What are Power Structures?

What are Power Structures?

What are Power Structures? Jonathan Poland

Power structures are the systems or frameworks that are used to exert control or influence over a government, organization, or resource. These structures can take various forms, such as hierarchical systems, networks of relationships, or systems of rules and regulations. Power structures often reflect the distribution of power and resources within a given system, and can shape the decision-making processes and outcomes within that system. Understanding and analyzing power structures is important for understanding how power is exercised and how decisions are made within a given system, and can help to inform strategies for influencing or changing those systems. The following are common types of power structure.

A system of roles whereby individuals hold the authority to direct resources and make decisions.

Oversight bodies that are accountable for the performance and behavior of an organization.

Individuals who are accountable and responsible for the strategy, decisions and operations of an organization.

Chain of Command
A hierarchy whereby employees carry out orders based on the commands of individuals with authority.

Communication channels such as meetings and a system of corporate email that is used to direct and control an organization.

Information Technology
Information technologies that are used to implement systems of internal control.

Segregation Of Duties
A system of checks and balances whereby no single person has too much power. For example, a system of multiple validations and approvals for payments to partners.

Guidelines that are adopted by an organization to direct strategy and decision making.

Work that follows a predefined series of steps each with predefined procedures. For example, a budget approval process that requires steps of due diligence before a budget can be approved or funds released.

Systems of measurement that allow governance bodies and management to monitor an organization.

Rules, norms and models that are adopted by an organization to guide outputs.

Performance Management
A system of goal setting, monitoring, evaluation and feedback to reward employees who meet expectations and discipline those who don’t.

Audit Trail
Recording data so that strategy, decisions, transactions and events can be reconstructed in future.

An independent review of an organization.

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