Much of my work as a coach involves helping leaders determine how they can most effectively wield power to best meet the needs of their organizations. And note that by power I mean not only the directive authority invested in their roles, but also the many forms of influence at their disposal. I often refer clients to the articles below, so I've compiled them here for easier access:
McClelland and Burnham on Power and Management: A post of mine on McClelland's theory.
Power Play: Stanford GSB Prof. Jeff Pfeffer in HBR on the topic that's at the center of his teaching and research.
Interpersonal Power: A post of mine that references Williams' article.
Three Definitions of Power: A short post in response to the question, "What does power mean to you?"
Harnessing the Science of Persuasion: Robert Cialdini's classic HBR article on the subject of influence.
Howard Gardner on Influence: A short post on Gardner's Changing Minds.
The Influence Pyramid 2.0: A framework I developed to integrate and put into practice many of the concepts referenced here.
Geert Hofstede on the Dimensions of Cultural Distance: See the section on "power distance."
Why It Pays to Be a Jerk: Jerry Useem, The Atlantic. Useem, the longtime Senior Editor-at-Large of Fortune and previously a Research Associate at HBS, provides a thoughtful survey of recent research on influence by such figures as Wharton’s Adam Grant and Stanford's Jeff Pfeffer, among many others.
A theme that often comes up in my work with women leaders is the unique challenges they face when wielding power (some imposed by external forces, others self-imposed):
Women Need to Realize Work Isn't School: Whitney Johnson and Tara Mohr in HBR.
Women, Men, Work and Emotion: A post of mine discussing Johnson and Mohr's work.
Women and the Uneasy Embrace of Power: Pfeffer in HBR again. (Be sure to read the comments, which offer some thoughtful critiques of Pfeffer's perspective.)
Update: Here are some academic papers that have influenced my perspective on power and, more specifically, its impact on our behavior when we obtain it:
Powerful, Intoxicated, Anonymous: The Paradox of the Disinhibited: A brief article summarizing an in-depth paper on the ways power, intoxication, and anonymity can all have similarly disinhibiting effects on behavior.
Photo by Jamie Jamieson. Yay Flickr and Creative Commons.