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This study examines the impact of certain dimensions of dependence on the expected effectiveness of an influence attempt in a two-person bargaining situation. Assuming the role of employer, employee, or outside observer, 1,056 college students estimated the utility of an attempt by an employee to influence his employer with respect to a pay raise under various conditions of dependence. The results show that respondents attributed greatest utility to the attempt when the employee had many alternatives (other job possibilities) and valued highly the outcomes at issue (a pay raise) and when the employer had few alternatives (other workers) and ascribed low value to the outcomes. The authors find that the power-capability hypotheses derived from power-dependence theory are supported by the two outcome-alternative dimensions but not by the two outcome-value dimensions. The latter are found to support commitment hypotheses.


Suggested Citation
Lawler, E. J. & Bacharach, S. B. (1979). Power dependence in individual bargaining: The expected utility of influence [Electronic version]. Industrial and Labor Relations Review 32(2), 196-204.

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