalties or rewards, but the instruments of power also can be rational persuasion or appeals to the emotions. The difference between influence and power is predictability. Power suggests that the intended outcome will more likely occur.
Thus, the penalties and rewards are considerably more severe or greater in the hands of the person or group exercising power. A teacher can influence a student to study. Frequently, the penalty or reward. as the case may be, is the grade. For some students the grade is an important influence; for a few it is relatively insignificant because it is regarded as having only short-run consequences. In terms of grading, teachers generally have influence not power.