Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Santa Barbara

UC Santa Barbara Previously Published Works bannerUC Santa Barbara

A review of theoretical approaches to interpersonal power


Power equality or inequality is one of the most fundamental attributes of any interpersonal relationship. In this review of interpersonal approaches to power, a definition of interpersonal power is proposed and the multidimensional and complex nature of power is explored. Various theoretical models, all of which employ power as one of their key variables, are discussed, including social exchange theory, interdependence theory, normative resource theory, equity theory, dyadic power theory, necessary convergence communication theory, bilateral deterrence theory, the chilling effect, relational control approaches, and sex role theories.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View