Thursday, June 7, 2012

Why do People Seek Power?

The stutter got so bad I was taken out of my grade and put in the special class, held in the boiler room. My only other classmate was named Gilly.  They taught us to sweep sawdust so we could find work at a mill. Of course I overcame the stutter in three languages. On to Princeton, Harvard, the top of the business world."
-Jack Donaghy
     Deckers describes what power is "To exert influence over other people, to be in charge, to be noticed and have "status" are all characteristics of the power motive"(Deckers 197).  That is a nice definitional explanation of power, but I also have to wonder why a person would be motivated to obtain power in the first place.  Like the amusing quote above it is not uncommon to hear a powerful person who had experienced some form of adversity as a child.  It has become somewhat cliche to hear about the troubled home life of a famous movie star, or a powerful computer programmer's inability to socially fit in.

 I think the the situations described by 30 Rock character Jack Donoaghy, and Napster founder Sean Parker from Social Network can also be described by Deckers "Individuals high in power motivation are also more likely to have autobiographical memories of peak experiences that involve power themes"(Deckers 197).  These autobiographical themes more often than not seem to be negative and the person tends to not be the one in power.  I also think Sean Parker and the real Sean Parker for that matter is a great example because his personality seems to fit Decker's description. Deckers says that people who need power also constantly take extreme risks, exploit members of the opposite sex, seeks attention, gamble and use drugs(Deckers). Watching the film this is the sort of manipulative behavior the Sean Parker character indulges in. I would think people are motivated to do the things Deckers describes because they believe it ultimately fills their need for power


  1. I think the need for power in the corporate world things like exploitation and taking big risk's might be most relevant. Looking at a need for power from a different perspective like possibly from a child. They will indulge in bad behaviors, which possibly could be risky, or they might seek attention.