In my organizational theory and behavior classes, we often talk about different views of power as held by organizations or cultures. Among these are:
Unitary View: the leader does what she believes she must to guide people toward goals with as little conflict as possible. Of course, one of the rubs here is that the leader may believe in a unitary view while the followers do not, yet the leader leads as if everyone believed in it. Sometimes the unitary view is the primary view, as is the case with most military organizations.
Pluralistic View: power is diffuse, not just in hands of leaders. Power of one (e.g. the official “leader”) tends to be offset by counter-power from another entity (e.g. “followers” or “groups of followers”) and this is generally accepted as a value within the culture, institution or organization.
Radical View: the powerful keep the relatively powerless that way by manipulating information and perceptions. In such cultures, institutions or organizations; those who are not among the nominally powerful, seek ways to organize against those in power or at least grow increasingly suspicious over time.
Relational View: every command has the potential for momentum (obeyed command), deference (silence as the command is carried out) and a sting (resentment felt as the command is carried out). It is implied that some amount of deference and sting always accompany following “orders”. Sting means: you do what you are asked to do, but begrudgingly and you seek ways to retaliate; in some instances, even after a good deal of time has past.
Leaders who promote a unitary view of power in the organization they lead, may well be presiding over people who hold a more radical view; so that it is generally recommended that the leader pays attention to momentum, deference and sting.
In my role as FS President, I have been afforded a little window onto how this works at Universities. So, you want another reason to be FS President? It gives you more examples to discuss in class (changing names to protect the innocent, of course).