Interpersonal dynamics: a communitarian perspective

RIDLEY-DUFF, R. (2005). Interpersonal dynamics: a communitarian perspective. In: MCA-ENROAC Conference, Antwerp, 7th-9th April.


Download (498kB) | Preview
Official URL:


Conventional theories of power within organisations focus on the extent to which one party can impose their will on others through social influence. Discussion of the way that same-sex and opposite-sex attraction impacts on the workplace is rarely theorised either because it is considered uncivilised or taboo. Investigations are also hampered by resistance amongst research participants even when care is taken to establish mixed groups from different organisations. As a result, holistic theories of management control that take account of sexual behaviour remain rare.

This paper examines empirical data from an 18-month critical ethnography to present new theory on interpersonal dynamics, socialisation and identification. A grounded theory is developed that suggests social decisions are closely linked to the psychology of giving and getting attention and assistance. As relationships develop, patterns of giving and receiving create economic and social dependencies that evolve into the tacit rules of social life and affect the bonds between people.

Sharp conflicts occur when one party wants to change the relationship and the other party resists. The process of renegotiation affects the stability of directly and indirectly affected relationships and can change patterns of influence and bases of social power. Individuals’ commitment and health can be affected. Decision-making and impacts are affected by the state of other relationships, past experiences, social and economic dependency and the aspirations of both parties.

Findings are reviewed against existing theories of power to offer a radical perspective that power has two-faces, the ability to influence and the ability to resist influence. Authoritarian behaviours can be activated by perceptions of powerlessness rather than a sense of power. The implications for handling conflicts and harassment claims are discussed, together with comment on gender theory and its relationship to corporate governance.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Corporate Governance, Power, Social Rationality, Gender Theory, Sexual Behaviour, Relationships
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Business School Research Institute > People, Work and Organisation
Departments - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Business School > Department of Management
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2007
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 14:32

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics