Dunbar, H. E., & Burgoon, N. K. (2005). Perceptions of power and interactional dominance in interpersonal relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 22(2), 207–233.
Norah E. Dunbar, author of this article was born in Canada. She studied in the California State University and she is a professor of communication studies. She has shown interest in research related to communication and has published a few journals in this area such as, ‘Journal of Family Communication’ and ‘Journal of Communication’. Dunbar has great knowledge of communication and has written chapter on verbal and non-verbal communication in a few of her journals/articles. The second author in this article ...view middle of the document...
There are many claims in the introduction of this article where researchers have argued about the relationship between the two terms power and dominance. Some researchers say that dominance and power are related whereas the author of this article has stated that dominance and power should be a separate construct and have no connection. (McDonald, 1980) (Pg. 208) has claimed that power and dominance are connected and have a big impact on those individuals who are in a close relationship and this is because people who are in close relationships have dependencies. They rely on one another so that they can work together to achieve their goals. But there is a problem if these goals are at clash than power may be put into use by one partner just to achieve his/her own goals and this will be done with consideration of the partner. (McDonald, 1980) feels that power and dominance is very important in marriages unlike (Burgoon & Dunbar 2000; Burgoon, Johnson & Kosh 1998; Dunbar 2004) who disagrees with McDonald’s theory and says that power and dominance have no connection and should be a singled construct.
(Christian & Heavey, 1990, 1993) (Pg. 209) had found when a wife is more demanding in a marriage but is not more dominant and powerful than her husband is in a situation where she is asking for more care, help with childcare and housework the husband will not discuss this issue with her as he feels that there is nothing to discuss thus avoids the topic. They avoid confrontation. On the other hand individuals in a marriage who are powerless may also avoid control attempts just to save their marriage. For example when one partner is grieving over something or does not like something he/she will not make it into a big thing and will tolerate the negative feeling for the sake of their marriage. They only do this if they think that there is a possibility of gaining equality in power and thus use control avoidance more in their relationship (Leung, 1988).
A claim made by (Felmlee, 1994; Gray-Little & Burks, 1983) has found out that egalitarian relationships use more control attempts than power-imbalanced relationships. For example when they are giving the chance to make decisions the more powerful individual would want their word to be the last and would not want to discuss with their partner on his/her points of view.
It had also shown theories on verbal and non-verbal communication in relationships that authorised power in individuals such as tone of voice. Powerful individuals in the relationship seemed to have louder or higher pitched voices and they had more control over their relationship. Expression was associated with power and dominance at the non-verbal level. These expressions are linked to facial expressions, gestures, posture, body movements and many other body expressions. It shows that dominant individuals have a more dominant non-verbal way of communicating and use more eye gazes and facial expressions.