Monday, February 27, 2006

Ethical Power

According to Paula Caproni, author of "Management Skills For Everyday Life", there are six universal forms of influence.

  • Reciprocation
  • Committment & consistency
  • Authority
  • Social proof
  • Scarcity
  • Liking
Power emanating from these forms of influence can be considered ethical.

Founding principles:
  • You should tell people explicitly what you want.
  • Organization's interest and others' interest is at par or above your own.
  • You treat everyone fairly, follow process and do not abuse.
  • You leave yourself reasonably open to be influenced by others.
  • You back your points with valid data.
These founding principles and ethical form of influence is in direct contrast to the Robert Greene's "The 48 Laws Of Power" in which he shockingly suffocates any breath of ethics. The book is laced with a dark sense of human power perversion. For instance, #31 Control the options: Get others to play with the cards you deal. #32 Play to people's fantasies and #36 Disdain things you cannot have do not play to long term interests nor do they breed contributors who care for the greater good.

Caproni's book brings a breath of fresh air to the taboo "Power", it certainly explains in detail, and backed by research, the ethics associated with power - and how it can be put to good ethical use.