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Where Does Power Come From?

Long-term studies of companies in numerous industries ranging from glass and cement manufacturing to the minicomputer industry “show that the most successful firms maintain a workable equilibrium for several years . . . but are also able to initiate and carry out sharp, widespread changes . . . when their environments shift.” 1These so-called discontinuous or frame-breaking changes always alter the distribution of power. Consequently, organizational innovation often if not inevitably involves obtaining the power and influence necessary to overcome resistance.

To be successful in this process, we need to understand where power comes from. It is critical to be able to diagnose the power of other players, including ...

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