Doing A Power Analysis
Imagine a football game--the coach aids the team to determine the opposing team’s power as defined by its strengths and weaknesses. What kind of power and which players will it take to move the ball across the field to the goal line and victory? The coach is conducting a power analysis that will inform his design of a winning strategy.
The power analysis is a process to determine what kind of power (quality) and how much power (quantity) is needed to move a target, the individual who can give you what you want, to accept the organization’s policy or proposal for resolving an issue.
The process includes a systematic series of questions, investigative steps, information collection and refined knowledge of the players with power to deliver you closer to your goal. All with the purpose of moving the people with power to give you what you want or win your proposal.
A long time community organizing tool, power analyses chart a community's power structures and identify places of influence and power. Start with identifying government, business and nonprofit organizations and their leadership. More informal channels of power will emerge in personal interviews. Identify self-interests, constituencies and connections between institutions as much as possible. By mapping the power "sources" in a wide range of communities, you also map potential venues for collaboration (see chart below). Your group then needs to determine the different strategy phases that will serve as milestones in your process.
Develop a profile of the Target/Decision-maker by answering the following:
1. What power does the decision-maker have to meet your goal/demands? By what authority?
2. What is the decision-maker’s background and history?
3. What is the decision-maker’s position on your issue/goal? Why?
4. What is the decision-maker’s self-interest?
5. What is the decision-maker’s history on the issue?
6. Who is the decision-maker’s boss?
7. What/Who is the decision-maker’s base and support?
8. Who are the decision-maker’s allies?
9. Who are the decision-maker’s opponents/enemies?
10. What other social forces influences the decision-maker?
Form Courtesy of SCOPE (www.scopela.org)